The Shadow Gang, an interactive entertainment studio, announced plans at the StoryWorld Conference + Expo in Los Angeles to launch Galahad, a multi-platform, multimedia content distribution engine designed to produce and support a new generation of transmedia projects. Designed over the course of creating GoBzrk, a prepublication transmedia project designed to generate interest in writer Michael Grant’s book series, Galahad is said to offer a simplified and economical technology platform for the production of complex interactive narrative events in a variety of media.
Galahad will launch first with an “immersive video builder,” a content platform that allows producers to generate interactive video narratives, sequencing film content in a way that viewers can effect the outcome. Galahad was developed over the course of developing GoBrzk, a complex transmedia promotional event launched in 2011 for Egmont Publishing, that evolved over the course of six months, creating a complex narrative around the characters and events in Michael Grants’s thriller Bzrk. The transmedia campaign used Facebook and Twitter accounts, video narratives, comics, websites, videogames and mobile device access to create an online world that mimicked and expanded on the events of the novel.
In a phone interview, Shadow Gang CEO Alex LeMay, said the GoBzrk multimedia effort attracted hundreds of thousands of unique visits, page and video views in online sites, generating prepub interest in the book series. At the same time, he said, “I learned a lot about what stuck and what didn’t and we got a lot of data.” LeMay said the original GoBrzk campaign was built on “seven different platforms with 30 vendors and many different authoring tools, it was a dragon. So we asked ourselves if there was a better way.”
The result, LeMay said, is Galahad, “a turn-key” platform that allows producers to efficiently manage complex and connected narrative story worlds. LeMay said the “base” cost of using the system is “available on request” but emphasized that it is economical for producer/publishers and “blows away the price point on anything comparable. It’s a turn-key solution, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to run it but for additional fees we also offer add-on services for strategy, training and production expertise.” LeMay said content created by Fourth Wall Studios, another transmedia content producer, has technology comparable to Galahad but he claims Galahad is easier to use (it has a 1-page FAQ) and it “offers a more comprehensive experience.”
While Galahad is launching the video builder first, LeMay emphasized that going forward the platform can generate all kinds of connected storytelling media, including connected videos, interactive comics and generate new distribution channels and revenue, while offering a point/reward system for fans and capturing data about their behavior online. “Players in the system can accrue points,” LeMay said, “the platform rewards you for everything, even posting comments on message boards or uploading user content on project sites.” The process is critical, LeMay said, to creating story worlds that can also offer e-commerce options to fans through redeeming points (or through credit card purchases) for upgrades, merchandise or “offering consumers a voucher for a 20% discount on the book,” LeMay said.
“GoBzrk turned gamers into readers,” LeMay said, noting that the second volume of the book series comes out in 2013, “Galahad will help publishers create, socialize and monetize their story worlds.” He continued, noting that “YA and sci-fi create massive universes that can be turned into games and using Galahad this can all live together in harmony and a variety of media can cross pollinize one another. Stuff that we wanted to do 10 years ago can now be done easily.”