The BBC has produced an interactive audio drama that runs through devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The Inspection Chamber will let users take part and influence the story by responding to the device.
The project is based around the premise that while interactive stories with branching plotlines are nothing new, printed versions such as Choose Your Own Adventure aren’t completely immersive because the moment of making a choice takes you out of the story.
The theory is that using voice recognition speakers can make the decision-making process more natural and conversational. The narrator and the user both act as two of the story’s four characters and the options are presented as conversational questions.
The fact that the narrator’s voice is clearly automated is built into the story, which features the user being a test subject for scientists. Despite being a female voice, the narrator is named DAVE, which may well be an inverted reference to HAL in 2001.
As well as testing the interactive story idea, the project is also designed to test an approach to making a cross-platform story engine. The initial release will be on Alexa and Home, but the producers believe it could be transferred to other interactive speakers.