Hawken Gets a Movie and Live-Action Web Series

Game publisher Meteor Entertainment and developer Adhesive Games are giving Comic-Con attendees more than just hands-on access to the upcoming free-to-play online Mech shooter. The creatives behind the new sci-fi game, which launches December 12, 2012, are expanding the futuristic universe into comics, a Hollywood film and a live action video series.

“The plan for Hawken has always been to be a transmedia design, which means it is not just a game,” said Khang Le, CEO, co-founder and creative director at Adhesive Games. “We have a whole universe for the player to grasp onto, including upcoming comic books, novels, a movie, an anime, and live action shorts.”

Director Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) will helm a feature film based on Hawken. DJ2 Entertainment will produce alongside the Bandito Brothers. The team is developing Hawken to present to studios later this year.

"Scott Waugh and the Bandito brothers are perfect director/producer partners for Hawken,” said Mark Long, CEO, Meteor Entertainment. “Scott's style is unrelentingly kinetic and Bandito productions are so punk rock - you feel the breath of effort in a Bandito film that's missing from most of the over-produced action flicks."

The deal was repped by WME's Mike Esola and DJ2/Meteor's legal was handled by Warren Zeger of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein and Kohner.

In addition, Warner Premiere, a division of Warner Brothers, is creating a digital series based on Hawken to be produced by Copper Media, a division of Silver Pictures, and DJ2 Entertainment.

"Collaborating with Adhesive games to extrapolate Hawken's mythology into a comprehensive transmedia bible has been a fun and rewarding creative process," said Dan Jevons, Partner/CCO of DJ2 Entertainment.

"Also as producers on all the Hawken transmedia content, DJ2 has been able to coordinate a remarkable amount of canon-consistent interrelation between all the various story-lines," added Dmitri Johnson, Partner/CEO of DJ2. "Fans who seek out all the Hawken media are going to gain a deeper understanding of key events and characters in the Hawken-verse."

"Original Web series have arrived,” said Long. “I think we'll look back on this fall with the launch of the Hawken and Halo mini-series as when the premiere of Web programs became major entertainment events. It doesn't get any bigger than Joel Silver and Warner Bros."

“The shorts explain the world more, because the game is basically Mechs shooting at each other and most of the story you can only get from looking at the environment,” said Le. “The environment tells the story a little bit and the game pulls from that environment. At first it’s a very loose connection, but once you play the game, watch the live action videos, and read the comic books, you get the sense of a much bigger, living, breathing world that we designed.”

At E3 2012, Meteor Entertainment debuted a teaser trailer for the digital series, which was directed by former Epic Games Gears of War art director Jeremiah O’Flaherty Meteor hosted a party at E3 that featured set items from the Los Angeles pilot shoot, including the Mech cockpit.

“What O’Flaherty Was able to do with the budget that he had to work with was amazing,” said Le. “He was actually able to get all of the game asset and composite the trailers himself. He’s not just a director, he’s basically the visual effects guy. There’s more coming from what they filmed, but he and his crew were able to come up with a cool, and visually impressive, story.”

The game is being developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3, which is starting to be used by more Hollywood creatives for pre-visualization. The sharing of assets between the game and live action shorts also opens the door for the sharing of content for the feature film.

“The game takes place on a planet called Illal,” said Le. “We wanted to create an environment away from Earth to give us the freedom to create creatures. We plan on developing a Horde mode with lots of enemy creatures attacking.”

Illal, which exists in a universe where Earth does exist, has a lot of different environment types, including desert outposts overrun by sandstorms and multi-level cities filled with maze-like alleyways. Le said the story involves a lot of corporations fighting for scarce resources. The universe also has a natural and spiritual element to it, which will be revealed later.

One of the game’s announced modes, Siege, features a giant battleship that players attempt to launch by collecting enough energy with three classes of Mech vehicles. The opposition tries to shoot down the massive flying ship to save its base. The movie and live action worlds will be able to expand far behind the Mech combat vehicles.

Hawken will actually make its worldwide debut through cloud gaming company Gaikai, which is now owned by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game will be playable across PCs as well as tablets, Samsung and LG Smart TVs and other devices thanks to Gaikai’s streaming service, which will deliver 60 frames per second gameplay with no latency for online combat.

Hawken began live as an Xbox Live Arcade game from a small 5-man team based in Pasadena. After a gameplay video was released online last year and went viral, a bidding war ensued among game publishers. Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital, the same backers behind Riot Games’ successful free-to-play League of Legends, stepped to the plate and invested $10 million in the game and helped launch a new publishing company with Meteor Entertainment.