Transmedia storytelling uses multiple media platforms tell a narrative across time. Each media piece—whether it’s a comic, novels, video games, mobile apps, or a film—functions as a standalone story experience—complete and satisfying. Like a giant puzzle, each piece also contributes to a larger narrative. The process is cumulative and each piece adds richness and detail to the story world, such as character backstories and secondary plotlines.
Transmedia storytelling is fully participatory. The audience becomes actively involved, elevated to social and creative collaborators. They become stakeholders in the transmedia experience alongside the brand or cause. The unfolding story design creates the motivation to engage with other participants, seek out other parts of the story, and contribute to the narrative by adding content. Transmedia stories can be simple, across a few low-tech media platforms or break down the barriers between the story and reality by bringing the narrative out into the real world, in the form of complex and exciting alternative reality games (ARGs), where participants engage with narrative elements and characters using real world locations as part of the storyworld.