Late Shift is an all live-action crime thriller with over 180 decision points. Each results in consequences that carry through to one of seven endings.
Matt is a student who is forced to commit a brutal auction house robbery in London. You control events as he embarks on a vicious and violent journey to prove his innocence in a choose-your-own-adventure cinematic experience that blends movies, games and interactive storytelling. There are no pauses or looping footage. You must make decisions in a matter of seconds.
Developed by CtrlMovie and published by Wales Interactive, Late Shift was filmed in full HD in London at a shooting budget of $1.5 million. It was directed by Tobias Weber and co-written by Michael R. Johnson (one of the screenwriters of Guy Richie's 2009 movie Sherlock Holmes).
Johnson has commented: There are two aspects of ‘Late Shift’ that really drew me to the project. The first is the idea of a truly interactive film. It’s been attempted before with limited degrees of success, but what I feel puts ‘Late Shift’ ahead of the pack is bringing the player into the experience in a very intuitive way. I like the fact that rather than saddling the viewer with a series of arbitrary “go left” or “go right” choices, ‘Late Shift’ instead puts you into the shoes of an actual character - Matt - and the decision-making process always draws on Matt’s ongoing experiences and train-of-thought. You feel that each separate decision is weighted with careful consideration and the possibility of multiple consequences, good or bad.
Which leads onto the second aspect of ‘Late Shift’ that really appealed to me: the fact that although there are any number of possible paths through the story, involving different characters and locations, the outcomes of each are strongly influenced by the morality of the viewer’s decisions. How you choose to interact with other human beings has a cumulative effect on how they decide to treat you, and how that impacts on your own fortunes as the story progresses. If Matt treats people with respect, they will tend to treat him with respect, and vice versa. But that’s not to say that ‘Late Shift’ forces the viewer to be moral against their will. Quite the opposite. The viewer is free to interact in whatever way they see fit, ethical or otherwise. It’s just I like very much the fact that - unlike many console games - you cannot simply crash through the story with impunity and not at some point be faced with the consequences of your own actions. Just like in life.