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The first three episodes of Minecraft: Story Mode have launched on Netflix, allowing viewers to experience an adventure with a branching path where the viewer makes decisions about what happens next.
Developed by Telltale Games, Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix is basically a retelling of the first season of the game that launched on consoles back in 2015. Instead of controlling the characters, though, the viewer will be limited to making binary decisions throughout each episode, which will have an impact on the evolving narrative. The first three episodes are available now, with the final two due to launch on Dec. 5.
This is certainly an interesting way of experiencing a story, with folks simply being prompted when they need to make a decision for the characters to follow. Oh, and you can totally choose a male or female protagonist before watching the season.
When a decision needs to be made, Gameinformer reports you'll input your decision via buttons if you're watching on a console, with a mouse if you're watching on a computer or with a touchscreen press if you're watching on a smart device. If you're watching through a device like the Fire TV, then you'll use the remote to make your selection.
The Netflix version of Minecraft: Story Mode features the same voice cast as the game, including Patton Oswalt, Paul Reubens, Catherine Taber, and Ashley Johnson.
This actually isn't the first time Netflix has ventured into "choose your own adventure" territory, as they have similar branching-path shows based on Puss in Boots (from the Shrek films) and Buddy Thunderstruck. While those were more targeted at youngsters, Minecraft boasts a tale pretty much anyone can enjoy. Word on the street is that a similar episode of Black Mirror is in development, which is probably the most fitting property for something like this. Chances are pretty high that, no matter what choices you make, the conclusion will make you feel like an absolute monster for engaging with technology. I love Black Mirror and all, but no way in hell would they pass up this golden opportunity to say to the viewer, "Look what you did! Look what your terrible choices led to!"
As for Minecraft: Story Mode, its launch is a bit bittersweet, as it's likely the final project to ever come out of the team at Telltale Games. The developer spent the last decade making some fantastic games set in the worlds of Batman, Borderlands, Guardians of the Galaxy and more, with a sudden closure this fall resulting from financial issues. Around 250 employees were fired without notice, with a small staff kept on to finish work on Minecraft for Netflix. The final season of The Walking Dead was at the midway point at the time, but the project has been shifted over to Fireside Games, along with much of the original staff, to be completed.