×

‘Missing Link’ Gets Alexa Skill With Interactive Audio Adventure (EXCLUSIVE)

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.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Ashley Flowers - Crime Junkie

    'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations

    Ashley Flowers, creator and host of “Crime Junkie” — currently the No. 1 true-crime podcast — has been accused of using material in her show from multiple sources without credit. In a statement sent to Variety, Flowers said in part, “we recently made the decision to pull down several episodes from our main feed when their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content