Just in time for this week’s premiere of Laika’s and Annapurna’s new stop-motion comedy “Missing Link,” United Artists Releasing and digital agency Isobar have launched a new Alexa skill that lets kids and their parents join the protagonists of the movie in a series of goofy adventures.
The “Missing Link Adventures” skill, which is now available for Amazon Echo speakers, Echo Show displays, Fire TVs and other devices with Alexa support, gives users a chance to participate in 6 treasure hunts in their own home, complete with spontaneous exercises, riddles and back-and-forth banter between the movie’s main characters.
Altogether, the skill offers a total of 1.5 hours of interactive audio content, starring the movie’s main characters including Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) and Adelina (Zoe Saldana). That participation was key to keeping participants engaged with the skill, said Isobar’s chief creative officer Ricardo Salema. “We don’t use the Alexa voice,” he explained. “We use the character voices for the film itself.”
The three characters invite children and their parents to identify and find everyday objects in their households that take on a second life as fantastical creatures. Intertwined with these treasure hunts are physical challenges, encouraging children to slither around on the floor, and more. “(They are) not just sitting in a chair having a conversation with Alexa,” promised Salema.
The Isobar team also wanted to make sure that kids can interact with the skill at their own pace. That’s why they made sure that it enabled continuous play over multiple sessions. “It picks up exactly where you left off,” said Salema.
Right now, there are no plans to add more content to the “Missing Link Adventures” skill, but Salema said that skills like these could conceivably be used by studios to bridge the gap between the release of a movie and upcoming sequels. “It’s an exciting way to get people inside of a story,” he said.
Salema also said that he expected skills like this to make more use of artificial intelligence in the coming years, as voice assistants like Alexa become more powerful. “We are entering what we call the age of conversation,” he said. Smarter artificial intelligence could soon allow users to have truly interactive conversations with movie characters beyond today’s scripted narratives. Said Salema: “We are inventing the future as we go.”