Become a corporal in combat in this interactive wartime drama. Based on real events of WW1, you are faced with real-time decisions. The right choice could save lives; the wrong choice, could end them. These difficult decisions are the realities of war. Which ones will you make?
What do you mean by an interactive episode?
In this case the person playing is faced with choices at specific points during the story. These appear as buttons on the screen that you touch to make your choice. Just like in real life you only have a short amount of time to make each decision.
Is it like playing a game?
Sort of, but it’s also a drama. We really wanted to play with storytelling and give some element of control to the audience. But we also wanted it to have a structured narrative so the story was the best it could be. The balance is between a historically accurate experience that also tells you how good a leader you are.
So, it’s like a test of character?
Not as such. It’s a gaming mechanic that breaks the story down into chapters and gives you a score that’s split between tactics and morale. These two influence the overall leadership score.
We felt this was the best way to hit home that the best decisions are often the hardest.
What happens after you get a score?
When you complete a chapter, extras are unlocked that look at the back-stories of the other soldiers. This lets you know more about their past and get closer to the drama.
How do you win?
It’s not as simple as that. There are two endings, one of which has an extra scene that only plays if you’ve made certain choices. That was actually a really tricky part of the scoring.
Who decides how well you’ve done?
Not wanting to give it all away but if you pay close attention you’ll figure out that it’s one of the characters who is evaluating your performance.
So how did adding interactivity affect the production?
In this case it presented a number of challenges. The first was scripting. We were having a tough time before we even started filming! In a regular TV drama the writer takes the viewer through a journey. But in this case the writer had to give over some of the story to the viewer, and encourage them to make the decisions.
So the user actually influences the story.
In a way yes, but the writer had to incorporate the real life history. That’s why the story only has a couple of outcomes. Apart from that it was similar to a regular drama shoot. We just had to film twice as much footage.