(Channel 4)

Re-enact 1066 in our ferocious multi-player game, designed to educate and engage teens in a historical gore-fest

The brief

Channel 4 commissioned a two-part drama documentary about 1066 and the battle for Middle Earth. The online element of the educational commission was to develop a historically accurate interactive game with a broad remit to educate and entertain a young and difficult to reach 10-16 year old core demographic. Whilst the TV show was in two parts and broadcast on consecutive days, the online offering needed to have significant longevity and act as standalone content.

Our response

We developed a distinctly unique online strategy game, enabling the target audience to play an educational re-enactment of the English battles and the Norman conquest. The game puts you in the thick of the action with direct control over every arrow barrage, cavalry charge and defensive stand taken by your armies. Mini-games add to the tension of resolving issued commands, and a striking visual style using dramatic animation delivers a distinctive portrayal of medieval warfare.

The game depicts a factual representation of units, troops, numbers and formations all accurately depicted as they would have been in real battle. Taunts used in battle are also accurately portrayed as they would have been at the time, using insults like ‘raven starver’ and ‘dog scutt’ to damage your opponent’s morale.

A multiplayer option offers the chance to test your mettle against friends or other 1066 players. Rather than just relying on factual statistics, victory also depends on the morale of your troops which played a crucial role on theĀ 11th century battlefields. Taunts, chants and the presence of a strong leader will all prove key to winning the day.

1066 tells its stories through vivid animations voiced by Oscar-nominated Ian Holm, famous for his roles in Alien and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The game balances this factual core with some of the freshest ideas in game design, drawing on such acclaimed and varied titles as Advance Wars, WarioWare and Patapon.

The game was tested throughout development to ensure the gameplay and subject matter were as focused and playable as possible. All animations, blood splatters and audio were created to ensure resonance with the demographic.

Since launching in May 2009, the game has received an overwhelmingly positive response from both the gaming community and online press.

The project has received no marketing budget, simply relying on the audience and community to seed and share between themselves. The traffic to date is testament to the quality of the game and the compelling nature of the content.

The Multi-player mode plays a large part in the distribution mechanic of the game and this is reflected in the continued and sustained and growth in traffic and game-play duration.

"Preloaded are amazing: supremely talented, incredibly professional, and best of all, fantastically nice people. An absolute delight to work with!"

Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor, C4 Education