Yomi Ayeni’s Breathe was an interactive experience taking place over 3 weeks in October 2009, resulting in the creation of a movie released in 3 parts. At its height, it included immersive live events such as a club night following an initiation ceremony for a secretive, clandestine society. The game attracted a dedicated core following as well as a more general audience attending events such as the club night. Now, Expanding Universe has plans to transform the experience into a recurring event either later in 2010 or in early 2011.
The events should hover in between the full experience and a normal movie screening. While the film will still be shown in its original three parts, attendees will be encouraged to visit websites and explore the story in various ways between showings of the filmed episodes. Participants will have access to a portal specifically created for the event, where various sections of the wider story will be unlocked in a calendar format as the movie progresses. These may include websites, phone numbers, extra video content and more, some of which will be exclusive to the events. The live events of Breathe’s initial run were fully filmed in anticipation of such redistribution, and with the permission from those involved, may also be used as part of the storytelling platform.
Attendees will be encouraged to discuss their findings in groups; Yomi believes that this will further understanding of the story as a whole, as individuals can bring their different perspectives and findings to the discussion. Much as participants of the original experience were able to act as “beacons” to bring the experiential parts of the story to the wider audience, it is hoped that people discovering different story areas and content can come together to discuss these as a whole. These exploration and discussion sessions will help to preserve the wider and richer experience of the story to supplement the absence of real-time events. At the end of the full screening, there will be a wider talk and Q&A session with the audience to cement understanding of the story.
This certainly sounds like a unique experience and a possible way to extend the lifetime of Breathe. It will be interesting to measure the success of these events and to see if other games will attempt to follow suit.
Yomi also announced on the ARG Netcast tonight that the next immersive section of Breathe is in the planning stages, and will once again take place in the UK. His only hint on the subject so far: “Look for numbers stations.” He is also working on his next project, Clockwork Watch, and is planning to present a smaller immersive experience at the Anti Design Festival later this year.