HyperClash Knights: Future Sports and Superhero Action
Apologies! This blog post took a bit longer to poop out. It's been busier than usual work-wise. So thank you for joining me...let's talk about Hyperclash Knights, shall we? I wanted to document this property because of how out of character it was for me to even attempt working on this. Hyperclash was one of the first IP development challenges that my superbly talented creative partner Elliot Sperl and I tried to conquer when we just started collaborating a few years back. I think it's worth checking out.
OK. So ...let's get cooking. I'm going to start with a confession:
I Don't Like Sports!
Seriously. Don't care about any of it. Sorry folks!...it's not you, it's me.
Saying that Elliot and I are not sports fans is an understatement. I personally don't enjoy playing, watching or even hearing conversations about sports. My level of interest is a big round zero...and for some reason, we chose to challenge ourselves by creating an animated IP that revolves around sports. Not only that- but it had to be a show that people like ourselves would happily watch, and would draw in legit sports fans. How did we do? Well, I'll let you judge for yourselves. Starting with...
How do you make a topic you inherently don't care for interesting? Easy. You mix it in with something that you do find interesting, and you do it conviction! We created a sci-fi action/sports show with a fictional game at its center. Through its rules and the equipment required to play it, the game gradually drives our characters to become a mix of professional players and amateur superheroes. But I'm be getting ahead of myself. Let's roll back for a second...
The American animation industry doesn't really bother with "sports dramas", but the Japanese one certainly does. Anime sports dramas often use the sport's games as their heroes and villain's "battlefield". These protagonist have relationship challenges, financial problems and so on...but they usually make their symbolic last stand on the playfield. Knowing this we had to ask ourselves, what if the sport itself is not just a metaphor, but plays a major role in how the world around it is built? Or what if the game itself is just a result of technological and cultural changes to the world?... and what if the game acts as a vehicle to expose hidden truths about the world our characters live in?
Without going too deep into the nitty and gritty: we created an entirely original sport and tied it to the "groundbreaking future technology" that came into this world and enabled its creation. The A.I-driven nano-tech called "Nano-Stars" drastically impacted our show's world. The "Hyperclash" sport was nothing more than an entertainment-based use case for a technology that now drives and operates most major cities worldwide.
What started as a minor application quickly evolved into HyperClash: a worldwide sensation and Pivot city's primary economic driver. This new sport made Pivot one of the most prosperous cultural hubs in human history.
HyperClash’s national league players are the new celebrities, with team iconography, names and merchandise seen at every corner. Competitive, exciting and easy to market, HyperClash is the ultimate form of entertainment: fresh, innovative, over the top and bursting with youthful energy. With multiple arenas being built in every district of every city, “The Clash” is a significant part of modern society. It's no wonder that every man, woman, and child can now quote the game's official rules in their sleep…
The rules are rooted in most mainstream sports: one team has to get the ball dunked into the other team's "goal". Plain and simple. But this game's innovation comes in multiple forms. This mix of luchador wresting and soccer is played in a low gravity sphere that has a large amorphous concentration of nano-stars hovering in its center. The game's "field" is this nano-pile, and the player's boots can magnetically attach to its surface. This means that this fast-paced game is played on a 3D plain. BUT WAIT! What kind of 3D plain is it, you ask? Well, each game has an MC, and the MC determines the ever evolving"shape" of the stage. The nano-stars can form into anything when linked to an operator's brainwaves, so in one game the stage can appear as an asteroid field and in another, it can be a giant pinball machine. The MC's job is to make the player's jobs harder and the audience's experience endlessly exciting.
Each team has 4 players, each with their own dedicated role. If their branding's done right, each team usually follows a specific "theme". Each team's weapons and outfits are also based on that theme. Our protagonist joins the Pivot City "Knights" for example, so their outfits and weapons are Arthurian-lore-based; swords and shields for the win! So you can already imagine how this setup easily lends itself to an endless variety of creative scenarios that can be generated for each game .
The plot of Hyperclash Knights is surprisingly simple: The teenage farm boy Ty Jennings tries to make it big in the new sport sensation: Hyperclash in order to save his struggling family farm. He gets accepted to an elite team in Pivot " and becomes a fish-out-of-water in the most cutting edge, balls to the walls town the modern world has to offer. Pivot is the first, fully nano-star-driven city in existence. What a treat!
When he meets his new team members, Ty faces an unexpected challenge: to get truly embraced by the Knight, he has to first gain the respect of the Knights’ undisputed captain: Shauny Silverstar. Easier said than done! Shauny is the daughter of the creators of the Nanostars: the SilverStar family. And much like her parents and their company, Shauny rules her team with an iron fist.
Ty’s attempts to create a warmer, more democratic team dynamic cause him and Shauny to constantly butt heads. Ty works to gain the trust and respect of his fellow Knights and befriend Shauny, while discovering shocking secrets about the Silverstar family and their company. Secrets that threaten Nanostar powered cities around the globe.
Real talk: Shauny's family is one of the primary reasons the Jennings farm is struggling to survive (Nanostars kind of borked rural towns and old-city economics). Shauny is a talented and brilliant, albeit entitled and spoiled rich kid so she doesn't show much interest in what happens outside the safety of her high-tech bubble. The two are off to a bad start, but as one would expect: as the show progresses Ty and Shauny become close friends and end up seeing eye to eye.
Shauny's not just a rich-girl though. We created a "built-in" secret to really help spice things up. Shauny is the first-ever artificial human in existence. She is fully made out of Nanostars and she doesn't even know it! This secret ends up biting her in the nano-butt when she finds out that she can mess up other Nanostars in her vicinity. To make matters worse, the show's main villain is the engineer who originally designed the Nanostars and his goal is to infect each nano-unit with a virus that hands him control over them. Since the entire city: buildings, cars and even roads are all made of Nanostars; you can imagine the threat this ability poses.
The main characters in Hyperclash have distinct personalities and unique, personal struggles. The teams they face on the playfield often put their friendship to the test and challenge them to get creative about their problem-solving in and outside of the game.
Sci-fi, action, sports and romance; Hyperclash Knights has it all! We actually wrote an entire guidebook describing the game's official rules as part of the pitch package. Linking the game with the technology that revolutionized this show's world made a huge difference because it naturally connected the main plot, the very nature of the game and the villain seamlessly. The sport didn't feel like a gimmick, it felt like a justified, necessary element in the show, while also opening a ton of unique story crafting opportunities.
Are we approaching peak "Hypertime"?
So...where are we with Hyperclash? We pitched it only a couple of times before a different project drew out attention due to external traction. Now we are considering to get back on that horse to pitch this one and find it a good home. With how boring many young-adult IPs have been, the TV industry could use a show that takes a stab at a pretty untapped genre that has worldwide appeal and proven success in Asian markets (Prince of Tennis, anyone?).
We are wrapping up a few projects right now and getting ready for the next round of pitching. But Hyperclash is still on our slate and up for grabs. We may get back to the playfield very soon if we feel like the time is right. Hope you enjoyed this one folks! I've been getting some interesting inquiries thanks to this development blog regarding some of these IPs. If you're interested in learning more about Hyperclash or any of the other properties I'm working on: feel free to email me or my reps and let's talk! Until next time.