Creative Wales has provided advice and guidance to Fictioneers for Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up, An Augmented Reality Story, the much-loved Aardman characters’ mission to ‘fix up’ cities through a new interactive phone app.
Launched this month, The Big Fix Up is Wallace & Gromit’s first venture into AR, and was born from a partnership between a strong Welsh consortium, Fictioneers, and multi award-winning independent studio Aardman. With Creative Wales encouragement and support, Wales-based Tiny Rebel Games led a consortium bid to create Fictioneers with fellow Welsh multi-skilled innovation studio Sugar Creative, and Potato, an award-winning digital product studio based in London and San Francisco. Fictioneers also worked with the University of South Wales to create the Audience of the Future ‘Moving Image’ demonstrator.
Tiny Rebel Games is a publisher and developer of richly designed and addictive games for mobile and other platforms, and great example of digital entrepreneurs operating in Wales. Susan and Lee Cummings spent 19 years living and working in New York City and Hollywood on global hits like Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock and Borderlands, before relocating to Lee’s Welsh homeland in 2016, where success continued with the award-winning Doctor Who: Legacy game
The Big Fix Up app uses the power of augmented reality to follow the iconic characters in their latest business venture, Spick & Spanners, as they recruit app players to take on the challenge of fixing up Aardman’s home city of Bristol, before rolling out in future to ‘fix up’ other cities.
Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director for Creative Wales said:
“The Big Fix Up is an exciting new app with the global appeal of the Wallace & Gromit characters, and through Fictioneers it has a significant Welsh footprint. We encouraged and supported Tiny Rebel Games to put together a consortium bid at the outset, through our specialist team.
"We have advised them through the creation of Fictioneers, and brought in the talents of University of South Wales students, who have benefitted tremendously through up skilling and internships over the course of the project.
"Both Tiny Rebel Games and Sugar Creative have received previous financial support from Creative Wales and it’s great to see them making this step forward in their growth.
The Big Fix Up is voiced by award-winning British actors Miriam Margolyes and Jim Carter, along with Isy Suttie, Grace Ahmed, Joe Sugg and Ben Whitehead as Wallace.
Available on iOS and Android devices in the UK, US and Canada, the free app creates a narrative-driven experience, taking the user through AR gameplay, CG animations, in-character phone calls, extended reality (XR) portals, and comic strips. Using the latest technology, fans will be able to interact in a host of new ways and get closer than ever to Wallace & Gromit. The experience is rich and multi-layered, realised through innovation and technology.
Richard Saggers, Chief Operating Officer, Fictioneers said:
"We are incredibly proud of The Big Fix Up, which will be the first immersive adventure from our new venture Fictioneers. It’s been an amazing collaboration among the three partners Potato, Tiny Rebel Games and Sugar Creative, and of course the wonderful team at Aardman.
"It’s truly groundbreaking work which demonstrates the huge opportunity to evolve the ways stories are told. Above all it’s a great example of what a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of creative talents can achieve together.
Merlin Crossingham, Creative Director of Wallace & Gromit at Aardman said:
“Wallace & Gromit have innovation, gadgets, and technology at the comedic heart of their world. Working with Fictioneers to create The Big Fix Up has been a perfect fit, allowing us to bring the duo’s fantastic fictional contraptions right into our audiences homes using the latest real technology.
Using 3D mapping platform Fantasmo, Fictioneers created a city-scale augmented reality experience to bring the Bristol city centre to life at home. Fictioneers worked with Unity Technologies, using its new Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio product and AR Foundation toolkit to build mixed reality and AR applications.
The Big Fix Up received a multi-million-pound grant from Innovate UK and is also backed by funding from the Government’s UK Research & Innovation.