The steampunk web series Riese, relaunching on SyFy.com within the next month, is getting even more cross-platform than before thanks to a iPhone/iPod touch game which will feature the voice of Felicia Day as the narrator.
Riese, originally an independent production with a budget of $200,000 and a cast drawn heavily from popular sci-fi properties like Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica and Smallville, has been offline since February 2010 because of a distribution deal with Fireworks International.
That will change by the end of this month, when SyFy, following its pick-up of the show last April, relaunches the series on SyFy.com. According to creator Ryan Copple, with whom I spoke via phone, the SyFy re-release of Riese will initially be geo-blocked as SyFy has an initial window of exclusivity. However, the series will go international shortly thereafter.
And it’s got a shiny new edit, thanks to Copple and his team collaborating with SyFy. “[The episodes] are so much better now — tight and quick. And Riese herself is much more captivating now,” Copple said about the re-edit. “It’s completely different now.”
No matter how much the episodes might change, Riese is still a transmedia experience, something that began even before the show’s launch, thanks to a puzzle-based game that revealed secrets about the mysterious religious cult at the heart of the show.
The iPhone game developed by the Vancouver-based Genius Factor Games — an RPG card-style battle game set to launch towards the end of the month — will take that even further thanks to Day’s narration. “We’ve been trying to make Riese go from a steampunk action show to steampunk fairy tale, and as part of that we’re trying to imbue the world with a narrator,” Copple said. The game play, thanks to Day’s voice-over, will thus be infused with more information about the world and people inhabited by Riese.
As for a potential TV adaptation, the Riese team has been talking with both SyFy as well as international broadcasters “interested in seeing how the web-to-TV development can work.” The Riese team is also in talks with a major publisher for a series of novels set in the kingdom of Eleysia.
This is all possible because Copple and co-creator Kaleena Kiff still hold the rights to their intellectual property, and thus have control over all potential franchising. “It’s the one thing to take away from the whole web studio thing,” Copple said. “We haven’t relied on anyone else yet, so why start now?”
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