In the past few years there have been a number of theories emerge in media, film,
television, narrative and game studies that detail the rise of what has been variously
described as transmedia, cross-media and distributed phenomena. Fundamentally, the
phenomenon involves the employment of multiple media platforms for expressing a
fictional world. To date, theorists have focused on this phenomenon in mass
entertainment, independent arts or gaming; and so, consequently the global, transartistic
and transhistorical nature of the phenomenon has remained somewhat unrecognised.
Theorists have also predominantly defined it according to end-point characteristics.such
as the .expansion. trait (a story continues across media). This has resulted in the
phenomenon being obscured amongst similar phenomena. Therefore, rather than
investigate the phenomenon as it occurs in isolated artistic sectors and with an end-point
characteristic, this thesis investigates all of these emergences through the lens of
transmedia practice. That is, this thesis investigates the nature of transmedia practice in
general, according to the way practitioners conceive and design a fictional world to be
expressed across distinct media and environments.
To do this, this thesis draws on the semiotic theory of .multimodality. and .domains of
practice. (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001) to illuminate the unique knowledge and skills
of practitioners involved in the design of transmedia projects. The industrial and aesthetic
implications of the employment of distinct media are discussed, along with their semiotic
activation. Related theories such as .hypertextuality. and .transfictionality. are
problematised in light of transmedia phenomena. Since the phenomenon involves both
narrative and game modes, a new methodology is introduced to study their presence at
various stages of design: transmodality.
The employment of the actual world in
transmedia practices is discussed in light of Aristotle.s .dramatic unities. and through
.deictic shift theory.. Through research questions from media, narrative and game studies
as well as semiotics, this thesis aims to explain how transmedia is a peculiar practice that
demands its own research area and methodologies.