A new Wallace & Gromit adventure is to be released via an app this autumn, using cutting edge augmented technology to allow fans to interact with the characters.
Augmented reality gaming has been made popular in recent years via apps such as Pokémon GO, in which visual and audio content is delivered in real time to a phone.
Aardman Animations say: "For the first time ever, Wallace and Gromit will bring fans directly into their adventures via The Big Fix Up: a first of its kind, story-driven experience that promises to bring together these globally iconic characters and state-of-the-art technology."
Aardman has partnered with Fictioneers, a consortium of British companies (including Potato, Sugar Creative and Tiny Rebel Games); University Of South Wales; and UK Research & Innovation, to work on this new project.
They explain: "Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up is a new, augmented Wallace & Gromit story, which will bring Wallace and Gromit alive in an entirely new way, while creating a cutting-edge new platform for storytelling. Rendered in CG using the latest technology, fans will be able to interact in a host of new ways and get closer than ever to the iconic duo. The experience will be rich and multi-layered, realised through innovation and technology."
Talking about the plot, the producers tease: "Later this year, join Wallace and his faithful hound as their latest business venture, Spick & Spanners, takes on the contract of a lifetime: to 'Fix Up' Bristol. Fans will be invited to download a free app and play along at home, as an employee, and for the first time ever, be able to step directly into the world of Wallace & Gromit.
"The story will play out in a variety of different types of media, to tell the beats of a story: multi-user AR gameplay, new CG animations, in character phone calls, comic strips, Extended Reality (XR) portals and more. All brought together in a mobile app, used as a 'window' into their world."
Following its initial UK launch in the autumn, Fictioneers plan to roll out The Big Fix Up globally. "The new Wallace & Gromit story is an entirely home-based experience, meaning it is accessible to all with a recent smartphone. The Big Fix Up is set in the city of Bristol, the home of Aardman, but people from all across the UK will be able to take part in the full end-to-end adventure, which will see Wallace, Gromit, and an exciting cast of new characters appear in their very own homes!"
Susan Cummings, co-founder of Fictioneers, comments: "We're thrilled to be working with our friends at Aardman to deliver the first augmented Wallace & Gromit story. We, at Fictioneers, are on a mission to innovate storytelling with our groundbreaking methodology. It is a rare privilege to be able to do so with some of the most beloved animated characters in the world and to give fans the first opportunity to join in Wallace & Gromit's story."
Aardman's Merlin Crossingham says: "Aardman is a multi-faceted creative studio and is just as happy with classic film making as it is with new and emerging technologies. Wallace and Gromit's heart and soul is in stop motion, but they have often dabbled in the cutting-edge of tech, and this is one of those occasions. We are delighted to join forces with the amazing folk at Fictioneers to take Wallace and Gromit on a new adventure in such a groundbreaking way."
Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up will launch autumn 2020. To sign up to the mailing list visit thebigfixup.co.uk