Netflix Is No Longer Making Interactive Shows and Movies

Netflix Interactive Specials Being DiscontinuedNetflix Interactive Specials Being Discontinued

Picture: Netflix

For the past seven years, Netflix has been gradually releasing a collection of interactive, choose-your-own-story games within the Netflix UI, known as Interactive Specials. According to a recent report, we may not see many more of these, if any, in the future.

Netflix began rolling out this feature in 2017, and to date, 28 of them have been released, with the majority targeting family-oriented audiences. IP such as Carmen Sandiego, The Boss Baby, Barbie, Johnny Test, and Jurassic World have all featured interactive specials, along with Netflix’s own array of shows receiving this treatment, including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and We Lost Our Human.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was undoubtedly a major breakthrough for this technology, targeting adults and pushing the feature to its limits with numerous branching storylines. The last major interactive movie came over the summer in the form of Choose Love, a rom-com starring Laura Marano, Avan Jogia, and Scott Michael Foster.

However, it seems that this genre of Netflix titles won’t be expanding anytime soon, with a report indicating that Netflix is abandoning the format to focus on its other gaming ventures, which it has been developing since November 2021, featuring nearly 100 titles in its mobile and cloud gaming lineup.

This news was reported by Game File and journalist Stephen Totilo, who previously worked for Kotaku and, more recently, for Axios.

“We’re not building those specific experiences anymore,” said Mike Verdu, head of Netflix’s gaming efforts, in a conversation with Totilo. He added, “The technology was very limiting, and the potential for what we could do in that area was somewhat capped. But we learned a great deal from it.”

Verdu mentioned that its mobile game Netflix Stories is what’s continuing the format going forward. Netflix Stories began with Love is Blind last year and more recently released its Money Heist variant in a separate app. A Virgin River version is on the way, too. These games, created by Netflix’s internal studio, Boss Fight Entertainment, allow users to play stories set within the worlds of Netflix shows. However, they are currently only available on Android and iOS devices and require a separate download, as they cannot be played within the Netflix interface.

As of this publication, 25 interactive specials and series are available on the service, though a few have been removed over the past year or two. It all began with Minecraft: Story Mode, which left the service in late 2022. Since then, a couple of DreamWorks Animated interactive specials have departed, including the most recent Puss in Boots interactive special.

Are you disappointed that Netflix will not be producing any more interactive specials? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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