AI-driven story platform Scriptic wants to be the ‘Roblox for narrative’


UK studio Scriptic will open out its interactive storytelling platform to creators early next year as it aims to become the ‘Roblox for narrative’, says CEO Nihal Tharoor.

The developer has spent the last few years streamlining the production of its own interactive stories using AI tools like Dall·e, Midjourney, Runway, Chat GPT and And it is now working on launching a set of AI-powered creator tools to allow players to make their own stories early next year.

Once known as Electric Noir, the firm first grabbed attention with edgy interactive narrative Dead Man’s Phone. It has since rebranded as Scriptic to become a hub app for similar types of ‘lost phone’ games and interactive stories. Scriptic has also recently been picked up by Netflix and added to its growing catalogue.

Scriptic has now raised a total of $8.2m to build out the platform further, following a new $5.7m round of funding led by Bitkraft with participation from Tower 26 and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

And AI is at the centre of its plans. CEO Nihal Tharoor tells us his team has been playing around with AI tools since 2021 to bring its hefty production costs down. “Scriptic stories are not like Episodes or Choices where it’s easy to create animated content,” he says.

“We’re live action so you have to go out and do a shoot, find actors and all of the things that come along with being a live action experience. So from very early on, we really bet on synthetic media and generative AI. These tools have transformed since we started using them in 2021, even in the last six months – I mean, it’s profound.”

The Scriptic team has used Dall·e for image generation in interactive stories Dead Man’s Phone, and for horror tale Dark Mode is used and ChatGPT to generate voice and text. In You Be The Judge, the team used ElevenLabs’ text-to-speech tools plus Midjourney and Runway for image generation.

Scriptic’s creative teams are using multiple text, audio and image-based AI tools to create stories in the app.

Tharoor is also keen to stress that Scriptic’s use of AI isn’t replacing designers and artists – rather, it is a powerful tool at their disposal. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the content team are prompt engineers – they’re very talented creators, writers, people who’ve written BBC shows, Channel Four shows,” he says. “They’re storytellers that have started to develop and hone this new discipline of prompt engineering.”

Previously, a new Scriptic story meant heavy investment in a live-action shoot; with canny use of AI tools “that is completely transformed,” says Tharoor.

“For example, we launched this AI horror anthology called Dark Mode. To capture all the media that features in that series would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars if we were doing it as a straight live action production shoot,” he says.

“And actually, all the media that features in that series is equal to about $10. That’s not to say that it costs us $10 to make, obviously – there’s all these other elements that go into it with the content team and dev team. I’m talking about specifically the media production.”

Tharoor estimates that AI tools have effectively eliminated the tens of thousands it previously cost to create a live action Scriptic story.

Generative AI tools have also helped creatively as well, says Tharoor. “With Dark Mode, the kind of monsters that the AI was coming out with we couldn’t even dream of… like, we wouldn’t be able to brief a costume designer to actually create this stuff because it’s so wild. And in a way it made the experience more immersive and more terrifying.”

Tharoor is aware of Steam’s recent crackdown on AI-generated games, and says he is keeping track of the complex rights issues that are being thrown up in this space. “I mean, we have all the development licences and the business licences with these AI tools, and our legal counsel is always staying on top of them…and we don’t use copyrighted materials to produce content,” he affirms.

“We’ve had these conversations with the platform holders and shared that diligence – but you know, it’s an evolving space.”

Courtroom drama You Be The Judge was produced using ElevenLabs’ text to speech tools, ChatGPT, Midjourney and Runway.

Where AI use could get problematic is if creators start flooding the stores with questionably-sourced game content. Tharoor and Scriptic are not in that business, he says. “I think it’s about organic human curation rather than just putting something into a black box and then just shoving it out on Steam, you know? It has to have that craft, an artistry. That will always have value for players and for creators.”

That creator-led approach extends to the addition of AI-powered UGC tools into Scriptic, coming next year. “Our plan is to onboard about 50 to 100 builders from successful first generation storytelling platforms – Wattpad, Radish Fiction – and get them using our creator tools.”

Then, once that UGC ‘soft launch’ is done, the AI-powered tools will be opened out to everyone. “I think the huge opportunity is that in the future anyone can be building a live action, interactive drama with a whole cast of characters from their bedroom.”

“For us that’s a real generational opportunity, and not something we’ve seen at the intersection of film, TV and games yet,” adds Tharoor. “That’s really our long term vision – the Roblox for narrative.”

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