QCODE has announced the release date of their all-new fantasy epic podcast series Birds of Empire. I received an early release of episode one, and it’s an amazing audio experience that’s worth sitting in a comfy chair, pouring a cup of coffee, closing your eyes, and letting your imagination transfer your mind to another world. It’s unlike any audiobook or podcast you’ve experienced thus far.
The upcoming series from the writer and producer Jason Lew (HBO’s Insecure) is being described as a “modern folk-epic in the vein of Game of Thrones that blends history, fantasy, and myth.” According to QCODE, it’s the company’s biggest release so far. The series features eight episodes that each run about 45 minutes in length.
If I were to describe it in a single sentence, I would say it’s on par with the first time I watched the Lord of the Rings in the theater, but in a cinematic audio experience. When paired with quality headphones (I used the new AirPods Pro), it’s a completely immersive experience. The show is set in New Dakota, but it’s 15,000 CE, and it’s been thousands of years since the fall of civilization.
The Earth has reclaimed the cities and glories of the modern world, reducing humankind to prehistoric tribal life. The old world is known only through myths and fables handed down through lost generations. Having barely survived, humanity has returned to a way of life more closely resembling civilizations of the ancient past: The Bears, The Rams, The Birds, and The Wolves.
Book 1 – The Dawn Age serves as an introduction to each of the four young people from the clans as we see the rise of the first empire of the new Earth. The first season (Book 1) includes 8 episodes — four full cast episodes with each focusing on one of the clans and in between each one there are four “Legends and Lore” episodes which give more of the history of the world from the perspective of the storyteller character (The Keeper).
The cast of the Birds of Empire is led by Bianca Norwood (We Crashed)Jorge Diaz (American Carnage), Jacques Colimon (The Society), and Ashley Romance (Y: The Last Man). The show will be QCODE’s first attempt at the world of immersive fantasy storytelling. In addition, the QCODE Sound design team partnered with Randy Torres, who has previously worked on projects such as Tenet, Interstellarand Dunkirk. Book 1 is mixed in spatial audio with DOLBY ATMOS for an incredible experience.
The series is set to arrive on Apple Podcasts (with a QCode+ option), Spotify, Overcast, or wherever podcasts are available on November 28. As someone who’s already experienced (yes, experienced is the only word to describe it), it’s set to be one of the most-listened-to podcasts of the holiday season.
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As someone who’s been listening to audiobooks for 20+ years, I am so happy to see the continued rise of dramatic storytelling for audio-only experiences. I love letting my mind transport me into another world as I close my eyes. From an accessibility perspective, it allows people who cannot enjoy the normal cinematic experience an option to immerse themselves in another world. If Birds of Empire of any indication of what’s to come from audio-based storytelling, the future is bright. QCODE has over two dozen shows mastered in Dolby ATMOS and ready for distribution as soon as that technology is supported by the various podcast platforms.
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