In Aneesh Chaganty’s recent film Searching, actor John Cho has to comb through his daughter’s emails, apps and social media accounts to solve they mystery of her abduction. Something of an innovative breakthrough, it’s one of the few films that takes place solely on computer screens and seems to understand technology.
unrd is a new interactive fiction app that seems to offer you a very similar experience. Here’s how it works: once you’ve downloaded the app you select a story and you are essentially handed a fictional character’s phone. From there, you explore their life through their messages, photos, videos and even receive real-time messages as whatever the story is unfolds.
You can even visit characters’ social profiles in order to piece together who they are/were and how they got into whatever predicament they’re in.
unrd is interested in creating stories with mass appeal and claim to have something for everyone from edge-of -your-seat thrillers, horror, crime and exciting romance tales.
In a recent move, unrd also appears to be recruiting online influencers to help boost the company’s profile. On February 14 (today), YouTube and reality TV star Joe Sugg released a story called “Found” on the interactive fiction app, a romantic story in keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day.
While the app is free to download and stories are free to start, it appears that the business model for Unrd is to feature in-app purchases in the form of “keys” which unlock parts of the story.
But before you get irate about this, it’s in keeping with a model that is being adopted by many story apps including Wattpad who are currently experimenting with “Coins” as a way to pay for content. The reading app Radish operates the same way.
None of our team has tried urd yet, but it’s on our radar. We love the approach in theory, particularly the use of multimedia. The stories must be murder to produce.