As part of its continued investment into expanding its mobile gaming business, Netflix today announced it will, for the first time, launch a mobile game alongside a TV series from the same franchise. The game and show will be based on the popular Exploding Kittens card game. The mobile game will launch in May exclusively for Netflix members, along with two new cards for players. The TV series, which is produced by Greg Daniels and Mike Judge, will arrive in 2023.
Although Netflix today offers multiple “Stranger Things” mobile games for members that are tied to its original series, it clarifies these games were adapted from the TV series — they were not games that were adapted into a TV series, as Exploding Kittens will be. The service also launched a “Trivia Quest” interactive show (which is more like a streaming game for TV viewers), but Netflix doesn’t publish the Trivia Crack mobile game that the show is based on — that’s still published by Etermax.
Netflix says Exploding Kittens — The Game will retain the classic gameplay from the original card game, where players draw cards aiming to avoid the Exploding Kitten. Both single-player and multiplayer modes will be available. The mobile version is also adding two new, exclusive cards: One called Radar, which reveals to players the position of the Exploding Kitten closest to the top of the card deck; and Flip Flop, which reverses the order of the cards in the deck. Future cards and game mechanics added to the game will be themed around the animated series, Netflix notes.
This is a completely separate game from the original Exploding Kittens mobile game, the company tells TechCrunch. The existing game will continue to be sold, but will not share any progress, expansion packs or saves with Netflix’s version.
Like all of Netflix’s mobile games, the Exploding Kittens game will be free with a Netflix membership, will be ad-free and won’t include in-app purchases.
With the launch, Netflix is interested in testing the market to see if it’s possible to promote a new TV series with a mobile game offering, and whether the TV series can drive new players to the game.
“The co-development of a game and animated series breaks new ground for Netflix,” said Mike Moon, Netflix head of Adult Animation, in a statement. “And we couldn’t think of a better game to build a universe around than Exploding Kittens, one of the most inventive, iconic and original games of this century,” he added. “Netflix is the perfect place to explore this growing franchise and we are so fortunate to be working with this incredible team,” said Moon.
The series will co-star the voice talent of Tom Ellis (“Rush,” “Lucifer”), Abraham Lim (“Clickbait,” “The Boys”), Lucy Liu (“Shazam,” “Elementary”), Ally Maki (“Wrecked,” “Toy Story 4”), Mark Proksch (“What We Do In The Shadows,” “Better Call Saul”) and Sasheer Zamata (“Woke,” “Home Economics”). The story will involve God and the Devil being sent to Earth in the bodies of house cats.
Showrunners Shane Kosakowski and Matthew Inman will lead the series, which is exec produced by Mike Judge, Greg Daniels and Dustin Davis of Bandera Entertainment; Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping for the Chernin Entertainment Group; and the creators of the Exploding Kittens franchise, Elan Lee and The Oatmeal’s Inman.
“Our goal is to offer our members great entertainment they’ll love in whatever format they may enjoy — whether it be a game or an animated series,” said Leanne Loombe, head of External Games, Netflix. “As we expand our mobile games catalog, we’re excited to partner with the Exploding Kittens digital team to bring this enjoyable game to all age groups, including a few exciting updates exclusively for our members.”
The Exploding Kittens game will be the third card game Netflix offers members, alongside Card Blast and Arcanium: Rise of Akhan. The game was produced by Dire Wolf, which has worked on a number of other games tied to entertainment properties, including digital adaptions involving Pokémon, “Game of Thrones” and others. However, Netflix was brought into the relationship with Dire Wolf through the Exploding Kittens team.