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‘The Big Fix Up’ Needs Your Help, First Clip at Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit AR Adventure

‘The Big Fix Up’ Needs Your Help, First Clip at Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit AR Adventure

  • Get cracking and see a first look at Wallace and Gromit's 'The Big Fix Up' augmented reality adventure.

The cheese-loving eccentric inventor alongside his silent sidekick and pet beagle return in Aardman Animations’ Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up. The animation house released a first glimpse of the new CG adventure in over a decade, which is set to bring in a new type of viewing experience of the claymation duo through an immersive augmented reality.

The Big Fix-Up follows Wallace and Gromit’s new business venture, Spick & Spanners, that brings in the contract of a lifetime to “fix up” the city of Bristol, the home of Aardman.

The animation feature will be entirely a home-based experience, where fans will become a part of Wallace and Gromit’s story-driven adventure through new state-of-the-art technology using simply a smartphone.

Aardman Animation announced that “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.”

Dan Efergan, creative director of Aardman Interactive, first noticed a growing trend through Twitch, where he observed a player asking the audience to help him move objects within a game. He saw that thousands of players responded by logging in to help complete the task requested, while others watched and offered their suggestions via a live chat.

“It was a realization of how porous the distance between watching and playing was getting,” says Efergan. “For Aardman, in particular, it’s very much something that we’re considering because we think the blur between these platforms and the ways people interact with media is getting greater and greater.”

The concept of Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix-Up AR adventure is a story-based game where the audience can watch and interact with the story as it unfolds. The technology is similar to how Pokémon Go players can react to different locations and landmarks.

“It’s a combination of using the elements of gaming, storytelling and the physicality of a city to its best advantage,” Efergan says.

The immersive production is a partnership between Aardman and Fictioneers, a consortium of British companies including Potato, Sugar Creative and Tiny Rebel Games, with research support from the University of South Wales. Fictioneers first received the multimillion-pound R&D grant from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) as part of its Audience of the Future program to pioneer immersive experiences.

Susan Cummings, Co-Founder of Fictioneers and Managing Director of Tiny Rebel Games, said: “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.”

“Wallace & Gromit’s heart and soul is in stop motion, but they often dabbled in the cutting-edge of tech, and this is one of those occasions,” said Merlin Crossingham, Aardman’s creative director of Wallace & Gromit. He added that Nick Park, Wallace & Gromit creator, was involved in the project from the start and was “fundamental in getting Wallace & Gromit to feel comfortable in their new adventure.”

The new Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up will debut in Autumn 2020 in the UK, and will shortly follow a global release. Fans will be able to download a free app on supported Apple or Android smartphones, and play along at home as an official employee of Wallace & Gromit’s Spick & Spanners.

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