By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire October 4, 2013 at 9:30AM
What exactly is "Cloud Chamber?" Its creators describe it as a collaborative experience and a premium online mystery that is part alternate reality game, part film, part social network. Players are asked to work together via a single web portal to uncover the story of a young scientist who risked her sanity and betrayed her father in order to "save humanity from its most dangerous enemy: itself." Using "found footage" across a variety of media, players navigate, collaborate and interact in order to discover the truth. That sounds intriguing, but doesn't exactly answer the question of what it is.
Christian Fonnesbech and Frederik Ovlisen presented clips from "Cloud Chamber" last week as part of the New York Film Festival's Convergence section and described "Cloud Chamber" as "fiction for the Facebook generation - part social filmed mystery and part game."
Funded by the Danish Film Institute, the project ostensibly seems to fit into the sub-genre of "Nordic Noir," but Fonnesbech said that's not the case. He told Indiewire, "Our film team worked on the original 'The Killing,' and we have the same Nordic mystery feel. But this isn't Nordic Noir: this is Science Noir."
Still, one of the biggest challenges they've faced is explaining what exactly "Cloud Chamber" is -- a problem facing many experimental transmedia projects.
When a Facebook fan asked "What is it?" The creators responded: "Cloud
Chamber is an online experience mixing movies, games and social. It's a new kind of mystery - about our place in the universe, love and
Of course, it could be categorized as a game, but that's not quite right either, according to Fonnesbech. "It's not really a game - it's more like a many-layered story that you explore and discuss with the others. The game play is about navigation and socializing, not solving puzzles. There are no 'puzzle gates' that can stop you - if you spend time here, you will progress. We bring everything together on a single site, with a single interface (no jumping from site to site). And it is premium - the first three parts are free, and if you like what you see, we ask you to pay for the rest."
On the Cloud Chamber web site, it is described as "an investigative journey exploring the greatest mystery
known to mankind: Our place in the universe and our destiny as a
species." Whatever you want to call it, "Cloud Chamber" has the production values of a feature film and marks and impressive and intriguing debut.
Though it will only be marketed in its native Denmark, the English-language "Cloud Chamber" will be accessible internationally when it launches today.
Check out the first installment of "Cloud Chamber" below: