First announced last fall when its video building unit was released, Galahad is a turnkey proprietary content distribution system and multimedia storytelling platform designed to support, coordinate and monetize sprawling transmedia events that utilize multiple content platforms. Designed by The Shadow Gang, an interactive entertainment studio, Galahad is now being released in its full form along with Umbrella Sword, an original multiplatform transmedia game and mystery narrative created by The Shadow Gang that is also intended to show off Galahad’s functionality.
Galahad was originally announced at the StoryWorld Conference + Expo in Los Angeles last October, releasing its video platform. Now The Shadow Gang has released the full version of Galahad that now includes social media component as well as an online store. The new version is said to allow Transmedia producers to more easily bring together a broad variety of media platfroms—from video channels, web sites, books, comics and videogames to cell phone calls, text messages, social media, apps and e-commerce—using Galahad to organize and display content and track consumer behavior (from time spent on the game to purchases and more) as users engage in a complex storytelling event. The full transmedia event and e-commerce are also accessible via mobile devices.
The software platform was originally designed in 2011 during the production of GoBrzk, a transmedia project designed to generate interest in Michael Grant’s thriller series, Brzk. The campaign used a series of connected videos, web sites, Twitter and Facebook accounts to craft an interactive story about a mysterious organization and lure consumers to play a complex game/narrative event based on the events of Grant’s Book. The platform is said to be a more economical platform for organizing complex interactive narrative events as well as offering more control over everything from content to consumer behavior.
Umbrella Sword is a mysterious online game/narrative designed to make use of all Galahads functionality. The site features an online store that allows consumers/gamers to buy apparel, books and comics based on the story, as well as buy clues to the mystery, redeem rewards from the game and much more. Alex LeMay, CEO of Shadow Gang, described Umbrella Sword as “a practical way to build Galahad,” and said Umbrella Sword “is the beginning of a commercial project.”
Much Like the GoBrzk campaign, Umbrella Sword, written by LeMay and TV writer Thomas Lemmer, starts with a “resounding whisper,” LeMay said. The Shadow Gang uses social media or e-mail to send cryptic messages to a targeted audience. The messages take users to a video about a crime involving a missing couple and secret organization. Users are sent to the Umbrella Sword site where they are asked to take a “personality test”—“people are more likely to register for the game if they get a short taste of what’s in store,” said LeMay—outlining the beginnings of the mystery.
From there users are given missions that can take them to variety of Web sites, Facebook pages and YouTube video sequences that drag them deeper into the narrative sending them to the sites of book publishers, media companies and other institutions supposedly a part of the vast conspiracy. Users can make cell phone calls that are part of the narrative, upload “evidence” and a kind of “choose your own adventure” adds an element of choice for gamers. “We give the players tools to have some say in the story sequence,” LeMay said, noting that the game offers analytical information on its users: the average time of beta testing players on the game has been from about an 1 ½ hours to 3 hours.
LeMay explained that in future uses of Galahad many of the fictitious firms can be branded real corporations, while also doubling as sponsors. The Shadow Gang plans to license Galahad to transmedia producers. LeMay described Galahad as a “giant media eco-system that allows brands to be publishers and turns the web into a new source of original content.”