In the first production from Voltaku Studios, cyberpunk action comic Killtopia is to be adapted into an animated series powered by the Unreal Engine. It will be scripted by Phil Gelatt, who wrote most of the excellent anthology sci-fi series Love, Death & Robots, and will run to eight 20-minute episodes.
Set in a futuristic Japan after a cataclysmic event, an infestation of mechs spreading a techno-organic virus has lead to the rise of gloryseeking bounty hunters and an annual bloodsport contest between them. Novice hunter Shinji just wants to be able to collect enough leftover scraps to pay for his sister’s medication, but after encountering Crash, the first ever sentient mech who may also be the key to curing the disease, he is thrust to the forefront of a dangerous hunt that has far greater ramifications than anyone at first realises.
We’ve reviewed the first and second issues of the comic (with a third due for imminent publication), and were more than a little impressed by what we saw. Although the story begins as seeming like the focus will be on high tech street fights battled out by various forms of lowlifes, a massive midway revelation thrusts the scope so wide it might question whether eight episodes will be enough to contain it.
Of the series’ potential, Killtopia’s creator and writer Dave Cook said “When Killtopia launches, it’s going to look like nothing that’s been seen on TV before. Our world is garish and vibrant, where hype, fandom and pop culture rule the day, which is the perfect launching pad for big stories. I’ve always wanted to see something so colourful and abstract depicted in a 3D world. With Voltaku’s help, I think we’re going to blow people away.”
Sha Nazir, operator of Killtopia’s publisher BHP Publisher said “We’re very excited to see where the project goes, we love Voltaku’s approach and ethos and think they’re the perfect fit to deliver some great entertainment.”
Voltaku CEO Charles Borland said “Game engines are giving studios a flexibility we’ve never seen before. When we option a project, it doesn’t have to stop with a movie or a TV series anymore. We can take our 3D production assets and build a game, VR/AR experiences, marketing materials, digital goods, basically anything we want, at Lion King or Avatar-like production levels. And that’s exactly what ‘otaku’ are looking for – more ways to engage with the worlds they love.”
We’ll bring you more news on the project as it develops, and in the meantime, if you’re curious about what cyberpunk imagery rendered in the Unreal Engine might look like, check out the short film below, which Voltaku has cited as an influence on the series’ overall style.