Amazon’s home speaker has revolutionised the idea of a home assistant and now with help from the BBC the Echo is about to get a whole lot cooler.
The BBC are working with Rosina Sound to create an interactive radio play for voice-powered AI speakers, bringing a whole new dimension of possibilities to the increasingly popular speakers. The first of its kind production is being produced with a hopeful release for the end of the year.
The radio play will work like choose-your-own adventure stories where you follow the story and make choices as to where it leads next. ‘The Inspection Chamber’ will immerse players like never before in the story as they interact directly with the narrator who asks questions. Your answers will then shape how the story progresses.
The whole story has been designed so that you not only take part in the story, but are part of it. You’ll meet and interact with characters throughout the story making conversations feel genuine and giving context to interactions. The creators describe the experience as “a comedy science-fiction audio drama.”
Creating the interactive radio-play wasn’t quite as easy as you might expect. Amazon’s assistant Alexa is only capable of understanding a limited number of phrases and requires speech every 90 seconds. The creators of ‘The Inspection Chamber’ had to work around these limitations to create time restrictions and use the phrases without compromising the story and its immersive world.
The creators took inspiration from modern experimental games like The Stanley Parable and Papa Sangre as well as authors, citing Franz Kafka and Douglas Adams as inspiration. In a statement the project’s head producer, Henry Cooke said: “We wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine direct interaction with the other characters in the piece. We haven’t come across any other interactive stories like this on voice devices, and we’re excited to see how people respond to it.”
For now The Inspection Chamber will be the first of its kind but depending on its success it could well lead to an entire new genre of storytelling – we’re due another adventure game boom. The Inspection Chamber will launch later this year, first on Google Home and Amazon Echo before looking into other devices like Apple’s HomePod and Microsoft’s home speaker.