Netflix had to create a whole new computer program to make Bandersnatch a reality


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Just like the central character of Bandersnatch, Netflix had to schedule something no one had seen before in order to make its first interactive Black mirror episode a reality.

Based on a feature film on the film by Hollywood journalist, the streaming giant ended up creating complex (and proprietary) software of your own adventure choice, cheekily named “Branch Manager,” which the company now intends to use for all of its upcoming interactive episodes. The technology doesn’t just map out all possibilities through a root-type org chart system, it also keeps track of viewers’ choices as the story progresses.

“You can’t do it in a flowchart because it’s dynamic and tracks what state you are in and does things accordingly,” said Black mirror creator, executive producer, screenwriter and Bandersnatch writer Charlie Brooker.

The world of entertainment is marked by technological innovations to advance the concept of storytelling. For example, George Lucas founded ILM for the large amount of visual effects needed for the first Star wars film, while Pixar’s RenderMan software – developed in the early 1990s – is now an industry standard in animation.

Set in 1984 (Orwellian comparisons do not end there), Bandersnatch follows Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), a young programmer who begins to question his reality and free will during an attempt to adapt a massive fantasy novel into a video game. Since the author of the book has gone mad and chopped off his wife’s head, it doesn’t bode well for poor Stefan, who somehow becomes the creative property of the viewer as the audience decides his fate.

“To the writer, your characters are defined by their actions. But in this story, you decide actions. So who is this character?” Brooker explained. “Partly that’s why we landed on the story we have because part of our narrative is this argument of why does it happen and who’s in control? That aspect is built into the story because that was one of the biggest struggles I had. One of the other challenges is letting go. Normally we make the decisions, but with that it’s both liberating and terrifying to not having to do that. “

While some hoped for the arrival of Bandersnatch meant Season 5 was just on the horizon, they’ll be a little disappointed. Through THR, Netflix is ​​considering a 2019 release for the new batch of episodes, but has yet to pick an exact date.


Video from the producers of Black Mirror: technology is not the enemy | New York Comic-Con 2017 | SYFY WIRE

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Gordon K. Morehouse