Earlier this semester one of my students showed a Sony Playstation promotional video called Michael in which characters from multiple videogames gather in a bar. A Globe and Mail column describes the scene like this:
“Michael” is a two-minute live-action film featuring characters from more than a dozen games that have appeared on PlayStation platforms. It begins with a pair of Second World War soldiers from Call of Duty parachuting through the night into a forest. The duo make their way through the shadows to a dimly lit pub, where they find PlayStation-exclusive heroes including God of War’s Kratos, Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, and LittleBigPlanet’s Sack Boy mingling with personalities from popular multiplatform franchises including Portal, Assassin’s Creed, and Metal Gear Solid. Continue reading
In a previous post I described “transmedia storytelling” as an interim term for an additive strategy of creating a consistent fictional world across multiple legacy media platforms, like TV and videogames. I expressed an expectation that we will see a unified new genre of storytelling native to the new digital medium, as I described in a previous book.
The SyFy TV show Defiance will have an associated MMO set in a different city within the same storyworld.
What would this new participatory story genre look like? Some of its conventions are clear, based on the way people have wanted to connect with existing story worlds and multiplayer games: It will involve an internally consistent but puzzling fictional world, an authored but participatory plot, and an encyclopedically large cast built around a small number of iconic figures. Continue reading
Every week there is a new announcement of “How transmedia storytelling is changing TV” . This week it is parallel TV and web contests on Bravo’s Top Chef.
Entertainment is a risky business, so anything that makes money or attracts attention becomes the basis of the next pitch and the next big investment. After the success of Lost in spreading fan involvement from the TV screen to the web in the form of intense plot speculation, map-making, webisodes, and games, “transmedia storytelling” — whose properties have been brilliantly observed by my old friend and colleague Henry Jenkins of USC — became the goal of many producers. I agree with Henry that the creation of a consistent story world with participatory elements that takes viewers deeper into the fictional universe is a phenomenon that is very much worth taking note of. But I am also impatient with the concept, because I don’t expect “transmedia” anything to be around very long.