Alexa, let’s solve a double homicide: Amazon has partnered with Warner Bros. and DC Comics on an unusual promotion for “Batman vs. Superman” that lets anyone who owns an Amazon Echo smart loudspeaker or an Amazon Fire TV with Alexa integration play a chose-your-own-adventure game.
The game, called “The Wayne Investigation,” lets users immerse themselves in the world of Gotham, just days after Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed. Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa doubles as a user’s ears and eyes during this investigation, guiding them through multiple rooms, giving them choices and helping them to find valuable clues.
Think of it as a kind of interactive radio adventure if you will, complete with music, sound effects and multiple characters that have to be questioned. At many points, users can decide to go down different paths and for example choose to either examine the crime scene or visit Gotham’s ammunition factory.
Altogether, users are given up to 37 decisions throughout the game, which can take anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes, depending on the decisions of the player. And of course, all of this is done as a pure audio game, thanks to the Echo’s voice recognition and speech synthesis. To launch the game, users have to enable it within the “skills” section of the Alexa app, and then say: “Alexa, open the Wayne Investigation.”
The team behind “The Wayne Investigation,” which included head writers from DC Comics as well as folks from Zack Snyder’s production company Cruel & Unusual Films, made use of Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit, which lets third party-developers build voice interactions for Alexa.
“We’re thrilled to work with Warner Brothers and DC Comics to bring “The Wayne Investigation” to our Alexa-enabled devices,” said said Rob Pulciani, Director of Alexa. “This is the first Alexa skill to use a combination of produced audio assets and Alexa technology.”
It’s also the first time Amazon has partnered with a movie studio for this kind of promotion, but “The Wayne Investigation” also shows how developers can use the skills kit for less ambitious and more practical projects. At the end of the adventure, users can ask Alexa to tell them about movie showtimes for “Batman vs. Superman.”
Amazon first introduced its personal assistant Alexa when it started selling the Echo smart loudspeaker to a limited audience of beta testers at the end of 2014. In 2015, the Echo was publicly released, and Amazon also added Alexa to its Fire TV streaming box and Fire TV stick.