To bring all the action of DreamWorks Animation and Prime Video’s new original kids series Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny to your home, RAIN partnered with Prime Video to build a multi-level gaming skill for Alexa. The skill brings the timeless messages behind the series to life, allowing children to interact with Master Po and his panda students, focus their ch’i, and discover the secrets of kung fu for themselves.

The game captures the voices and personality from the animated Prime Original series in a conversational experience, through a series of chambers that build progressively to share the lessons of kung fu — helping kids master the concepts of Patience, Spirit, Compassion and Flexibility. Taking your child under his wing (er, paw), Dragon Master Po instructs players on along their Kung Fu quest of knowledge, encouraging them to both move their bodies and expand their minds.

Designing for a young audience

Translating an iconic DreamWorks property to voice to allow kids to engage with the characters required a few key design considerations. The role of instructions, prompts, sound and the overall mechanics of the game needed to be aligned with what families have come to know and love about Master Po and his adventures. And keeping our young audience in mind, we needed to ensure that the instructions were clear, simple and available to the player not only at the beginning of the game, but also at points of failure as well as via contextual help along the way.

Additionally, we thought through the mechanics of the game, managing its difficulty level, and defining “wins” & “losses” and how to help direct those having trouble progressing through the game.

The skill brings the timeless messages behind the series to life, allowing children to interact with Master Po and his panda students, focus their ch’i, and discover the secrets of kung fu for themselves.

We also made a decision about how to handle the interaction with the skill. While it is an Alexa skill, Alexa’s voice is not heard in the experience. This was by design, as it was important that the kids that play the skill become immediately immersed in the world of Kung Fu Panda. With that in mind, the skill features immersive custom-recorded audio and sound design to enhance the experience and bring the child into the world of Master Po and his panda students.

Using dialogue, audio and voice talent to keep the experience on-brand and representative of the show, sound was important to the entire experience — it plays a key role in signifying correct & incorrect progress, as well as a signal for the user to speak to its characters.

“The moment the child invokes the skill they are greeted with a clash of gongs and the sounds of the chambers of kung fu mastery that await them,” said Greg Hedges, VP of Emerging Experiences at RAIN. “It was important to us that Po takes them immediately into his world, keeping a true level of fidelity to the property and suspending reality while encouraging kids to feel like they are talking to Po himself.”

The game features simple interactions building upon one another as the user makes their way through four chambers and into their final training. For those with screen-based devices like the Echo Spot, Show or Fire TV, the skill offers a visual experience as users make their way through the game. The Kung Fu Panda skill integrates Alexa Programming Language (APL) to enhance the experience with show-related art and prompts. APL, which launched in September 2018, allows for custom design and responsive access no matter the screen-based device.

To experience the game for yourself, just tell any Alexa-enabled device to “start Kung Fu Panda” and check out the new Prime Original series, DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, on Prime Video now.