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How Netflix ‘Trivia Quest’ expands the streamer’s gaming push

How Netflix 'Trivia Quest' expands the streamer's gaming push

  • Netflix launched the daily interactive series “Trivia Quest” on Friday and will release new episodes through April.
  • The project was inspired by the popularity of interactive games like HQ Trivia and Trivia Crack.
  • Netflix comedy director Andy Weil hopes to learn from audience interactions with the series.

What


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service took its first step into interactive programming in 2018 with “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”?

That would be Netflix, which on Friday added to its small library of interactive entertainment with “Trivia Quest,” a daily animated show where viewers must answer quiz questions correctly in order to help Willy – a rainbow wheel character. -sky with a smile – save his Trivia Land friends from the evil Rocky, who takes the form of a sword.

“Trivia Quest” – which premiered just over a month after streamer “Cat Burglar” released, an interactive trivia version of “Black Mirror” creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones – marks


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in the daily interactive game space, which has grown in popularity in recent years with the short-lived HQ Trivia app and Wordle, owned by The New York Times.

Andy Weil, vice president of interactivity and comedy at Netflix, told Insider that his own love of such experiences sparked the conversations that culminated in “Trivia Quest.”

“I was talking to one of our vice presidents of product, Todd Yellin, about our mutual love of trivia and how it can be deployed on the service,” he said. “It was before we were even really in games. It was more just, ‘Hey, let’s try this. We both like trivia and we have the technology.'”

It turns out that two producers already working with Netflix, Daniel Calin and Vin Rubino of Sunday Sauce Productions, had licensed the Etermax Trivia Crack mobile game IP, which became the basis for “Trivia Quest”.

The show will launch one new episode per day until April. Each installment has 24 questions – 12 easy and 12 difficult – and encourages viewers to play multiple times if they want to challenge themselves or improve their score.

“We want to see how people handle it,” Weil said of the daily rollout, a departure from Netflix, which pioneered and stuck to the series binge model. He added that “Trivia Quest” will still feel like a Netflix show, as episodes from previous days will be available for viewers to play on demand whenever they want, unlike Wordle where the puzzle refreshes daily. There’s also an overarching storyline designed to keep Netflix subscribers coming back day after day, though the narrative is “pretty lighthearted,” Weil said.

Although “Trivia Quest” acts as a hybrid between a TV show and a game, it is distinct from the roster of games that Netflix launched in November. Interactive experiences, for example, are streamed across multiple platforms, including smart TVs, while Netflix games are only available on mobile devices.

“We consider this a 1.0 experience,” Weil said, adding that he wanted to learn from audiences interacting with the show.

To create “Trivia Quest”, Netflix engineers used the same product – known internally as Branch Manager – that they developed to create “Bandersnatch”.

Although a trivia game plays out differently than branching tales Netflix has released in the past – it has 18 interactive titles, including “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend” – Weil said “Trivia Quest” used existing technology architecture.

Key art for Netflix "Trivial quest."

Willy, protagonist of “Trivia Quest”.

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The New York Times previously reported that up to 40 people, including developers, animators, and engineers, worked behind the scenes to create “Trivia Quest.”

“Unlike anywhere I’ve worked, I feel comfortable sharing content with the product people because they feel comfortable sharing their learnings with the content people,” said Weil, who previously worked in comedy development at Universal Television.

One of the challenges when creating “Trivia Quest” was to generate questions that would translate around the world. Netflix, after all, has 222 million subscribers in over 190 countries.

Weil said the show has been translated into multiple languages ​​— in some cases, the creators have offered alternate questions for specific regions. “We didn’t want to make it global because that’s how you soften the questions,” he said.

Weil said the company’s push into gaming has informed his thinking about interactive content. “We are in conversation all the time with the games team,” he said. “The lines are blurring.”