Baobab Studios and 9 Story Media have partnered to bring Baobab’s Momoguro franchise, which is a popular gaming series Roblox, to television.
Burlingame, California-based Baobab created Momoguro as a cross-platform entertainment franchise, said CEO Maureen Fan in an interview with GamesBeat. And now Baobab is joining with 9 Story Media Group, a powerhouse in kids and family content, to create a TV series based on the Momoguro Roblox games.
The franchise has already captured the hearts of a global audience, with over 21 million visits and an impressive 87% positivity score on Roblox.
The strategic partnership aims to extend the enchanting Momoguro universe from the gaming realm to television screens, catering to children ages six to 12 years old. I’ve been covering Baobab since its beginning with the VR experience, Invasion!, a VR interactive film which came out in 2016, where a little bunny thwarts an alien invasion.
Maureen Fan is CEO of Baobab Studios.
Baobab Studios, which has earned ten Emmy award-winning achievements, created the Momoguro franchise in collaboration with creators Martin Allais and Nico Casavecchia. While many of Baobab’s projects have debuted on virtual reality, the Momoguro one debuted on Roblox.
“It’s a lot of work to make an IP,” Fan said. “We first figure out where we are going to put it when we develop an IP. We decided we would do a Roblox game and a digital collectibles game. If it did well, we’d use that momentum to prove there is demand for the TV show. Whenever we greenlight any IP, we do it if we believe it can go across all the media.”
She added, “And then we have to figure out what the connective tissue is going to be between all them ahead of time. What most people do is probably just try to make it a hit on one medium and then figure out how to adapt it into another. But I’d rather do the Marvel Cinematic Universe ahead of time. If it does do well, I’m not creatively locked into one medium.”
Development moved forward in parallel, but work on the TV show started first, even though the Roblox game debuted earlier. The focus on the game was to figure out the core loop for gameplay, while the storyline was really important for the TV show.
The Momoguro digital collectibles game, a creation of Baobab Studios and the first of its kind to be nominated for an Emmy Award, paved the way for the franchise’s expansion into television. The fantastical universe of Momoguro features imaginative creatures utilizing the magical power of Momoguro to unite and create powerful beings. The key theme revolves around the notion that they are “stronger together” if they can collaborate effectively.
“We’re delighted that Momoguro’s characters and universal theme of ‘stronger together’ has resonated with global audiences and gained such popularity with the family audience on Roblox. Our fans have told us it evokes the childhood nostalgia of Pokémon meeting Voltron,” said Fan. “We feel there is no better partner to grow this universe independently than with 9 Story, known worldwide for scaling hit children’sprograms through licensing and distribution across every major TV market.”
Story 9 Media
Momoguro is a digital collectibles game from Baobab.
Vince Commisso, CEO of 9 Story Media, said in a statement, “Momoguro is a fresh take on the hero genre, set in a rich world where two kids, born on opposing sides of an age-old feud, find a deep connection through self-expression. Just like the game, our heroes find themselves at the heart of a societal transformation that will put the power in the hands of kids.”
The new TV series will be co-produced by Baobab and 9 Story Media Group, with the aim of taking the Momoguro magic to a broader audience.
Today’s announcement aligns with Baobab’s track record of creating original IP for cutting-edge platforms. The studio has recently disclosed two Disney+ series: The Witchverse, a fantasy action-adventure based on the Emmy-winning interactive VR experience Baba Yaga, and Intercats, a cat workplace comedy based on the studio’s graphic novel series.
9 Story Media Group’s has more than 1,000 people and its series include the recent and upcoming shows Open Season: Call of Nature (Discovery Latam, Wildbrain Canada), Dee & Friends in Oz (Netflix), Lu & The Bally Bunch (Warner Bros. Discovery US, Latam and EMEA, CBC Kids), and A Kind of Spark Season 2 (BBC, CBC Kids and BYUtv).
As the Momoguro franchise leaps from Roblox to television, it promises to offer a fresh take on the hero genre, with a rich narrative set in a world where two kids, born on opposing sides of an age-old feud, discover a profound connection through self-expression.
Momoguro has been in the works for a few years, with a focus on GenZ audiences. This particular effort brought together Roblox and kids experts with the film and TV people. Fan said Roblox’s core of eight-year-olds to 12-year-olds was an ideal target for Momoguro. The kids felt like the IP was pretty and it was a fun game for the community.
9 Story Media, which has won 19 Emmys, has a licensing deal with Crayola for development, production and co-financing. They’re a top 10 company for distribution, licensing and production of digital media.
“We felt that 9 Story Media really understood the story and we bonded on a creative level,” Fan said. “That’s super important because the key is we want to make sure it’s handled well and can also take the IP further.”
Listening to fans
A toaster character that shoots toast in Momoguro.
“It reminds us of Pokémon meets Voltron,” said Fan. “That’s what fans are telling us, which is great. Instead of inorganic creatures coming together to form a giant thing, it’s organic. Think of little Pokémon coming together to form a giant. I think that concept was really fun.”
The theme also resonates because sometimes you have to sacrifice a smaller character for the greater good of the larger character who absorbs the smaller one, Fan said.
“It’s not only about individualism, right? That there’s a tradeoff. And I think that I think that resonates with people,” Fan said.
Hollywood and games
Momoguro is a Web3 digital collectibles game.
While it seems like Baobab stands at the intersection of Hollywood and games (one of our themes at our GamesBeat Summit 2024 event this year), Fan said her own background in games shows that the big revenue opportunity lies mostly in games. Still, she feels there is a real opportunity to merge the two together with great storytelling worthy of a big franchise and the superior business model of games.
“For us, it is really fascinating, though, because it’s been a long journey to figure out how to create IP for both games and television or film,” Fan said. “The people from each industry are so different culturally. You focus either on the core loop or story. But we’ve been doing that since the founding of our company. It’s been really hard and a real struggle to get one side to understand the other side and then merge the two together and empathize while creating together from the beginning.”
She added, “You can’t just like start with a film attack the game on later or vice versa. I think that many years of suffering have helped us get that competitive advantage of knowing what will work for both media and thinking about it from the start.”
Author: Dean Takahashi
Reviewed By: Editorial Team