Cartoon Network has ordered “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes,” a new series from creator Ian Jones-Quartey. In addition to the series, Cartoon Network and indie video game studio Capybara Games have also developed an integrated console game based on the title and slated for release in the fall.
“OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” follows the heroic feats of K.O., described as an endlessly optimistic kid attempting to level up to be the best he can be in a dynamic universe of friends and challenging foes. The series is set in Lakewood Plaza, a local mall where K.O. and other aspiring heroes work to impress each other and level up.
The series order follows a two-year development process that saw Cartoon Network and Jones-Quartey work with the gaming and animation communities to refine the initial concept based on Jones-Quartey’s original animated short. Last year, Cartoon Network held a game-jam event in which it invited independent game developers to create their own games based on characters in the series. At a subsequent animation jam, college undergraduates were invited to create 15-second shorts based on the show. Ideas from both events were woven into the series, as well as a standalone mobile game, “OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo,” which was based on Jones-Quartey’s original animation short and launched last year.
“It presented itself as something entirely new,” said said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “We were kind of unsure about which way to go with the development. It didn’t feel right to jump right into a TV series. Then we realized that we were thinking about this the wrong way.”
The non-traditional development process for “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” follows a similar path to that of “Mighty Magiswords,” which Cartoon Network ordered to series last year after first developing it as a series of interactive short videos on the Cartoon Network Anything app. “Mighty Magiswords” was renewed for a second season in February. That project and “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” are both part of an overarching effort at Cartoon Network to put creators and concepts at the center of connected worlds that reach into gaming, consumer merchandise, and other arenas.
“We thought, O.K., this is a great opportunity to do that,” Sorcher said. “Let’s use this property as a way to come up with a new template for original IP overall.”
“OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes” is produced by Cartoon Network Studios. Jones-Quartey began at Cartoon Network as a storyboard artist on “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome,” and recently served as co-executive producer on “Steven Universe.” He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Watch the series’ opening-title sequence below: