October 1, 2013

Kung-fu princess delivers action and insight in new transmedia property celebrated at MIPJunior

Canada Media Fund and Telefilm highlight ‘Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess’ in Best of Canada Showcase at global kids programming event

(Virtual Press Office) -- When it comes to family-friendly content, positive role models, and broad audience appeal across ages and genders, kung fu and video games aren’t normally the first things that come to mind.

But Toronto-based studio Mark Animation is set to change that with the release of its new transmedia property Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess, which shows there’s more to the ancient martial art than punches and kicks.

“We avoided the clichés of kung fu and instead sought to capture the essence of kung fu,” explains Creative Director Drew Parker. “Kung Fu is actually about self-improvement, self-control, and using soft energy to diffuse conflicts and aggression.”

These principles set the theme for engaging stories told through a CG-animated television series, digital comics, and an iPad-exclusive video game due in the App Store this Fall. In these, Shuyan, a kind-hearted Chinese princess with an explosive temper, is trapped in a foreign land. If she is ever to return home, she must discover the essence of true kung fu—to fight without fighting.

“Of course, these aren’t values that apply only to combat situations, and they aren’t exclusive to the young male demographic,” says Co-Producer Jason Loftus. “There’s something here that everyone can take away, relate to, and enjoy.”

The team also translated this theme into a totally unique combat game mechanic that actually rewards self-control and restraint. They elected to deliver it via the iPad because of how widely the device has been adopted across ages and genders.

“The iPad offers a really broad audience and, if a game is designed well, a very low barrier to entry,” says Loftus. “That was important to us.”

“Because they are a relatively new gaming platform, designing for tablets allows us to start with a clean slate rather than being bound by old ideas and approaches,” says Parker. “In Shuyan, we aimed to replicate real kung-fu movements right in your fingertips through entirely intuitive tapping and swiping.”

Mark Animation features a cross-cultural team with artists originally from Asia and North America. This diversity contributed to the unique art style. The game’s gorgeous cut-scenes are styled like a graphic novel and were drawn by a former Star Wars comic artist originally from China. Backdrops were hand-painted by a Chinese painter, and characters in the game and TV series were animated using the company’s in-house motion-capture studio with a trained kung-fu artist. The properties also feature authentic Chinese musical scores.

Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess is backed by the Canada Media Fund, Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Ontario Interactive Digital Media Fund, and multi-language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television.

Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess is being featured in the “Best of Canada” showcase at MIP Jr. in Cannes, France on October 6. Contact Jason Loftus at 416-737-5302 or, or visit to learn more.

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