'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' Is a True Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Interactive Film
It features five endings and millions of unique permutations
Published Dec 28, 2018Just yesterday (December 27), we learned that Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror would be returning with the new film Bandersnatch this week. And while that's exciting enough, the film marks a true first for Netflix, as Bandersnatch is the streaming giant's first-ever choose-your-own-adventure release.
With the film out now on Netflix, it's been confirmed that the standalone piece features an interactive choose-your-own-adventure story that will play out differently for each viewer.
As The Hollywood Reporter explains, Bandersnatch features five different endings. But beyond those endings — which could be reached in as soon as 40 minutes or in an average of 90 minutes — the film presents users with a multitude of choices that alter the way the story progress.
Depending on the device used to watch the film, you either use your touch screen or remote to pick between two choices as you go along, giving you control on how the plot unfolds. In many ways, the idea isn't far off from what videogame developer Quantic Dream has been doing in recent years with games like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human.
As THR puts it, "Along the way, there are multiple 'endings' and many story paths that are the result of millions of unique permutations created by Brooker's nontraditional script."
Helping explain things further, Brooker's production partner Annabel Jones said, "There are lots of potential paths that [protagonist] Stefan's journey could take and it's up to you for when you feel sated. Going down various branches opens up other potentials, so you may not reach certain things depending on the decisions you make. It's not a simple branching narrative with lots of binary choices — they are all changing your state and what's open to you."
But being able to do that was no easy feat — Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Netflix's all-new Branch Manager script-writing tool used for the film took two years to make.
"We knew it was going to be quite complicated; we didn't know how complicated," Brooker told THR, saying it was like making four different episodes all at the same time.
At this point, it's unclear when more Black Mirror episodes with arrive or if the series may dapple with the choose-your-own-adventure format again in the future. But right now, you can watch/play Black Mirror: Bandersnatch for yourself on Netflix.