Transmedia startup Voltaku, fueled by an Epic MegaGrant, begins development on animated series about two siblings’ adventures in a futuristic megacity, directed by Oscar-nominee Ruairi Robinson and penned by ‘Spine of Night’ director Philip Gelatt.
Transmedia startup Voltaku has just announced Killtopia, a gritty, highly stylized looking new cyberpunk saga that pits two siblings against yakuza, plagues, and mechs in a futuristic megacity. Let that sink in a moment. Can you say, “Dark!” Aimed at “otaku,” a Japanese term for people obsessed with anime, manga, and gaming, the series marks the launch of Voltaku’s hybrid studio, which has already optioned two other sci-fi/fantasy projects for cross-platform development.
Traversing the worlds of anime, manga, and gaming, the new studio, headquartered in Los Angeles, is being fueled by an Epic MegaGrant, focusing on worldbuilding optioned IP with game engine and virtual production technologies. “Game engines are giving studios a flexibility we’ve never seen before,” said Charles Borland, Voltaku CEO and co-founder. “When we option a project, it doesn’t have to stop with a movie or a TV series anymore. We can take our 3D production assets and build a game, VR/AR experiences, marketing materials, digital goods, basically anything we want, at Lion King or Avatar-like production levels. And that’s exactly what ‘otaku’ are looking for — more ways to engage with the worlds they love.”
Killtopia is based on the award-winning, indie graphic novel series created by Dave Cook and Craig Paton. Described as “Blade Runner meets Battle Royale for the Fortnite generation,” Killtopia follows a bounty hunter and his robot sidekick through a futuristic megacity as they fight brutal thugs, augmented mercenaries, and android assassins in a race to save the bounty hunter’s sister — and the world — from a deadly nano plague.
Eight 20-minute episodes are planned, developed using Unreal Engine and other virtual production tools. The show will be written by TV, film, and game veteran Phil Gelatt (Love Death & Robots, Europa Report, Rise of the Tomb Raider), who’s epic animated horror fantasy film, Spine of Night, just premiered at SXSW. Concept art (shown below) is being created by David Levy & Pitch Dev Studios (Avatar sequels, Tron: Legacy, Prometheus). It will be helmed by Oscar-nominated director Ruairi Robinson (Fifty Percent Grey, The Leviathan, The Last Days on Mars).
Voltaku got the project started through an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games, which will be used to develop their completely Unreal-powered pipeline. Voltaku joins nearly 1,000 talented teams and individuals as part of the $100 million Epic MegaGrants program, which is designed to support game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers working with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities.
Voltaku is also currently developing four additional projects for cross-platform releases, including two licensed properties and two original IPs. Additional details are promised soon.
“When Killtopia launches, it’s going to look like nothing that’s been seen on TV before,” said Cook. “Our world is garish and vibrant, where hype, fandom and pop culture rule the day, which is the perfect launching pad for big stories. I’ve always wanted to see something so colorful and abstract depicted in a 3D world. With Voltaku’s help, I think we’re going to blow people away.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.