Cartoon Network Studios Greenlights OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes Animated Series
Today (09/03/2017), Cartoon Network Studios has announced that Ian Jones-Quartey’s animated creation OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes will be having a full animated series and will premiere on Cartoon Network USA this summer. The brand new animated show is set in Lakewood Plaza, referred to as a shopping mall for heroes, K.O. and his friends try to impress each other and “level-up” like video-game characters so they can overcome the evil Lord Boxman’s obstacles and foil the Lord’s plans to destroy the plaza.
The new animated series originated from an animated pilot named “Lakewood Plaza Turbo” which was developed at Cartoon Network Studios and was released in 2013, at the time Ian Jones-Quartey was working on Steven Universe as supervising director while season one of Steven Universe was still in development, prior to Steven Universe, he worked on Secret Mountain Fort Awesome in 2010. Later, Cartoon Network released a series of digital shorts also under the title of “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” from February 2016, the digital shorts were uploaded to Cartoon Network USA’s YouTube channel as well as the Cartoon Network app.
A mobile beat ’em up game based on the animated shorts – OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo, was launched on mobile devices on 4th February 2016. Also last summer, Cartoon Network hosted an “Animation Jam” event which was a gathering of university undergraduates from across the United States, at the animation jam, students had the opportunity to produce a 15-second animation short based on OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. Prior to the “Animation Jam”, there was also a “Game Jam” event which happened last February, where independent game developers got involved and made their own games based on the OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes IP.
The show’s digital origins is a similar story on how another Cartoon Network original – Mighty Magiswords was developed, a series of digital animated shorts were released on the Cartoon Network Anything and YouTube, using this marketing method, Cartoon Network can gauge the popularity of a show that could potentially be greenlit, if a show idea is well received, there’s a high possibility that Cartoon Network would develop the show as a full animated series.
Next Monday (13/03/2017), Cartoon Network USA will be hosting a special screening during the SXSW 2017 (South by Southwest) media event in Austin, Texas. The screening will feature a sneak-peek preview of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes and never before seen episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Ben 10 and Teen Titans Go!
Cartoon Network Games will be collaborating with independent game studio, Capybara Games to produce an RPG action-brawler game based on OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, the game will be released this autumn and will be previewed at the PAX East gaming convention in Boston, Massachusetts tomorrow (10/03/2017).
OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes will also be premiering on Cartoon Network’s international feeds, Cartoon Network UK has already confirmed that they will be airing the new show in a press release (see bottom section of the blog post), Cartoon Network UK will premiere the show sometime after the U.S. premiere. No exact U.S. and international broadcast dates have been released yet.
As a preview for the new animated series, Cartoon Network USA has uploaded the intro for OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes onto YouTube today:
The Lakewood Plaza Turbo pilot, which OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is based upon:
— Cartoon Network (@cartoonnetwork) March 9, 2017
From The Turner UK Press Release: Cartoon Network Powers Up a Connected World of Original Heroes Across TV and Gaming with OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes: New Series Gets Greenlight Along with an Integrated Console Game
Cartoon Network powers up a connected world of original heroes across the TV and gaming landscape with the greenlight of animated series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes followed by an integrated console game jointly developed with indie video game studio Capybara Games. Created by Ian Jones-Quartey, and produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the action-packed show follows the heroic feats of K.O., an endlessly optimistic kid attempting to level up to be the best he can be in a dynamic universe of friends and challenging foes. The console and PC game is an action brawler with RPG elements and is expected to arrive later this fall and will be previewed in the U.S. at PAX East on Friday, March 10.
To help build this highly-developed world, Cartoon Network opened the door to the gaming and creative communities to produce custom multiplatform content. At a Game Jam last year, independent game developers created their own original games based on the characters. Following the Game Jam, college undergraduates were invited to craft 15-second animation shorts using the IP at an Animation Jam. A standalone original mobile game, titled OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo, also launched last year based on Jones-Quartey’s short, of the same name, from Cartoon Network’s Emmy-winning artist program.
“This combined launch marks the culmination of a unique multi-media development process,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “The result is an entirely connected world which provides deeper satisfaction as fans get further into the property from every access point.”
Added Jones-Quartey: “For me, video games and animation have a lot in common and having fun is the main goal. OK K.O.! is a video game-inspired world expressed through the language of animation, but mostly an adventurous playground with heart-warming heroes who battle against robots.”
OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is set in Lakewood Plaza, a mall for heroes, where K.O. and his cool crew of friends are constantly trying to impress each other in their efforts to level up and overcome the obstacles that evil foe Lord Boxman sends their way on his quest to destroy the plaza. A sneak peek of the new series will be presented in the U.S. at SXSW on Monday, March 13. OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is slated to premiere this summer in the U.S. and will also roll out across the UK and all global markets.
Jones-Quartey first joined the Cartoon Network family in 2010 as a storyboard artist on Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. Most recently, he served as the co-executive producer on the Emmy-nominated series Steven Universe. He is an alum of the School of Visual Arts in New York City.