Transmedia… what a clever way to engage an audience and make more money with one idea.
To understand transmedia, you first have to differentiate between transmedia and multimedia.
Multimedia is one story told over different platforms.
- If a book is published, and it becomes popular, a movie might be made to illustrate the events of that book. Then, a video or computer game might be created for players to live through the events of the story as one of the characters. This is the same story told over several channels, and this is multimedia.
Transmedia is many stories told over different platforms.
- If a book, movie, video game, and website are all created in relation to one story, but tell different parts of and add to that story, this means the stories are different on each channel, and this is transmedia.
There are many good examples of transmedia; The Matrix, the Lost series, Star Wars etc. However, an example that is not often acknowledged as transmedia, is Halo. Halo is a multi-billion dollar science fiction video game franchise created by Bungie and now managed by 343 Industries and owned by Microsoft Studios.
When 343 Industries overtook the Halo franchise from Bungie in 2012, they had a plan for the Halo franchise.
“When we started 343 and this journey of where we wanted Halo to go, it was a 10-year plan in which Halo 4 was the first step,” [executive producer Kiki Wolfkill said.] “We didn’t have a relationship with the audience; they had a relationship with the IP.” >> read more at gamesindustry
Halo franchise director Frank O’Connor said that the ultimate way Halo has always been communicated has been through transmedia.
“You can communicate a lot of things through transmedia experiences. It’s not just a commerce opportunity, but the most important aspect is the storytelling vehicles,” he said, pointing out that the novels have always been huge for Halo, even before the first Halo with The Fall of Reach. “It helped plant a seed for using transmedia and how we communicate more about our universe,” he said. >> read more at gamesindustry
The Halo transmedia project provides many different branches of entertainment that give a global picture of the Halo universe. In 2012 alone, Halo’s transmedia contributions were substantial. There was the Forerunners trilogy, the Kilo-Five trilogy, the Forward Unto Dawn live action series, the Halo 4 game itself and the Spartan Ops series and game missions. This is happening across 4 platforms: novels, online streaming video, Xbox and Xbox Live video.
The Halo transmedia franchise is ongoing, and Frank O’Connor has stated that the Spartan Ops mode will “bridge the gap” between the events of Halo 4 and the future release of its sequel, Halo 5. It is this kind of transmedia that keeps an audience interested and stimulates a continuous conversation.