'Game-isodes' making History


The History Channel has partnered with video game publisher Kuma Reality Games to coordinate the release of Kuma game titles with History Channel shows.

Beginning Nov. 3 with the Season 2 launch of the History Channel series "Shootout!" Kuma will release video games online simultaneously with upcoming "Shootout!" TV episodes, allowing the audience to watch the show then live the historical event by playing a 3-D game re-creation of the episode.

"Gamers like to be in the thick of the action, and that's always been a part of who we are," said Delores Gavin, History Channel's director of historical programming. "All we needed to figure out was how to bridge the traditional TV screen with a first-person perspective approach to the show."

Gavin said the result is a hybrid way of storytelling that consumers won't find anywhere else on TV or in the gaming world. Kuma has created nine "game-isodes" that focus on three episodes from the TV series — World War II's Battle of the Bulge and Battle of Iwo Jima and Vietnam's Tet Offensive. The online games can be downloaded at HistoryChannel.com or KumaGames.com. On-air promotions during "Shootout!" will direct users who watch the series to HistoryChannel.com, where they can download the games for free.

"We are helping TV take its place in today's exploding game marketplace," Kuma Reality Games CEO Keith Halper said. "The ability to reach key consumers is greatly enhanced for advertisers by combining TV's reach and brand impact with games' immersive nature, relevance to key consumers and unique messaging capabilities."

Through the alliance, Kuma Games and the History Channel intend to capitalize on the emerging generation of wholly interactive entertainment experiences. "Shootout!" examines, dissects and re-creates some of the most famous gunbattles in history, from the Wild West to Guadalcanal to Fallujah. Using heavy 3-D, CGI animation sequences, the audience will experience the thick of battle from the point of views of the players. Gavin said Season 2 of "Shootout!" was developed with the gamer audience in mind.

"During Season 1, we studied gameplay and infused what we learned into the shows," Gavin said. "Just as Season 2 was ramping up, we decided we were at the point where we were ready to take the leap — to create a unique experience for the viewer and gamer that can be watched as well as played."