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Opinion: Legend of Korra show changes are bad sign for Platinum game

The Legend of Korra from Platinum received its first real public showing this weekend at Comic-Con, and we were suitably impressed. Not all the news out of SDCC was positive for the show, however, and Nickelodeon's mishandling of one of its most popular shows doesn't bode well for the game.

Just as Comic-Con began, the show's official Tumblr announced that the remainder of the season would be moving to digital formats, no longer in its usual primetime slot. The word was made alongside lots of reassurance from co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino that the show isn't being canceled, and the fourth season is still on-track. Even so, this was one more sign of Nick's mismanagement this season, and gives reason for concern.

The third season of The Legend of Korra suffered a bizarre roll-out. Following an apparently accidental leak from a Mexican affiliate, Nick decided to scrap its entire PR plan and rush the episodes to air. While the original plan was to release the third season trailer premiere at San Diego Comic-Con and then have a steady ramp to the premiere, Nick instead put the trailer online quickly and started airing episodes only a week later, two at a time. 

This explains the mystery of the game's odd release timing. When the game was announced, it was said to take place between the second and third seasons. In the context of the original PR blueprint, this makes perfect sense. The game would be a story bridge for the next season just before it hits. Besides that, it would create a multimedia spectacle surrounding the show that would have served as a boon to both formats.

The follow-up to the popular show Avatar: The Last Airbender had a strong start in its first season, and was still going strong last year. This year's premiere was the lowest rated yet, but that's no surprise. By ditching its promotional plan, Nickelodeon all but assured that this year would slump. Now that it has, it appears ready to cut bait on the show. Season four might still be coming, but who can say in what format? Nickelodeon seems to be ignoring its own mistakes and is holding the show itself responsible.

Will that same disinterest from the network hurt the game? The botched release schedule already threatens to make the game dangerously isolated, disconnected from a story that has already moved well past it and far from a season that won't even have visibility on television anymore. Whatever promotion Nickelodeon had planned is likely to be pared down as well. We certainly won't see TV commercials running alongside new episodes, which alone would account for potentially millions of eyes on the game.

If our first look is any indication, Platinum is putting the same attention to detail into Korra as it does for its own original properties. It could certainly shape up to be something special, and word-of-mouth goes a long way in the gaming community. None of this mismanagement means the game will be an utter failure, but the network is certainly hobbling its chances to be a breakout hit.