Matt Hawn discussed ARGs at the Live Immersive Design Symposium

Building ARGs and interactive digital stories

“We’re wired as humans for narrative, we make sense of the world through narrative. But we learn through play, we’ve learned through mistakes, to be honest, right? It’s the place you can mess up. So when you have a narrative and play, and then you add location to it, be that a virtual local, you have something really powerful.”

Thomas Florence (Artistic Director at But Why? Theatre) and Matthew Hawn (CEO of Fictioneers) join Andy Barnes (Director of Entourage) in conversation about the technological and narrative possibilities that arise from Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and interactive storytelling. The speakers discuss the different types and uses of ARGs in the immersive space, and critique the best practices and future opportunities. 

The panel deep-dive into the digital affordances in this tech-centric era of immersive, raising the question of when an immersive experience really starts – ARGs expand the possibilities from the first step into the venue to many months prior. Thomas leads a discussion on the different types of audiences at ARG productions, as well as the blended audiences that consist of individuals after different experiences all within the same show. Matthew elaborates on the opportunities, anxieties and perhaps solutions of the encroachment of AI into immersive spaces as the panel discuss the extent to which AI can embed itself in successful transmedia ARGs. Providing a broad and insightful set of reflections, the panel engage with the audience as they raise challenges and questions that have arisen from their own immersive shows.


This talk was recorded at the Immersive Experience Network’s Live Immersive Design Symposium in October 2023, and is supported by Arts Council England and our industry partners Illusion Design & Construct, Mance Communications, White Light, Unlocked Vision, Clockwork Dog, d&b audiotechnik, Scene2, Little Lion Entertainment, Entourage, and Vista Insurance.

Date of article - June 19, 2024
Updated - June 21, 2024

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