The New York Times is reporting that network ABC has announced the upcoming launch of an interactive multi-platform game called The Lost Experience, which will begin in May. The game is described as "a multimedia treasure hunt that makes use of e-mail messages, phone calls, commercials, billboards and fake Web sites that are made to seem real."
The Lost Experience will launch a new storyline--while remaining consistent with Lost's ongoing mythology--that focuses on the mysterious Hanso Foundation and its relationship to the island's shadowy Dharma Initiative. It won't be necessary for players to have watched Lost prior to playing, but given the show's twisty plots and subliminal clues, it would certainly help. (Understatement of the century.) Additionally, it may become necessary for players to team up online in order to solve a number of the game's clues.
The idea for the interactive game came about at a lunch attended by Lost writer/executive producer Carlton Cuse, fellow writer/executive producer Damon Lindelof, and Michael Benson, an ABC executive, where they devised the concept of the Lost Experience. (Typically, these types of games are usually devised by marketing execs and not by a show's creators.) As Cuse told the New York Times:
"We wanted to tell stories in a nontraditional way, and there were certain stories that Damon [Lindelof] and I were interested in telling that don't exactly fit into the television show... We purposely design the show with a big amount of ambiguity so people can theorize about what a certain scene means. This allows the fans to participate in the process of discovery."
The game's first clue will make its appearance during the May 3rd episode of Lost. But be careful; you might blink and miss it. (UPDATE: E! Online is reporting that the initial clue is a toll-free number that players will have to call.)
Lastly, Cuse had this hint for viewers: "Watch the May 3rd episode very carefully. You can TiVo it, but don't skip the commercials."Believe me, I won't.