So What Is Interactive Anyway?

This Labor Day, we will finally release the first episode of Virtual Morality – Season One: #MURDR, an interactive murder mystery. We’re beyond excited to share it with the world. But the world? Many don’t seem to understand this interactive business. Is it a game? A video? Both? Somebody explain!!!

What exactly is interactive? 

The truth is–interactive is a whole new art form. And like anything new, it’s a trifle to define. Some of your favorite media may be interactive and you don’t even know it. Examples range from Arcade Fire’s legendary “We Used to Wait” experience, utilizing google maps to personalize a music video, to the Emmy-winning Lizzy Bennet Diaries, a transmedia vlog-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

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Any video that forces you, the viewer, to take an active role in the experience–that is interactive. In the case of Virtual Morality, we took it one step further. YOU yourself are the protagonist and YOUR choices define the narrative.

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Yeah, you thinking Goosebumps? Those choose-your-own-adventure books? That is exactly what this is, but with film. Thanks to Interlude, a build-your-own interactive film website, we were able to create a web of choices, conclusions and mysteries that would otherwise be impossible, were it not for this new technology.

The writing process alone was a mind-bender. Imagine writing a TV pilot you truly love…then writing every possible alternative plotline…then making sure each version leads to the 2nd episode without contradicting each other. Yeah, exactly. Yikes! Luckily, I had an incredible team to help flesh out the myriad of ways the story could be told.

A sceenshot of episode 1's "story-tree"

A sceenshot of episode 1’s “story-tree”

You might be wondering right about now–okay, wait. So isn’t this a game? You’re damn right it is. It’s an experimental fusion of film and game that will likely predicate the emerging media of the future: Virtual Reality. The title itself was a nod to this incredible technology and the future of interactive storytelling. But okay. That’s nice and dandy. How does it work?

A still from episode 1, with two choices

A still from episode 1, with two potential choices

In Virtual Morality, two choices will pop up on screen like notification bubbles on your iPhone. With the click of a mouse, you make a choice. And two more choices after that. In order to see every potential ending, of which there are about 8 per episode give or take, you’ll have watch to again.

I encourage you to explore, look for the clues, follow the killer’s breadcrumbs and solve the mystery. This is what interactive means. You get to tell the story yourself. With Virtual Morality, I hope you tell it to everyone you know and remember:

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