The Complex was brought to me 6 years ago by our writer Lynn Renee Maxcy (The Handmaid’s Tale). We hit it off immediately with our shared interest in telling female-led stories and our love of science fiction. I took this to my producing partner John Giwa-Amu who suggested we turn it into an interactive narrative, something completely new!
Fast forward 5 years and I’m standing on set with John and Lynn watching our lead actress Michelle Mylett (Dr Amy Tennant) and Al Weaver (Dr Rees Wakefield) perform one of our favourite scenes.
An interactive narrative means we give our audience choices on where the story goes. For example, Rees makes a compelling and touching speech, but how do you respond? Do you choose to let him die? Or will you sacrifice your patient who is very ill?
We spent years creating the interactive script so the choices are morally challenging, and you only have 5-10 seconds to decide! Enter Paul Raschid, our talented director. As a producer, it’s thrilling to see 5 years of your life and work come alive in front of your eyes. I look over at Lynn - we are both tearing up, so grateful to our team.
Next up an explosion, the SFX team are prepping and tension fills the air. I grin behind my dust mask at my co-conspirators. Finally, cameras are hidden, actors are in position, rehearsals are done. As a small film, we only have one take for the explosion, everything needs to go perfectly.
Michelle runs out - BANG! Debris flies through the main room, luckily everyone is safe and the footage looks great.
Of course, Paul approaches with a problem. We still have to film scenes in this room, only some of the narrative branches don’t have the explosion in them! So begins the process of shooting scenes twice, once with debris in the background and once without.
As one of the first interactive films, we face new challenges every day. From shooting huge numbers of pages daily, to making sure each narrative branch keeps its continuity. I’m really proud of our great team for keeping track. On this film, we became a well-oiled machine by the end. I think we’ve managed to build expertise in interactive filmmaking that very few people in the world have.
Finally fast forward to last week: Monday 29th of February. The night before our official release date on gaming platforms worldwide. Gamer Leah Viathan, also in our film, is livestreaming exclusively on Twitch. Comments start: “thank you for this game”, “I love Claire”, “we wanted to save him!”, “so engrossing it’s in my wishlist now!”.
Watching audiences react and engage with our story, characters and world was definitely another one of my favourite days. 6 years of work, pressure and exhilaration inside of me. It’s incredible to witness the love and excitement of gamers around the world.
As a producer, I look around at my team and am incredibly proud of what we have achieved!
THE COMPLEX a live action, interactive Sci-Fi thriller is now available worldwide through PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Playstation PS4: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/the-complex-ps4/
Xbox One: www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/the-complex/9mw2rgq5g5qw?activetab=pivot:overviewtabSwitch Europe: www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/The-Complex-1734226.html
Switch America: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-complex-switch/