How Netflix makes an adventure story of its own choosing

Netflix is ​​no longer just about movies and TV-it’s also about Interactivity. The streaming platform currently has 15 interactive titles, each with a different level of audience agent. (And it’s fun!) But behind these interactive specials, there is a team to ensure that they reach a certain level of interactivity.

The latest of these titles, WWE partner Fleeing the mourners, Is one of the most interactive platforms on the platform so far. Follow three wrestlers to the mansion of the infamous WWE villain and steal his The magical urn. Mourners fleeing From director Ben Simms, he is also responsible for the three Bear Grylls interactive survival specials on Netflix. We sat down with Simms to delve into the process of creating these specials and learn how he designed them for maximum interactivity.

Picture: Netflix

Step 1: Look for “ultimate success”

The first thing to be clear-beyond actual concepts and key figures-is “ultimate success”. Whether it is to let Bell Grylls leave his trapped mountain or destroy the mourner’s urn once and for all, it depends on the title, but victory conditions must be established before all other endings are drawn.

“The most important thing is, especially for Netflix, to ensure that there are differences in endings and varying degrees of success,” Sims explained. “So, once you have a possible ultimate success, everything else is built around it, no matter what the ultimate success is, there will be different iterations.”

Step 2: Draw other endings-and balance them

After deciding on the ultimate success, the team must figure out the unsuccessful ending. However, this is not as easy as simply proposing alternatives. Game testing begins early in the design process-not only to figure out the technical aspects of the title, but also to make sure that the entire experience is enjoyable.

“You have to make sure that things are balanced enough so that you don’t have to take an unbalanced path, which will only be more exciting and look and sound much better than the others,” Sims said. The team pays close attention to balancing the different paths.if Fleeing the mournersFor example, these paths lead viewers through alternative routes of the house and explore new locations. Like that Fleeing the mourners Escape (haha) some of the traps of other Netflix Interactives. In these traps, choice is not a real choice, but a short transition.

Step 3: Find out when the ending is the ending

One of the recurring elements of Netflix Interactive is how certain choices allow viewers to choose again and make new choices after making the wrong choice. Simms said that when the creator determines when to start the audience again at the checkpoint, the team must consider audience investment-if you have a deep understanding of a story, you don’t want to start from scratch, but if you’re just starting, it’s not So popular.

“It usually ends somewhere in the middle, somewhere near the beginning of the third act, where you have invested enough money in the bet,” Sims explained. “The stakes have increased, so your choice, hope, along the way, seems to be more and more important.”

The fourth step: integration options

The biggest difference between titles like this You vs. wild with Fleeing the mourners It is the choice itself how to integrate into the narrative. Regardless of the storyline, our goal is to make choices cohesive – but it’s easier in some stories than in others.

“You don’t want it to feel too intrusive. If this is the title of a character, talent, or character in a story that breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience, it’s a bit different and can be done more easily,” Sims said.

Bell Grylls holding a lantern

Image: Netflix

Ultimately, the trick is to simplify the scenes as much as possible to highlight the choices—while still making them feel like scenes rather than prompts. Simms added, “It should be a scene, and if it is not interactive, it should be as good as possible-it happens to be interactive.”

the fifth step: Filming special programs

Sims said that shooting interactive specials and shooting ordinary movies requires an “extra level”, and the biggest challenge comes from shooting the same scene over and over in slightly different backgrounds. Fortunately, in the two projects Simms participated in, the performers were used to quickly adapt and think.

“[Bear Grylls] It is very good at the moment, accustomed to being vigilant in extreme situations. It is natural for him to adapt or completely change and adjust the tone of the scene,” Sims said. “The same is true for all WWE talents. They are live performers, so it is very advantageous to work with them and be able to say,’Okay, now you are happy’. Now you are sad. It’s obviously not that simple, but they can transform and understand in an instant that we are making different versions of the same scene. “

Endgame: The future of Netflix Interactives

If Netflix Interactives continues to become more complex-so far, this seems to be the trend-Simms said that improving the quality of production may make it more interactive. The coolest possibility?

“I can see some personality test scenarios that are almost based on the viewer’s choice-whether it is based on your Netflix history or your online history,” Sims said. “I can see it becoming more and more personalized in this capacity.”

Fleeing the mourners with You vs. wild Titles-and other Netflix Interactives-can be streamed on Netflix.