‘Ashfall’: TikTok reverse engineers new Liithos online game

Whether it’s successful TV present like HBO’s “The Last of Us” or an interactive theme park land like Universal Studios’ Super Nintendo World, video video games are ripe for adaptation and reinterpretation.

But what if the sport isn’t established IP? What if the sport hasn’t even been launched but?

With “Ashfall,” Liithos CEO and founder Michael Mumbauer and VP of inventive John Garvin (who wrote and created the sport) are banking on their characters and immersive world being robust sufficient to attract followers earlier than any game-play. First, by means of a five-episode TikTok present that ends this Sunday, then with a comic book ebook that can launch in March. All this comes years earlier than the sport can be accomplished.

“Ashfall” explores a post-apocalyptic world set within the Pacific Northwest, the place Seattle has been submerged within the ocean for lots of of years. Climate disaster has modified the world and civilization has devolved into factions and enclaves. At the foot of erupting Mount Rainier, Ash Naranjo is taken by the Order of Life Science, who give him prosthetic arms and different implants.

After every “Ashfall” TikTok episode, Liithos launched a novel free digital collectible accessible solely by means of CoinZoom.

(Courtesy of Liithos Entertainment)

“For my last game, I literally wrote about 12,000 pages of script,” says Garvin. “That’s like the equivalent of 10 two-hour movies, and that’s really what you need to fill up a game. You need lots of the same thing you need in any medium — plot, character development, theme. You’ve got to have something important to say.”

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With themes of local weather change, ideological and political preventing, the mistreatment of individuals with disabilities and the final erosion of society, “Ashfall” touches on modern themes that will not be obvious on the floor.

“What I really want to do with ‘Ashfall’ is explore things that are important that are happening now. It’s set a thousand years in the future so that we can get some distance on the things that I see are tearing us apart in the world today. They’re fighting across every possible thing that people can disagree on. Ideological grounds, religious grounds. I see that that could be in our future — which terrifies me.”

Mumbauer says he’s invested in exploring new storytelling platforms. A online game and movie trade veteran, he and his crew dropped at life in style characters like Nathan Drake from “Uncharted” and Joel and Ellie from “The Last of Us.” After working for PlayStation for 13 years, he is aware of the sport world and the right way to get gamers to attach. Now, the problem is the right way to make that occur with out having an precise sport to play.

The first episode of the TikTok sequence “Ashfall,” starring Michael Le.

“I look at challenges and say, ‘TikTok is such a massive platform and it feels like it’s such an opportunity platform for telling stories,’” says Mumbauer. “What if there was a way to do what Quibi tried to do, which is short-form storytelling, on a platform which already has an audience that’s ready for it? And what if we did it with an influencer who already understands how to do it?”

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Mumbauer enlisted Michael Le (who makes use of the deal with @justmaiko), a social media influencer, dancer and storyteller with greater than 52 million TikTok followers, to assist create, with Garvin, a five-episode narrative sequence debuting weekly on Le’s channel. The Liithos exec was already a fan of the TikToker whose posts have generated hundreds of thousands of views, whether or not it’s by means of his dance movies using high-quality particular results or his anime-inspired content material.

“I think it was experimental and we were already writing the comic book,” Mumbauer says. “It felt like the natural way to position the comic adjacent to this because the game is gonna take years. So it felt like, ‘What if we try to build this IP slightly in reverse. Even though we have a gaming background, what if we didn’t start with gaming, but we landed on it?’”

The experimental gambit appears to have labored. The sequence has drawn greater than 10 million views to date, earlier than the final chapter drops on Sunday. In creating it for TikTok, Mumbauer toned down his conventional movie and online game results and Garvin whittled down his ideas to bang out one-and-a-half-page scripts for the episodes.

“My thought process was give them all the meat and cut out every part of the fat. It’s 15 seconds. It’s quick and snappy. It’s very ‘get straight to the point,’” says Le. “It was really just how can I adapt myself into the story. It kind of blends what I typically do on TikTok with the world of ‘Ashfall.’ I turn into him … I’m learning to use these powers that Ash has, and then trying to find my brother.”

Liithos celebrated each "Ashfall" Tik Tok episode by releasing a unique free digital collectible.

TikTok sequence “Ashfall” has drawn greater than 10 million views to date, earlier than the final chapter drops on Sunday.

(Liithos Entertainment)

Now that Le has established a search for Ash and his world, the comedian ebook will must comply with. Right? With mental property, the traditional pondering is to cross-promote every part to ascertain a visible presence. But even that a part of the world-building for “Ashfall” is being achieved in an unconventional method due to their reverse philosophy.

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“I had to pitch to John: What if you look at this character like it’s already been in the world for 75 years? In ‘Batman,’ over 75 years, Batman has had a lot of different looks. What is the same is the ears, the sigil and the cowl. What you see in the TikTok series isn’t necessarily what you’ll see in the comic book series, which isn’t necessarily what you’ll see in the game. There will be subtle nuances, but the core pieces are there, and that’s what I think makes an iconic character,” says Mumbauer.

“For artistic interpretation and being transmedia, I think there’s a huge opportunity to reach different audiences. Somebody might not have my taste in art. So maybe the TikTok video will really get them excited about this in a way that the comic won’t or even the game footage.”