We’re very excited to announce that Robert Kirkman, chief creative officer and cofounder of Skybound Entertainment and the creator of The Walking Dead, will be a key speaker at GamesBeat Summit 2023.

The GamesBeat Summit event takes place on May 22-23 in-person in Los Angeles and on May 24 online. (You can get 40% off the ticket price with this code: GBSDEANNEWS; early-bird pricing ends today; Facebook Gaming is the headline sponsor of the event).

Joining Kirkman in a fireside chat will be Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, vice president of community development at Fortis Games and a former longtime leader at Twitch.

Kirkman’s franchise started as a comic book and then it took off everywhere. The Walking Dead saw the highest viewership series finale in scripted TV history at over 17 million viewers. Season 3 had a run of 75 consecutive episodes with more than 10 million same-day viewers, an unheard-of streak for a cable scripted series. It was the highest-rated cable television show ever, and it was the sixth most-watched show of 2022.


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The Walking Dead games

The Walking Dead

As for The Walking Dead games, Skybound Entertainment and its partners at Telltale Games sold 80 million episodes of its narrative game series. Skydance’s virtual reality game, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, reached 5.3 million players, and two million copies were sold of the VR game.

They’re going to talk about one of the key themes of the conference: Hollywood and Games — Are they one ecosystem, and if so, how has that changed? It fits with are general theme of The Next Level, and the session will address a big question: How can a video game, or any content, go to the next level?

Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat and Jon Goldman of Skybound Entertainment will also make remarks and introductions during the session.

The session will address practical matters like how creators work together cross-platform. How do you master the narrative when you’re spreading out the story across different media for a wide variety of fans, from comic-book readers to moviegoers or gamers.

The entry point to a successful franchise is through compelling and unique narratives, community, and intellectual property ownership. These three things allow creators to build a true 360 experience around fans.

How it relates to Hollywood

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is live on VR now.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is live on VR now. This is one of many games based on Robert Kirkman’s franchise.

The digital era has provided us with new platforms that allow for unprecedented access between fans and creators. No longer is Hollywood controlling who has access to content — but that does not mean Hollywood is out of the equation.

Hollywood is still very much part of the proliferation of content, but not so much the overall strategy of a franchise. With creators and their connection to fans, you can develop and enhance a successful cross-media franchise.

The Skybound Case

Jon Goldman is founder of Tower 26.
Jon Goldman is founder of Tower 26 and a cofounder of Skybound Entertainment.

Creators establish a cohesive universe that includes emotional character development, which seamlessly integrates across gaming, TV/Film/streaming, audio and beyond.

Skybound Entertainment’s session will examine lessons from a TV show’s writers’ room can be useful in enhancing the game experience. How do you integrate a narrative suitable for Hollywood in games where mechanics/UX still take precedence? Creators drive characters, plot, and storylines, allowing for countless ways to distribute or consume an idea. With fans and studios working together, they are part of a new era of multi-platform fandom. Everyone wins — but only if they work together.

The importance of creators driving narrative, fostering community, direct connection to fans, helping creators own their own IP, and growing that beyond just one platform.

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