With the forthcoming release of Portal Entertainment’s THE CRAFTSMAN - immerisve thriller for ipad - The Guardian newspaper UK ran a feature article looking at interactive narrative and the influences and ambitions of Portal.
“It is part book, part film, part game – and a world away from the six novels in contention for tonight’s Man Booker prize. But Julian McCrea, developer of the immersive iPad thriller The Craftsman, launched this week, is convinced his mashup of literary gothic and cinematic chiller is the future of fiction.
The app turns the reader into the main character in a tale that draws on influences such as Edgar Allen Poe, Alfred Hitchcock and Christopher Nolan’s film Memento. In future works, McCrea hopes to use the iPad’s built-in camera to read your facial expressions, letting him ratchet up the tension accordingly as the story develops.
With sales of paper books declining, McCrea believes the app represents a new kind of digital storytelling that could open up an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of possibilities.
“No two people will get the same experience,” says McCrea, who gave up his job on Dr Who – launching the programme’s global Facebook page – three years ago to start Portal Entertainment.
The project has echoes of the “choose your own adventure” paperbacks of the 1980s and 90s, which allowed pre-teen readers to plot their own way through treasure islands and spooky forests. But the creators of the new app wanted to take the idea further.
“You”, as a fully paid-up character in the drama, can sign online petitions on fictitious websites and receive cryptic messages on your mobile phone from other characters, while the events you attend in the story pop up in your real-life calendar, as the app’s creators attempt to “bleed” the story into your everyday life.
With the story unfolding in short episodes over five days, McCrea hopes to capture an audience of thirtysomething dads used to whipping out their phone to play Angry Birds when they have a spare five minutes. But also in his sights is the £87m British market for thrillers and crime novels.”
….”Mike Jones, the writer who led the writers’ team for The Craftsman, says the appeal of the app project was the chance to bring some of the “age-old traditions of storytelling – genre, character and catharsis” – into new media. “Publishers are terrified [but] there has never been a better time to be storyteller.”