Toronto-based digital boutique Secret Location has launched a massive, ground breaking immersive multi-player online role playing game to support new TV series I Prophesy.
The TV Show:
I Prophesy, which launched on January 27th on Vision TV, is a 17-part series looking at potential futures for humanity. Each episode focuses on different scenarios: the world after a nuclear attack, asteroid showers or rising oceans, as well as more positive developments including the rise of nanotechnology and utopian societies.
Concepted, designed and built over a year by Secret Location, www.iprophesy.net is the first MMORPG to be created for a TV show or brand, tapping into the exploding popularity of both online multi-player gaming and social media.
Iprophesy.net acts as a complementary integrated extension and traffic driver for the show which creates a more impactful, deeper experience, yet adds an interactive, social networking component. Fans of the show create custom avatars and explore 13 `worlds’ modeled on the scenarios. Each world contains games, clips from the show as well as original stylish filmed content.
The worlds act as a vividly realized logical next step in online forums (think Second Life with more purpose), avatars are encouraged to chat and collaborate with other players in real time to solve games and puzzles. Forum posts from an external RSS feed on the website are part of the game play, appearing at the top of each world.
Points are generated through online interaction, answering various questions and exploring multiple worlds. Each week during the show, a winner and special survival pack prize are awarded. In addition, both the website and TV show have been aggressively promoted through search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and social media channels, with writers employed to build grass roots buzz in topic and demographic specific online forums.
“The broadcaster didn’t give us a traditional brief, instead they brought us in for a meeting and discussed what they wanted this show to do for their network,” explains Secret Location Founder and Creative Director James Milward. “Joan Jenkinson, head of original programming at Vision TV wanted to create an original way for fans to be able to connect and discuss the topics and issues related in the episodes. They wanted to create a unique community around the subject matter and to expand their audience to a younger demographic. We came back to the network with the idea and they loved it. We went into development with them that day.”
A New Marketing Model for TV:
The site offers a blueprint for an innovative new marketing tool for TV executives trying to encourage viewers to interact with their programming offline.
Simultaneously the site offers the tantalizing, entrepreneurial proposition for digital production companies looking to monetize their creations beyond the work-for-hire model. Because Secret Location owns the iprophesy.net property and engine, they are able to license the show rights to the network as well as charge for advertising within the game.
“The game was designed specially to integrate sponsorship,” comments Milward. “Sponsors can “clothe” avatars, say with Nike sneakers, or create contextual advertising within specially created positions, instead of obtrusive banners or pre-roll. The site can also be quickly re-skinned to suit any brand or TV show’s particular requirements.”
About Secret Location:
Secret Location is a creative digital production studio that delivers engaging experiences and products to increase brand experience and audience relationships. Secret Location’s mission is to produce highly inventive integrated creative solutions for advertising agencies, broadcasters and third-party film and television producers. Secret Location works in tandem with independent TV production companies to create content across multiple media platforms and create innovate creative and business solutions. www.secretlocation.com
Digital Studio: Secret Location, Toronto
Creative Director/EP: James Milward
Creative Director: Warren Brown
Lead Designer: Pietro Gagliano
Technical Director: Mark McQuillan
Project Manager: Noora Abu Eitah
Flash Development: Denis Kartashevskiy + Jam3 Media
System Design: Tony Walsh and Phantom Compass
Cinematic Direction: Michael Leach
Matte Paintings: Amro Attia, Keith Lee
Editing and Compositing: Steve Miller
3D: Anthony Murray, Dan Power, Svetlana Bogdanovich, Javier Felipe Castellanos