Back in February 2013, Toronto’s Imaginism Studios launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign for a new type of app that combined full-scale animation and comic books for a novel, mobile-device-oriented kind of storytelling. Niko and the Sword of Light is the app that was built using the funds from the successful Kickstarter campaign, and it earned a featured spot on Apple’s App Store as well as strong global download numbers on iOS, Android and the Amazon Appstore.
Imaginism’s Niko project was a bit of an experiment for the studio, since it generally does character design and animation work for external clients, which include Disney, Blizzard, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures Animation, Dreamworks and many more. The Imaginism crew is currently working on character design for an upcoming blockbuster feature, and has already created some of the characters you’d likely recognize, including those from Disney’s live-action Alice In Wonderland adaptation.
Niko has opened the door for Imaginism on a number of tie-ins and other opportunities for the young firm in terms of creating and growing its own intellectual properties – the meticulous, hand-drawn animation used in the creation of the original app clearly has a lot of appeal. Imaginism may soon get a chance to show off its animation skills to an even larger audience, as it has just entered into an agreement to option Niko to Amazon Studios for the creation of a series based on the character and world introduced in the app.
Imaginism is a perfect example of what a small startup (consisting mostly of friends who went to school together and didn’t know what to do once they graduated) can do by satisfying an industry need that many don’t even know exists. The studio has made itself indispensable to some of the biggest creative brands in the world, and now they’re using that positioning, as well as innovations like crowdfunding, to build the things they always wanted to do for themselves, too.
If you haven’t experienced Niko and the Sword of Light, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially now that the brand could be on its way to becoming the next big thing.