Riese the Series: Delivering Transmedia with a Side of Steampunk
The dystopian kingdom of Eleysia has its priorities in order: rather than developing automobiles, telecommunications technology, or a democratic political structure, its citizens have perfected the use of tinted goggles as a fashion accessory. Starting later this week, members of an Eleysian religious cult known as The Sect will start proselytizing their ways to our world. You can already view some of their highly stylized promotional materials at their website, TheSectIsHere.com. This alternate reality game serves an introduction to the transmedia world of Riese, an upcoming web-series scheduled to premiere early this November.
In The Sect Is Here, members of the enigmatic religious cult from the Riese universe have managed to reach our reality, along with a lone renegade seeking to stop them. Through both online and location-specific puzzles, players will have the opportunity to unravel the mysteries surrounding The Sect’s real intentions, in both our world and Eleysia. The alternate reality game will extend past the web-series’ November premiere, and will enter a media mix intended to include print, web, mobile, and television.
Riese, created by Ryan Copple and Kaleena Kiff, introduces viewers to an alternate universe where technology is limited to primitive forms of electricity, waterworks, and dirigibles. Copple describes the world as “a place where a great deal of technology hasn’t flourished, where kingdoms and colonies still thrive and the people still cling to beliefs in gods and mythology.” The story revolves around the journey of the reluctant heroine, Riese, as she evades assassins sent by The Sect and pieces together her mysterious past. Starring Sanctuary‘s Christine Chatelain, the series will include a few other familiar faces including Sharon Taylor (Stargate Atlantis), Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), and Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe). Episodes will be released bi-weekly, with every five episodes completing a chapter of Riese’s story. The episodic content will be supplemented with the alternate reality game, as well as an iPhone game.
The series is being shot using RED One cameras, and will be available for free on the internet, with HD versions available for an additional fee. If the Behind the Scenes footage is any indication, the series will be a visual treat drawing heavily on steampunk elements. The show’s direction will be heavily reliant on the community. As Copple explains, ”[o]ne important aspect for us, as the creators, is to always be as connected to our viewers as possible. By encouraging open discussions regarding the direction of the show, we hope fans will realize their opinion matters, and will be present in the community.”
So keep an eye (or monocle, or tinted goggle) out for the upcoming launch of The Sect Is Here from the folks at Riese Productions Ltd.