Anyone who once loved flipping through a Choose Your Own Adventure book will love Netflix's newest offering: interactive programming for kids. Puss in Boots: Trapped In An Epic Tale allows viewers to follow along with its titular character's adventure in a much more involved way than usual. After Puss in Boots gets stuck in a magical storybook, he has to find his way to the end of all the tales before he can be free. To do so, he often has to make a choice between two options to determine what the outcome of the story will be. Netflix has made it possible for viewers to make that choice themselves. But when will more titles for Netflix's interactive storytelling be available?
Netflix will be unrolling a couple of programs over the next year or so that allow for those watching to choose which twists and turns the story takes. Another interactive series called Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile will be released on July 14. It follows a dog and a ferret with a fondness for truck-racing as they decide between stunts to perform – which will likely be a choice the viewer can make for them. Then next year Netflix will be adding a third interactive program called Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout.
According to the Netflix director of product innovation, Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, the decision to move towards interactive storytelling was partially inspired by her own family. "I have a six-year-old daughter who talks to these shows all the time," Fisher told Variety, referencing shows like Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues where viewers can talk back to the show but not actually make a choice. "It's a faux two-way conversation. We are putting viewers in the driver's seat."
The branching narratives allow viewers a short window of time in which to choose before the story simply chooses for them. But if you race to check out the interactive Puss In Boots and find it isn't working, there's a simple explanation: it doesn't work on every single device yet. While it should be fine on most devices, the interactive storytelling won't function on the Netflix site, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android smartphones, or Android tablets – though there's no telling what the future holds.
This kind of storytelling is still new for Netflix, so there will likely be some bugs to work out along the way. But if it proves to be a hit with viewers, it seems like something that might stick around for a while.