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A ground-breaking digital experience using technology to enhance storytelling.

Summary

Now digital audiences can embark on an epic, mixed reality adventure, fully immersing themselves in the world of Wallace & Gromit. It’s the iconic duo’s first new story in over a decade, where users play an active role in helping to fix up Bristol.

Challenge

Until recently, traditional narratives have been two-dimensional. As audiences evolve, they’re wanting genuine agency in their experience. Something that’s more engaging and rewarding, yet free of all the usual tech gimmicks.

In a virtual world of games that track your every interaction, and expose children to unmoderated chatrooms, how do we create a pioneering narrative experience safe and accessible for all ages?

With the help of a multimillion pound grant by UK Research & Innovation, we embarked on an exciting digital adventure, developing an immersive story as nifty as any Wallace & Gromit gadget.

Testimonial

Testimonial from Merlin Crossingham, Creative Director

“Wallace and Gromit have innovation at the comedic heart of their world. Working with Fictioneers has been a perfect fit, allowing us to bring the duo’s fantastic fictional contraptions into audiences’ homes using the latest technology.”
Bernard Grubb sketch The Big Fix Up workshop 1

Vision

Our world-class skills in product strategy, designing and building for scale were instrumental in helping Aardman step beyond their traditional ways of working with linear narratives.

Early on, we identified a key gap: there were no tools to help design a more immersive, real-time experience. So, we decided to build a first-of-its-kind story ourselves.

We also wanted to combine audience-centered design practises with sheer craftsmanship to create rich, compelling worlds and characters. All enhanced by the technical union of Potato and our creative partners Sugar and Tiny Rebel.

Bringing together some of the world’s most innovative tech partners (Unity, Flutter, Fantasmo) our lean, agile project techniques effectively guided a pioneering collaboration. The aim was to collectively deliver a ground-breaking digital innovation.

Fictioneers full-bleed image

Change

The result was The Big Fix Up, an award-winning app that put mobile at the heart of the story, delivering an incredibly immersive experience at scale. Now, anyone with a smartphone could enjoy an interactive adventure combining AR, video, voice and mobile gaming - while our dedicated backend platform delivered real-time story editing.

The audience became employees of Wallace & Gromit’s new company, Spick & Spanners, bringing their favourite duo to life in AR as they interacted with the world around them. The app lets them help the pair carry out various odd jobs and get out of trouble - before solving the final mystery and saving the day. From augmented reality gameplay and CG animations, to in-character phone calls and extended reality (XR) portals, fans played a key role as the story unfolded in front of them.

To create even further engagement, the characters were voiced by much-loved celebrities, including Miriam Margolyes, Jim Carter, Isy Suttie, Joe Sugg and Ben Whitehead as Wallace.

A revolutionary form of storytelling emerged, allowing a Wallace & Gromit adventure to take place in the world of its audience - and vice versa - and become so much more than a traditional sitback experience.

Essentially, a unique tool for transmedia storytelling was born, allowing brands to build interactive mixed-reality narrative experiences. And, which can now inspire a variety of sporting and entertainment opportunities worldwide, handling a 100 000+ concurrent user-audience.

The Big Fix Up character group shot

Outcome

The Big Fix Up received more than 200 pieces of press coverage. It also helped shape Aardman’s future approach to animation and the use of CG-based tech.

The application went on to become ‘app of the day’ in multiple markets, with 350M+ PR and media impressions.

The Fictioneers platform was born out of this process. It provided the engine for a wide variety of interactive and immersive experiences on mobile devices and beyond.

The ability to create a high-fidelity, real-world scale AR immersion on lower-spec smartphones means more engaging and memorable experiences can now reach a far wider audience base.

Fix Up The City splash screen

Fixing up the cities

We saw an opportunity to extend The Big Fix Up into several other major cities, increasing audience reach and engagement. So, Fix Up the City was born.

Using hyper-precise digital scanning, we went on to transform not only Bristol, but Cardiff and San Francisco too. Large-scale outdoor augmented reality experiences enabled fans to take on a giant cleaning robot, interact with Wallace’s nifty rocket and watch Gromit take to the skies in his plane.

An experience that lets users connect deeper with their favourite cheese-loving inventor and his loyal hound.

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