Maps are an incredibly engaging way to help tell a story. Have you seen the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher yet? It is based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski (now a half-million copies are being reprinted to keep up with readers’ demand). It follows the exploits of a monster-hunter named Geralt of Rivia, played by Superman Henry Cavill. The first season jumps between three different timeliness (a technique inspired by the WWII movie Dunkirk), making it rather maddening to follow the chronology. Netflix knows this and has graciously created a delightful interactive fantasy map to help you sort things out.
The Witcher’s Map of the Continent website is a perfect example of how to bring different media together to create a compelling storytelling experience. The site uses subtle and smart UI animations to engage users, and give them the information they need to better understand the order of events. It borrows from well-known everyday elements (like Google Maps) to ensure an intuitive and vastly enjoyable experience. Click on the timeline ribbon at the bottom (or drag the marker left or right to follow the timeline) and the map window moves around to the exact location of the action. The corresponding location lights up along with a pop-up card that offers a character photo and a brief explanation of the event and which episode it occurs in. There are cool weather effects too.
Oh, and if you’re a rabid fan wanting more, The Witcher has been renewed for a second season launching in 2021.