The classic ARG storytelling technique involves putting content into the real world and web as if the story were really happening. But the line between truth and fiction online is blurry -- and getting blurrier all the time -- so not everyone who finds your content will know it's not for real.
One person's hoax is another's deeply immersive experience. And what one considers a killer practical joke can be a terrifying ordeal to somebody else. So how does a transmedia designer learn to strike the right balance between immersive and responsible?
Transmedia is a big buzzword in entertainment. Most of the conversation around transmedia has been focused on large media corporations with major franchises to advertise. But companies don't make transmedia - people do. At last year's SXSW a group of these people -- transmedia, ARG and net-native story designers -- convened to discuss the challenges of making a living and thriving in this landscape. The bitch session spurred a call to action, and the plans were laid for a new advocacy organization to serve individual producers and artists working in this still-hazily defined world -- the Transmedia Artists Guild.
TAG seeks to fulfill needs that are currently being overlooked by the established creative guilds and advocacy organizations, including: 1) Providing a community for professional practitioners; 2) Advancing clear definitions of what transmedia creators do; 3) Fostering a culture of credit in the transmedia space and 4) Aiding companies in need of transmedia talent in finding professional practitioners.
by Adrian Hon
Most ARGs are like icing on a cake - they make an existing TV show, movie, game or book taste even better by giving fans another way to explore and interact with the fictional universe. But you can't live on icing, so the question is: can an ARG ever work on its own, without relying on a massive audience from another medium?
Very few have tried, and there are no enduring successes (including my own Perplex City). As a result, many have implicitly concluded that a 'native ARG' can't be done, and are now moving on to transmedia. But at Six to Start, we think it can be done, and we've been developing Project 314 to prove it.
Project 314 is an online social game blended with an ARG, aimed at a mass audience (just like Zynga and Playfish games) but with a depth of gameplay, story, and world that they can't approach. During development, we found that there are enormous advantages in creating an ARG that's attached to an online game; for one, you can avoid the irritating friction that always occurs when switching between media; for another, it feels incredibly natural (and there are a few more to discuss)
It took us three years to come up with the idea for Project 314, and to assemble the right team. In this talk, I'll also share why Project 314 is so important for the future of games and storytelling, why it took so long, and how other game developers can create similar games (while avoiding the pitfalls we encountered).
11th–15th March 2011