Wallace and Gromit, the emphatically British inventor-and-dog duo, are returning to our screens for the first time in a decade, with a technological twist that would make Wallace himself proud.
For the first time, the characters will star in their own augmented reality (ar) experience. Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up sees them embark on a new business venture, Spick & Spanners, through which they receive a commission to “fix up” the English city of Bristol. Users will get to join the venture as a colleague. Watch the project’s first official trailer below:
The Big Fix Up will be available as a free app on recent-model Apple and Android smartphones. It is due to be released in the U.K. in the fall, with a global rollout following. It will harness various media, including “multi-user ar gameplay, in-character phone calls, comic strips, extended reality portals, and more.” The producers are using the 3d mapping platform Fantasmo to recreate Bristol in the app.
First announced last year, the project is a joint initiative from the Bristol-based Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, and Fictioneers, a collaboration between three British digital media companies: Potato, Sugar Creative, and Tiny Rebel Games. The University of South Wales is providing research support, and the project is backed by a multi-million-dollar grant from public body Innovate U.K.
Wallace and Gromit first appeared in Nick Park’s 1989 short A Grand Day Out. The characters were developed in a number of shorts and one feature, three of which won Oscars. While those films were animated in stop motion using plasticine figures, The Big Fix Up will be in cgi. Park is said to be involved in the project.
Aardman’s Merlin Crossingham, creative director of Wallace and Gromit, said in a statement: “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.”
For more information and updates about the project, head to its official website.