Netflix to launch ‘Exploding Kittens’ mobile game and new animated TV series

  • The streaming giant is teaming up with the creators of the beloved and offbeat card game on a TV and mobile game franchise
  • The series will be an adult animated comedy featuring a voice cast led by Tom Ellis and Lucy Liu
Tribune News Service |

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Netflix is launching an “Exploding Kittens” mobile game in May; also in the works is an animated series inspired by the game. Graphic: Exploding Kittens/Netflix/TNS

Exploding Kittens Inc has sold more than 18 million copies of its hugely popular, eponymous card game around the world.

Now the Los Angeles company is bringing its iconic cats to the world’s largest streaming company.

Netflix will launch an Exploding Kittens mobile game in May. Also in the works is an animated series inspired by the game in which God and the devil come to earth in the form of chunky house cats, set to debut next year.

The first-of-its-kind deal comes as Netflix looks to invest in the burgeoning video gaming sector embraced by younger audiences.

“The co-development of a game and animated series breaks new ground for Netflix,” Mike Moon, Netflix’s head of adult animation, said in a statement. “And we couldn’t think of a better game to build a universe around than Exploding Kittens, one of the most inventive, iconic and original games of this century!”

Exploding Kittens was launched on fundraising site Kickstarter in 2015 by chief executive Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, the company’s chief creative officer and creator of the comics website the Oatmeal, and Shane Small, the game’s co-creator.

The Kickstarter campaign raised US$8.7 million in 30 days, according to Exploding Kittens. Today, the game, which costs about US$20, has been translated into 30 languages.

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Similar to the game Uno, players draw cards and try to avoid the exploding kitten – which can end the game for a player (although there are ways to extend the game, such as using a defuse card).

Netflix’s mobile game, based on the original Exploding Kittens and free to Netflix subscribers, will add two new cards: radar, which shows players where the closest Exploding Kitten is in the deck, and flip-flop, which reverses the deck.

The Exploding Kittens adult animated series will star actors including Tom Ellis (drama Lucifer), Lucy Liu, Abraham Lim (drama Clickbait), Ally Maki (comedy Wrecked), Mark Proksch (vampire mockumentary series What We Do In The Shadows) and Sasheer Zamata (comedy Woke). The showrunners will be Shane Kosakowski and Inman.

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“Netflix is the only service that could bring Exploding Kittens to life in both a series and a game,” Inman said in a statement. “The new series and game will give our fans new ways to connect and interact with the franchise.”

The Los Gatos-based streamer has been expanding its presence in gaming through acquisitions. Last year, it acquired Glendale-based game maker Night School and in March it announced plans to buy Finnish mobile game developer and publisher Next Games.

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