Today HBO announced the launch of its newest project — an interactive storytelling app called Mosaic, directed by the award-winning Steven Soderbergh. Three years in the making, it stars the likes of Sharon Stone, Beau Bridges, Maya Kazan, and Paul Reubens and allows viewers to make decisions that “build upon one another,” leading to different conclusions. You can choose what character’s point of view from which to view certain scenes of the story as well, shaping your experience and perspective on how the narrative unfolds.
At the Future of StoryTelling Festival back in October, Soderbergh debuted the trailer for Mosaic and spoke to attendees about his aims for the project:
MOSAIC is a branching narrative piece. While branching narratives have been around forever, technology now allows, I hope, for a more elegant, intuitive form of engagement than used to be possible. Also, we weren’t reverse engineering the story to fit an existing piece of technology; the story was being created in lockstep with the technical team … I wanted it to be a simple, intuitive experience. I didn’t want moments where you are making a decision to feel like interruptions.
In addition to the full seven-and-a-half hours of the show itself, the iOS app includes bonus content pertinent to the show’s murder mystery-inspired plot such as newspaper and magazine clippings, voicemail recordings, and character profiles. These extra bits help to more completely immerse you in the narrative, allowing you to participate in the speculation along with the characters.
Mosaic is available now free of charge on the App Store, and will soon be coming to Android as well according to HBO. Get it here:
If you’re more of a TV traditionalist, don’t worry: Mosaic’s release will be followed by an actual television show of the same name (and featuring, presumably, some of the same content) that will air on HBO in January of 2018.
How do you feel about television shows that allow you to essentially choose your own adventure? Do you think Mosaic is the TV experience of the future? Let us know in the comments.