In “A Heist With Markiplier,” viewers take the perspective of Markiplier (real name: Mark Fischbach) and make life-or-death decisions about what to do next at key points in the story. The first-person branching narrative storyline has 31 possible endings in all, with the entire production encompassing 61 videos.
Markiplier is known on YouTube for his gameplay videos, generally sticking to the horror genre. Mark has also done other short sketches and full length self made features on YouTube, so this is not entirely new territory for him… Full disclosure, Mark is in my top five favorite YouTubers that I watch on a nightly basis for nearly four years now. I have been looking forward to this for a long time.
So, my wife and I sat down very shortly after the release and spent time throughout the day watching/playing this adventure with Mark, and in short, we bad a fantastic time! One thing we both expressed was that we were unsure if it was going to be serious or funny, and I gotta tell ya, its hilarious. Markiplier is often funny in his YouTube videos, but he has expressed a lot of interest in moving into film, with some of his short film on his channel being on the more serious side. I would have had no problem with that, but I’m very happy he went goofy and nonsensical with this.
From the very beginning when Mark falls from the ceiling and starts talking to you, you know what kind of humor you are in for. I found myself laughing at his over the top physical and facial comedy all the time, which really helped the fact that you see this footage countless times as you keep restarting the story to get new endings. Endings and stories that went in completely different directions that I, or anybody for that matter, saw coming. For a goofy comedy though, I also found myself very involved in all the decisions, often caught so in between the two that I had to leave it up to chance… This concept of interactive stories is being slowly rolled out. Some experiments have worked really well (Black Mirror) while others have failed (Bear Grylls). But, this is the first real effort in comedy in that direction, and the first interactive on YouTube. They trusted Mark with that and I beleive they made the right decision. His goofy antics could have made or broke this, but it all came together very nicely.
The only gripe I could possibly have is that there is never really any clues as to what the right thing to do is in order to get a “good” ending. It’s all kind of random. Saying that though, I’m not all too bothered since I’m not watching/playing to win, but be entertained and laugh, and in that aspect it succeeded over and over again. Good job!