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Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego sets Bandersnatch-style choose your own adventure

By Benjamin Bullard
Carmen Sandiego in To Steal or Not to Steal on Netflix

It worked for Black Mirror, so why wouldn’t it work for a lighter animated story — one that already has its roots in video games? Netflix has just debuted a new teaser for an upcoming choose-your-adventure story set in Carmen Sandiego’s globe-trekking universe. And just like its darker cousin, your choices will affect the outcome (though we’re betting those multiple endings are happier).

All but assuring the same kind of repeated watch-throughs (or should we call them play-throughs?) that Bandersnatch enjoyed on its way to an Emmy Award last year, the new interactive adventure features the same kind of forking paths and “what will you choose?” moments that helped elevate the Black Mirror standalone special to something greater than just a one-off novelty act. 

Check it out below:

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal finds our sneaky explorer in the streets of Shanghai, trying to make the right choices to free Zack and Ivy from the clutches of V.I.L.E. (the Villains International League of Evil) after they’re captured during a heist. The interactive way of moving the story forward harkens to Carmen Sandiego’s old-school gaming DNA. You can go covert (risky), or take the fight straight to the bad guys (risky and dangerous) — but, as Netflix promises, the choice is yours.

Bandersnatch’s success with both fans and critics means Carmen Sandiego isn’t the only place we’re likely to see more stories that merge pre-scripted content with viewer input. Netflix is even billing To Steal or Not to Steal as an “interactive game” rather than a sit-back-and-watch TV show, and already had teased more choose-your-adventure style programming once Bandersnatch took off with audiences. 

We’ll get our next taste of participating in the action when Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal premieres on Netflix beginning March 10.