EXCLUSIVE: Xbox Entertainment Studios and TV producer Stephen David (The Men Who Built America) have teamed to develop a groundbreaking new hybrid series. Utilizing still-in-development Xbox tech, the project combines interactive gaming and docudrama storytelling similar to the content David’s Stephen David Entertainment shingle has produced for History, NatGeo, TLC, and Lifetime. It’s still early out on the project, which is eyeing a 2015 debut, and Xbox is keeping mum on the technology to be used in the series. According to David, it’s “like playing television – true interaction with real history.” The currently untitled project will cover centuries of history and tackle iconic true tales from the world’s greatest civilizations.
Plan is to launch 8-10 hourlong episodes starting with lead-off installment “13 Days Of Blood”. “The first installment will tell the lesser-known story of the Roman Empire through the lens of Commodus, the ‘gladiator emperor’ who created 13 days of bloody ‘games’ in the Colosseum. The series will weave interviews with scripted scenes, and will also introduce a new, interactive technology that will bring fight scenes to life in a way never before seen in television,” a Microsoft spokesperson tells me. Each episode will cover a different civilization. The deal came together when the vidgame company’s January hire, head of unscripted programming Ari Mark, went for a pitch from David, with whom he previously developed content at AMC. David is exec producing the series, which XBox is financing. SDE’s upcoming TV properties include Memorial Day debut World Wars for History, scripted miniseries Sons of Liberty, Discovery docu-hybrid The West produced with Robert Redford, and docuseries American Genius for NatGeo.