Friday, December 23, 2011

Transmedia Project Level Design Tasks - One Story vs. Multiple Stories

Deciding whether a transmedia narrative involves a single story told using multiple media (intracompositional) or multiple stories told using multiple media (intercompositional) will shape the structure and focus of the narrative. The Matrix is a frequently cited example of an intercompositional transmedia narrative. Three films, several video games, a series of animated short films, and a number of comic books form The Matrix’s storyworld. Each of the works in this storyworld is a fully developed story or game that can stand on its own.

Transmedia narratives like Must Love Robots and Animism: the Gods’ Lake are intercompositional transmedia narratives. In Must Love Robots, each element of the story contributes essential information that the user needs in order to fully understand the story. A single story is central to Animism: The Gods’ Lake and a variety of media, live events, and an alternate reality game provide additional information related to the primary story. Alternate reality games and stories structured using “narrative hubs” are closest to being “pure” intracompositional narratives.

Stories that involve either a central character or a central mystery are well suited to an intracompositional narrative structure. Intercompositional narrative structures are better suited to a number of individual stories that set in the same story world and which may or may not be interconnected.

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