YouTube debuted the trailer today for its first interactive original show, a special starring gaming personality Markiplier that lets viewers lead him through a heist. The show will debut on October 30th and include 61 total videos leading to 31 possible endings.
Creator-made interactive shows have been on YouTube for well over a decade, with the earliest relying on YouTube’s since-deprecated annotation feature to let viewers make choices and advance to a new video. Markiplier has even made one of his own before, with a 2017 series called A Date with Markiplier that could lead viewers to 10 possible endings.
This new show, A Heist with Markiplier, only differs in that it’s being funded by and made for YouTube’s Originals program, and its production looks a lot flashier because of it. YouTube said in April that it was beginning to invest in interactive series, though it didn’t offer any details on what was in the works.
Netflix got everyone excited about interactive shows with ‘Bandersnatch’
YouTube has been making some major changes to its Originals program this year, seemingly scaling back productions, refocusing its content choices, and opening it up to a broader audience. New YouTube Originals no longer require a YouTube Premium subscription to watch them, and many existing shows are being cycled out from behind the paywall so more viewers can see them.
Interactive shows got a major interest boost over the past year, largely thanks to Netflix. Last December, Netflix debuted the interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch to much buzz. Netflix later debuted an interactive Bear Grylls show, continuing to expand interactive programming beyond kids’ shows.
Given that it’s already a much more interactive platform, Choose Your Own Adventure-style originals ought to feel relatively at home on YouTube. And now that viewers don’t have to pay to watch YouTube Originals, they might reach a lot more viewers, too.