By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 7:46 am
Characters from video games have been showing up in other media since…well, at least since Hanna-Barbera’s dreadful 1982 Pac-Man TV series. Now Outfit7, whose apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android have been downloaded 135 million times, is getting in on the act. It’s signed up William Morris Endeavor, the talent agency headed by superagent Ari Emanuel, to represent Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog, and the other characters from its programs.
Outfit7, which was founded in Slovenia and started releasing apps last year, doesn’t make games, exactly–its apps let you interact with puppet-like digital creatures by poking them, petting them, and speaking to them (they repeat what you say in their own voice). The programs are fun, the quality of the animation and the quality of the animation is good given the devices it runs on. The company has aspirations to become a Pixar-like powerhouse whose creations appear everywhere from movies to books to toys.
The most iconic characters to debut in a phone app to date are, of course, the Angry Birds. They’re already licensing superstars. The Outfit7 troupe hasn’t seeped into the public consciousness to that degree. But they were meant to be personalities from the beginning (unlike the Birds, who–let’s face it–are weaponry more than characters). I’ll be interested to see whether their appeal transfers to other media, and whether it’s possible to give them a bit more depth so people keep on caring for them throughout a film or storybook.