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Netflix chooses a trivia interactive strategy with animated Cat Burglar

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Cat Burglar // Illustration by Kate Walker

Netflix chooses a trivia interactive strategy with animated Cat Burglar

 

Future. Netflix just released a new interactive adult animated show titled Cat Burglar. From the mind behind BandersnatchCat Burglar switches up the interactive format by asking viewers trivia questions in order to keep the story moving. With Netflix’s ability to experiment on its own ecosystem and introduce new technologies when it wants (like gaming), the streamer could endlessly beta test blurring the lines between passive and active entertainment.

Trivia (show) night
Netflix is putting its own spin on Tom & Jerry… with an interactive twist.

  • Made by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, Cat Burglar “pits petty thief Rowdy Cat against museum security dog Peanut in a heist full of hijinks,” with users taking the POV of Rowdy Cat.
  • How is the show interactive? Viewers have to answer timed trivia questions correctly in order to push the story forward… or they die a gruesome death and have to start over.
  • But when viewers do start over, there are subtle differences the next time they work through the story.
  • The show is already available to watch/play on the streamer.

Brooker, who was behind Netflix’s biggest interactive program to date, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, swore off making another piece of interactive content because of how insanely difficult the process turned out to be (which you can see here).

But after seeing the success of Bandersnatch (it was nominated for two Emmys), he and executive producer Annabel Jones decided to give it another try… as long as they could experiment with a new format.

Sticky R&D
While Netflix has only released a few interactive programs, the streamer has actually been developing several since 2017 — it just takes so much work to get them right. Andy Weil, Netflix’s vice president of comedy and interactive lead, said that that’s because “there is no such thing as plug-and-play for interactive — each one is kind of bespoke.”

Since then, the streamer has also launched a mobile-games division. While those will stay separate for now, Weil says they could “eventually dovetail.” Until then, we’ll have to wait for the next interactive experience, which is already slated for release next year. Weil says it will, once again, have an entirely new format.