“How many stars will your game get?” In Netflix’s new interactive movie, Bandersnatch, you follow the main character, Stefan, as he creates a video game, and you make choices for him which affect the future of the game. Depending on your decisions, your game earns a different rating between 1 and 5 stars.
Some choices can be as mundane as choosing which cereal to eat in the morning, or as intense as how to dispose of a dead body.
Because of the drastically different story lines that emerge from the possible choices made, Netflix engineers created their very own writing software for the diverse paths, dubbed “Branch Manager.”
The tool allows viewers to build storylines that include loops, as it guides them back to the main story when they strayed too far. After one choice, one of the influential characters even tells Stefan that he chose the wrong path, encouraging the viewer to do a do-over.
Bandersnatch is set in 1984, and revolves around the story of nerdy teenager, Stefan who sets out to transform a multiple-choice science-fiction book into a video game that also gives the player a series of choices which determines the fate.
Bandersnatch has five possible endings. Viewers who choose the quickest path can make it through the film in around 40 minutes, but the average viewing time is around 90 minutes.
Viewers quickly created a flowchart depicting the various choices and what endings they lead to. This challenged viewers to try to reach every ending and rewatch the movie multiple times.