Wallace & Gromit venture into AR with immersive storytelling app

Players take on the challenge of fixing up a city.

Wallace & Gromit: players will be employees at Wallace's business
Wallace & Gromit: players will be employees at Wallace's business

Wallace & Gromit have moved into augmented reality with an immersive storytelling app, where players take on the challenge of fixing up the city of Bristol.

"The big fix up" is a narrative-driven experience, taking the user through AR gameplay, CG animations, simulated in-character phone calls, extended reality (XR) portals and comic strips.

It is the first major story via any medium featuring the characters since 2010 TV miniseries Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention.

The story follows inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit's new business venture, Spick & Spanners, as it takes on a contract to "fix up" Bristol. Players take the role of the new employee of the company.

Bristol was selected as the location because it is where Aardman Animations, the studio behind Wallace & Gromit, is based.

Miriam Margolyes provides the voice of B.E.R.Y.L, an AI bot; Jim Carter is businessman Bernard Grubb, Isy Suttie is hacker Lily Hackerby and Ben Whitehead is Wallace. Grace Ahmed and Joe Sugg also provide voices for the game.

The app, available in the UK, US and Canada on iOS and Google Play, is free to download.

There are no in-app ads, and the main section of the app is not monetised. Instead, a "Playground" tab houses a bonus AR experience that sits outside the core story. 

In-app purchases are available as part of this bonus experience. Fictioneers, which is delivering the Aardman Animations project, will donate a proportion from the sale of every Gromit "Clever Pooch" to Wallace & Gromit's children's charity: The Grand Appeal, until 28 February 2021. Merchandise is also available.

A partnership with Snapchat includes a "Wallace" filter released on 18 January that was featured in carousels across the UK, US and Canada.

Fictioneers is a collaboration between commercial partners Potato, Sugar Creative and Tiny Rebel Games.

Tech partners on the project were Fantasmo and Unity. "The big fix up" is also backed by funding from the Government's UK Research & Innovation.

Scott Ewings, venture lead at Potato and co-founder of Fictioneers, said: "We are really excited to launch 'The big fix up', the first release from our new Fictioneers studio. We believe it's a first-of-its-kind experience, part of our vision to harness multiple technologies, media types and formats to tell enhanced, collaborative and immersive stories in real-time.

"To do this, we have developed a software platform, the MUST Platform, to enable creative teams to design real-time stories, timelines and activities and then integrate a variety of transmedia to support those stories. With 'The big fix up', we have created a new, rich and multi-layered experience, where, for the first time ever, you can become part of Wallace & Gromit's story. This will be the first of many releases using the Fictioneers platform."