Lionsgate is making waves with its recent $4.4 billion acquisition of premium channel Starz, and it’s continuing to work its magic by further promoting the movie Now You See Me 2 in unique and engaging ways.
With assistance from the messaging app company, Sequel, Lionsgate has produced an interactive chatbot gaming experience for both Facebook and the chatbot platform Kik that enables fans to become even more immersed in the story. This marks the first time that a bot gaming experience has been built around a major franchise with a large focus on storytelling.
Throughout the game, players will have the opportunity to solve puzzles, interact with characters from the Now You See Me universe and get a closer look at the magic that’s happening in its world–all of it done in the hopes of impressing The Eye, the mysterious magical group that is referred to in the films. The goal of the game is to prove yourself worthy of the organization by getting through the increasingly difficult challenges that test the skills of players.
Omar Siddiqui, CEO of Sequel, talked to [a]listdaily about the potential of the game and working closely with Lionsgate to make sure that the chatbot content lived up to what the films delivered. “We worked hand-in-hand with creative and production leaders at Lionsgate from idea inception, throughout the development process, and during final polish,” said Siddiqui. “We were provided scripts and early previews of the NYSM2 movie to ensure that our game development was informed by the movie.
“We also got feedback throughout our process, ensuring that the vision of how we wanted to integrate with the broader Now You See Me franchise world was being executed in a way that tied everything together elegantly.”
When it came to the challenges that popped up with putting together an ideal chatbot experience with Now You See Me 2, Siddiqui broke it down into three parts:
- Providing an entertaining game experience (via the messaging medium) that relies on storytelling and character development vs. the visual eye candy possible in traditional video games.
- Staying faithful to the movie (storyline, characters, tone, emotion, pacing) and providing facets of magic, puzzles, plot reveals, and humor that not only draw from the movie world but also add to it.
- Utilizing and leveraging the emotional connection between virtual characters and consumers through the communication and real-time updates possible on messaging platforms, which is still a novel medium.
He also went into detail about the chatbot creation process. “It was not dissimilar from creating a traditional video game,” he explained. “The process included: research to gather background data, filmmakers meetings, team creative meetings, game proposals, revisions and approvals. Then we developed the game script and visual media, which we had to playtest, get feedback, test and tune before releasing the Alpha, Beta and Final. Since the interactions were conversational, getting the voice right for the game to connect users emotionally and creatively to the movie was particularly important.”
When asked about whether chatbots might be used in future movie promotions, Siddiqui said, “Absolutely. Given the audience size and the possibilities available to connect with games in a more emotional and intimate character-centric way, we expect much more experimentation and development of ‘bot games’ in the future.”
And considering the increased usage in chatbots lately (with 11,000 and rising on Facebook alone), ones based on entertainment could be a powerful tool for engagement.