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Cartoon Network Launches First Game ‘O​K K.O.!’ Lakewood Plaza Turbo’

Recognizing the increasingly interactive future of children’s entertainment, Cartoon Network announced the launch of its first game OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo, an original idea conceived by Steven Universe supervising producer Ian Jones-Quartey.

The free mobile game, available today for iOS and Android devices, was developed by Quartey and Toby Jones (storyboard director, Regular Show), in collaboration with Canadian game studio Double Stallion. The mobile game will be accompanied by animated shorts produced in different styles and by different studios, available across CN’s digital platforms.

“Cartoon Network is no longer just creating series, we are creating animated worlds,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “OK K.O.! is part of our new development strategy which brings a diverse array of creative and digital talent collaborations to the storytelling process.”

Cartoon Network will open up the property to the indie game development community by hosting a Game Jame in Portland Oregon on February 12-14. Two hundred game developers will have 48 hours to create their own games based on the cast of characters in the Lakewood Plaza universe. The winning team will be awarded a contract with Cartoon Network to continue developing their game jam prototype.

The idea for OK K.O.! was sparked by Quartey’s 2013 pilot Lakewood Plaza Turbo. It’s set in Lakewood Plaza, a mall for superheros, where young champion K.O. and his convenience store pals battle Lord Boxman and his robot army. Here’s the pilot:

  • Happy to see game animation coverage. At Double Stallion, we really want to push hand-drawn animation in games. Hope you enjoy.

  • Fried

    I sure will be glad when these “animated worlds” stop exclusively being retro video game homages.

    • Dave 52

      What exactly is wrong with these animated worlds being “retro video game homages”?

      • Jeffrey Thrash

        I played the game, and it feels like OK K.O. is trying to appeal to fans of 1980’s arcade brawlers, not today’s kids. It would be fine if the references were from extremely famous games (e.g. Wreck It Ralph), but unfortunately Final Fight and Double Dragon references aren’t very relevant anymore. Also, the actual game play doesn’t add anything to the genre and they made it super-easy for younger gamers, so you would be better off replaying those old classics or finding a better homage game. I think this “animated worlds” thing could be a great idea, and could be the push I need to learn game design as well as animation, but hopefully Cartoon Network remembers that a lot of kids don’t “get” ’80’s and ’90’s nostalgia the same way people from those decades do.

  • Curious

    So where is all the snark about the Game Jam like with Nick’s Shorts Program? Surely, picking one winner out of 200 game developers is a similar premise? Up to 16 teams could earn $3000 (to split) for a weekend of work, but it costs everyone $20 to register. I’m not saying I have any problem with the Game Jam, but it sheds a bit of light on the biased feelings towards Nickelodeon.

    • AmidAmidi

      “Surely, picking one winner out of 200 game developers is a similar premise?”

      It’s a similar premise if you ignore all the facts. Creating original IP for a network and contributing ideas to an network’s existing IP are two very different things.

      • Fried

        You’re right, they are different. Nickelodeon is giving money for artists to make shorts they want to make while CN is asking for money just for the chance for game developers to even participate. Even if they lose, they still get to keep their money. They profit off of people simply showing interest.

        • khan8282

          I dunno. I’m participating in the jam, and it sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve been to a lot of game jams, and very few of the projects started at them ever go on to receive financial support of any kind from a larger company. People who participate in jams usually do it because they love making games and love doing it with friends.

          There’s not a lot of money being exchanged here either. After taking a measly $20 admission fee, Cartoon Network actually reimburses everyone $40, so the participants turn a tiny profit. Read the rules. Food, etc. is then taken care of for the entire weekend. They’re also going to throw a party when it’s over. YOU VERY LITERALLY GET BACK MORE THAN YOU PUT IN.

          And like Amid said, you’re not actually developing original characters that will then become CN’s property. You’re basically entering a contest using their pre-existing characters, and if the judges decide you made something with potential, their stated intent is to PAY YOU to work on it further. So it doesn’t seem to me like I’ll be losing much of anything, but there’s a small possibility of getting a meaningful bump in my career in game development.

          But honestly, if you thought you were going to lose $20 and that was enough to make you take your ball and go home in a big huff, I don’t think your creative energy will be missed.

          • Fried

            The point isn’t individual charge, it’s that Nick and CN are basically doing the same thing: Asking for young talent to do free development work under contract with a small fee included in exchange for the CHANCE that ONE of those projects might get picked up. Except Amid is treating Nick’s case as executives making a pathetic attempt at scamming artists while CN is getting a free pass: but why?

            Maybe actually comprehend what the discussion is rather already having your stance ready to be defended for something no one is insulting.

          • AmidAmidi

            Never said or remotely implied that Nick execs were scamming artists.

          • khan8282

            Sorry, if I sound defensive about it, but I’ve heard a lot of this sort of negativity since the jam was announced, and none of it makes sense to me. I suppose I thought you were hung up on the money aspect since the word appears 3 times in your 4-sentence post.

            It’s 48 hours, not the weeks or moths it takes to make a short. You hang out with friends, do something creative and fun, eat and drink, participate in a contest, get $40 of spending money, etc. It also sounds like a good chance to get some exposure for your artistic/programming skills. You might win a development gig out of it.

      • Brian Wolf

        The game jam is encouraging people to create new characters, art styles, plots, etc. for their ‘OK KO’ universe. At the same time, their contract treats the game jam entries as ‘work for hire’- anything that the jammers produce belongs to Cartoon Network, regardless of whether it wins or not. The jammers keep their design documents and source code, but CN retains the rights to the ‘look and feel’ of the game, including those characters, plots, etc., for use in any and all future works, forever. It’s a bald-faced lie for CN to claim they’re creating a ‘collaborative universe’ when the people making it don’t get to own or necessarily profit from their work.

  • is that commander keen in the thumbnail to the pilot?