The American TV series Dexter is now on its sixth season and is based on the books by Jeff Lindsay. The plot is about Dexter, the serial killer who works as a bloodstain analyst with FBI in Miami. He kills people based on a code and generally hunts the “bad guys”. The show is hugely popular and for the premiere of the fifth season in 2010, Showtime hired the creative agency Modernista to create a new exciting way of promoting it. What they came up with was a complex and interactive transmedia game where the audience were involved in finding a serial killer on the loose.
It all begun with a bloody live murder scene at the Comic-Con expo in 2010 where all the participants could witness first hand the work of the so-called Infinity killer. At the location people were directed to the website of an FBI agent called Dee (serialhuntress) where she explained her new crowd sourced investigation method, Justice by all. Through Dee’s video blogs and written material people all over the world collected clues and discussed the murders on forums. This provided a perfect start for Dexter fans since it was a puzzle to be solved and the concept of the series is to solve murders and serial killers. It triggered a mass hunt for the Infinity killer and people soon discovered another website through the clues (sleepsuberbly.com) where they met a character called F8 and his twitter page which he updated with cryptic messages.
The whole design and concept of this transmedia game is very well executed and fits perfectly with the Dexter “vibe”. It had so many twists and turns and in an interview the agency Modernista even said that the people creating one website had no idea about the connection to the others which meant the game was kept “real” and surprising. Throughout the hunt people were constantly directed to different twitter accounts and had to create their own video blogs and material to release new clues.
This transmedia project was spread over most available platforms with numerous websites, twitter accounts, video clips, blogs and real life experience. It even showed the symbol of the Infinity killer in the actual Dexter series on the corner of a door, leading people to believe that maybe this wasn’t the end. As an experience for the audience I think it was very intriguing and interesting to be a part of it from the beginning but if you discovered it later on you might not have been able to engage as much. The finale was the confrontation between Dee and F8 where the audience by live streaming and voting chose who lived and who died. It was Justice by all and the infinity killer was killed, although afterwards some cryptic message was sent on his twitter page. This project has been future proofed in a sense that they left the ending open, did the killer really die or not? People are still engaging on the forums and if they were to begin a new hunt the basis would already be there.