It’s a good day to be a Guild fan; the show has been officially picked up for a fifth season, which will run on Xbox Live, MSN Video and the Zune Marketplace thanks to Microsoft and Sprint, the show’s sponsors since Season 2.
The Guild, in case you’re new, is the long-running series about a pack of socially awkward MMORPG addicts, created by Felicia Day and produced by Kim Evey. Launched independently in July 2007, the show has received over 100 million views (according to an official release) and attracted a worldwide fan base that fills convention halls.
I mention the convention thing because, as promised at the end of Season 4, the action of Season 5 will involve the characters attending a convention for the unnamed game they play. According to Evey, to handle this production requirement they’re not only considering shooting certain scenes at a small convention, but working with additional brands.
“We haven’t really had success with brand integration aside from Microsoft and Sprint, who help us make sure their brands are visible but not obnoxious,” Evey said via phone. “But the brands that we need now are brands which would sell their wares at a convention like this, and are willing to be in our show.”
Season 5 may also require some featured players who are cosplayers — preferably, people who cosplay original characters as opposed to copyrighted ones. “We’re going to reach out to that community to see if they’ll come down and be a part of the show for a day,” Evey said.
The regular cast will be returning, as well as Sean Becker as director. Shooting is set to begin in late spring, with production running, according to Day’s estimation, a few weeks behind last year’s schedule — thus, look for the show to premiere in late July or early August.
Evey was unable to say if there would be a new music video this year to follow in the tradition of Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? and Game On — in part, she says, because they’re “a ton of work to put together in the space between production and Comic-Con [where they've premiered each year].”
“It’s still a challenge, because we’re still a web series, we still have to ask our friends for help, still have to ask for discounts on things. For everything [Day] writes that we want to try to accomplish, it’s still kind of impossible without that help,” Evey said. “We’re learning every year how to stretch our budget further and further.”
Meanwhile, the audience for the show is growing, especially as new distribution platforms are added every year. Season 4 will soon be available on Netflix Instant, and the DVD will be released on Feb. 22, thanks to a distribution deal with New Video.
“We’re lucky that we have such an eager fanbase and that our numbers have stayed so high,” Day said via phone. “Partnering with Xbox increased our fanbase in a real way — it introduced us to millions of people who never would have seen it before.”
However, The Guild is by far not the only project Day has going on — she will be guest-starring on the SyFy series Eureka when it returns from hiatus, starred in a SyFy original werewolf movie and recently completed shooting an upcoming project, dubbed #mysteryproject on her Twitter feed, that will be announced next week.
Do all these projects mean this could be the last season of the show? While nothing is set in stone, as Day writes Season 5 (the entire season is written at once, she says, much like a feature film) she isn’t approaching it like it’ll be the finale.
“For the end of this season, I have an idea for what I want to do and it’s definitely not closing a door. I’m definitely not planning to make Season 5 the final one,” she said via phone. “The characters are a vast well. I can’t stop coming up with ideas for them.”
Photo courtesy Knights of Good Productions.
Related content on GigaOM Pro: (subscription required)
- By The Numbers: Budget Analysis of a Web Series
- Sony vs. Microsoft: Whose Mobile Gaming Strategy Will be Better?
- Shattering the Fourth Wall To Find Web Audiences