Samantha Schäfer

As a new field of study and practice, most existing research in transmedia storytelling, a convergent media strategy where the overall narrative is spread across different media, has focused on the phenomenon itself and the role of the core narrative media, film, literature and television. The role of computer games has so far been largely neglected, partly because they are typically considered part of the story world for individual exploration rather than essential to the transmedia narrative. In this research, I address this neglect, focusing on the different roles computer games play in transmedia storytelling by analysing three case studies that represent transmedia storytelling differently depending on the importance of the computer game(s) in the project’s media hierarchy: The Matrix (1999-2003), The Walking Dead (2003-present), and Assassin’s Creed (2007-present). By incorporating narratological and empirical approaches, I wish to establish a framework for the analysis of the complex relationships in transmedia storytelling and gain insights into audience cultures and their media literacy, focusing on the projects themselves (what and how computer games contribute to the narrative and world-building processes, and what the transmedia storytelling framework contributes to the games), the effect of transmedia storytelling on consumers, and the status of transmedia storytelling in the contemporary media landscape.