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TikTok megastar Michael Le will promote the Web3 game Ashfall to his 52.2 million followers on the social network platform.
The promo will be part of a partnership with Liithos, a game startup created by Days Gone co-creator John Garvin and PlayStation veteran Michael Mumbauer.
They will create a narrative TikTok series that introduces Ashfall. Supporting the partners will be Web3 marketplace CoinZoom and HBAR Foundation, the shepherd of Hedera Hashgraph, a fast and efficient blockchain-like technology.
Starring Le along with TikTok influencer Slider Jesus (another influencer who has 257,000 followers on Instagram), the adventure video series will introduce the world to Ashfall, the first transmedia IP announced by the Liithos team earlier this year that will launch as a comic book series in March and later with a game.
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“Today’s superstars are elevated by millions of real fans and followers on TikTok where we find our new heroes and villains,” said Mumbauer, CEO of Liithos, in a statement. ”We are looking to collaborate, integrate, and elevate multimedia experiences with these superstars like Michael Le for the next generation. The Liithos TikTok Creators series is the first of many experiences Liithos is looking to launch to create easily traversable pathways between medias and the evolving web space.”
Beginning January 29, the five-episode digital series can be viewed on Le’s highly-trafficked TikTok and, in a throwback to the appointment viewing of the Sunday Comics of old, will feature a new episode every Sunday.
Liithos will celebrate each episode by releasing a unique free digital collectible that will be available only through CoinZoom. Fans can claim each collectible by signing up for a CoinZoom account, hitting the claim button, and paying a small processing fee (usually around $1.50 or so).
Each collectible has been illustrated by Marvel and DC artists such as animation and film artist Coran Stone (Young Justice, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1), Fico Ossio (artist and co-creator of the manga-inspired series No One Left to Fight, Spider-Man), Eisner Award Winner John Cassaday (Planetary, Astonishing X-Men), Dave Wilkins (Masters of the Universe: Revelation #3, Star Wars – Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison), Eisner Award winner Karl Kerschl (Adventures of Superman, Majestic), and Tom Raney (Annihilation: Conquest, Alpha Flight, Ultimate X-Men).
Fans who collect all five digital collectibles can return to collect a bonus sixth mystery digital collectible available only to those who’ve participated in the entire event.
Additionally, the digital collectibles will give fans access to a sneak preview of the upcoming Ashfall comic series. Written and drawn by a “who’s who” of comic talent including Garvin, who conceived and wrote the story, along with art from Marvel and DC artist Paul Pelletier (Aquaman, Guardians of the Galaxy), Brett Booth (Backlash, Gunslinger), and Eisner Award winner Tony Harris (Starman, Ex Machina), the comic book series introducers fans for the first time to the Ashfall Universe, which takes place in the climate-change ravaged Pacific Northwest where Seattle has been submerged beneath the ocean for hundreds of years.
The Trace – deadly pockets of dark energy – has brought mutation, ruin, and chaos wherever they appeared. With civilization devolved into factions and enclaves and humanity fighting over resources and differing ideologies, Ash Naranjo, born without arms, is taken by the Order of Life Science, who give him TechGyn prosthetic arms and other nano implants – changing him forever. Now one of the Order’s Ghosts, Ash fights for the United Enclaves, vowing to destroy the oppressive Freelanders who have taken his family and destroyed his homeland.
I asked Mumbauer how to overcome resistance to NFTs from hardcore gamers. And he said in a message it may be that trusted influencers are the path to do that.
He said that this move was “less about gamers but more general public. So TikTok movies are the test to see if we can create a mainstream thing that people enjoy. Then I did collectible cards ‘comic’ covers that are free to collect after each one is live. Similar to how we would go get stickers at Burger King after The Empire Strikes Back.
I also asked Mumbauer how the deal with Le came about. Here’s his reply.
Last year around this time, I was speaking with [gaming investor and game developer] David Perry about where he thought the industry was headed.
We spoke about Web 3 and TikTok. One of the things I’ve always admired about David is his ability to predict gaming and entertainment trends. I’ve seen him speak over the years and almost every prediction he’s made from those talks that I watched have come true.
In short, when DP speaks or if he’s excited about something… pay attention.
I started investigating TikTok and following certain influencers but the one that stood out the most was Michael Le. It was immediately obvious why Michael had such a massive and die hard fan base. The content he creates is some of the best and most sophisticated on the platform. As an entertainer, he’s in a league of his own. I see hints of Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley and Fred Astaire in his work. I’m from a different era of course but the type of stuff he creates is amazing. I don’t think I’ve see someone who can quite captivate an audience in less than 30 seconds like Michael can. That’s true for me, at least.
When I saw his 50-million celebration video, it instantly clicked that there was something going on here. This type of content could be serialized.
John and I were already working on the Ashfall comic book and I’ve always loved doing short form content, so I pitched the idea of doing a Sunday comic book series as a companion for the comic book but using a TikTok influencer as the star.
John wasn’t convinced… until I showed him Michael’s videos.
What I love about John is he comes around to new ideas very quickly, as long as you can show him a solid plan and some material that illustrates the target objective, he’s game to try new things.
Once John was on board, I reached out to Michael’s agent to talk about a collaboration and pitched the idea. Michael was bought in from the start and we laid out a story structure that we all felt could work. We wanted to tell something that could both work within the IP John created and that would resonate with his following. We all wanted to include his brothers from the start. Saving Jon was the central theme from the beginning. The only thing better than Michael Le is Michael Le with Jonathan and Daniel Le.
We sketched out a rough story on zoom and then John and I refined and fleshed out the Ashfall connective tissue. John has a deep love of Sunday comic strips and so translating these ideas into a serial with cliffhangers came pretty naturally.
The only thing we were missing in our story was a compelling villain. For whatever reason, the TikTok algorithm randomly sent Slider Jesus my way. Apparently, it really can predict what you want to see! Once I was turned on to his channel, I couldn’t stop watching. His presence and energy was captivating. It was like Rob Zombie and Freddy Krueger had a baby and out came Slider Jesus. Death Metal, Sliding and fire. Fire!
With the villain onboard, we now had a real story we could tell on TikTok.
I think people underestimate what the power of what TikTok could offer to linear and serialized content. It’s essentially a platform that could successfully achieve what Quibi was built to do. The phone is the next place for serialized content. The trick that I learned through working with Michael on how to successfully get it to work….
You need to stop thinking of how long your movies are in minutes and start thinking about them in seconds.
It’s a paradigm shift but there’s some really compelling to explore here.Michael Mumbauer
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