Pitch & Produce | GUARDIAN MAIA: Film & Game Project to Engage and Inspire Younger Māori Generations

Maru Nihoniho – Founder & Managing Director of Metia Interactive

Maru Nihoniho

Hi my name is Maru Nihoniho and I’m the founder of Metia Interactive a games studio based in Auckland, New Zealand. As a games designer and producer my focus is on indigenous storytelling as culture-based stories are hugely influential and are a powerful outlet for engagement and learning. I have designed several projects that tell Māori stories.  They have been produced to engage and inspire our younger generations and a great way to connect everyone to our culture as well.

Our biggest story development to date is a fictional story called Guardian Maia.  It is a story we have designed that incorporates the mythology of the Māori culture.  The story follows the journey of a young woman named Maia through a dystopian New Zealand. The first part of the story Guardian Maia Episode One is currently released as interactive fiction on the App Store and Google Play with the conclusion being released in early 2021.

Since releasing our story, we have looked at ways to bring the story to life. Our first step was to create imagery including storyboards which then led into the idea of creating an animation. Our challenge was to find a pipeline to help us develop an animation efficiently with a small team. We found that the Character Creator and iClone Pipeline met our needs and provided the essential tools to create our animation and yet be flexible enough to allow us to bring in other assets into the project if needed.  Through the animation process, we realized that using the Character Creator and iClone software with the Unreal Engine a real potential to build a game prototype existed; that will be our next project to work on as soon as our animation is finished.

“Easy to use, flexible, timesaving describes our experience with the Character Creator, iClone and Unreal Live Link pipelines.  A great solution for quickly creating and bringing content to life especially so for a small team like ours.  The Reallusion products are now an essential part of our design and development pipeline.”

Maru Nihoniho – Founder & Managing Director of Metia Interactive
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