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Leading TV creators join up for immersive storytelling


Leading TV creators join up for immersive storytelling

The brains behind British favourites Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders are joining a consortium of developers to create new immersive storytelling experiences, putting fans at the heart of the action.

Award-winning Aardman, the makers of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep, are joined by developers Tiny Rebel Games, digital specialists Potato, creative agency Sugar Creative and the University of South Wales. Backed by £4 million government funding, the group will build on successes of Academy Award-winning films including The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave by taking the characters into the future of storytelling.

A further project is a new virtual reality drama game based on BAFTA-award winning Peaky Blinders using Artificial Intelligence technology: launching in 2020, it will mean that for the first time, characters will respond according to the players’ gestures, movement, voice, sound and body language. The project is being led by London-based immersive VR studio, Maze Theory.  

The government is investing £33 million to ensure the UK’s immersive technology industry cements its place as a world-leader in film, TV and game productions for the future, remaining at the cutting edge of the latest technologies and creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

The projects are part of the Audience of the Future challenge – one of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Funds led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Success stories like award-winning Wallace & Gromit and BAFTA-winning Peaky Blinders are part of the reason why our creative industries are truly world-leading – attracting audiences both here in the UK and internationally and helping create a sector already worth some £100 billion to our economy.

“It’s why through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re investing to build on this huge global demand for UK creative content and ensure we lead the world in the next generation of entertainment.

“This backing will also give our home-grown talent the opportunity to lead the way in creating and using virtual and augmented reality technologies, remain at the cutting edge and create thousands of highly-skilled jobs.”

Aardman and the consortium are behind one of the 21 projects benefiting from government investment in the creative industries – receiving a share of £12 million of the £33 million ministers have made available.

Other projects that the government is investing in include:

  • Improving theatre experiences for a more diverse audience, including personalised sign-language displays for British Sign Language (BSL) users, translation captions for non-English speakers and audio descriptions for visually impaired people. The project led by the National Theatre will research the technical and production means to deliver these initiatives to improve accessibility.
  • Making it possible for people to meet their heroes, with personalised storytelling and conversation through virtual reality. Forever Holdings will bring together a research group to transform these immersive encounters, by improving filming techniques and boosting voice interaction.
  • Offering businesses immersive learning solutions for employees where they can use virtual and mixed reality headsets to learn at their own pace and repeat tasks as often as required. Holohub would make this platform available to businesses for them to distribute it to staff and track performance.  

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is part of government’s Industrial Strategy, the long-term plan to raise productivity and earning power in the UK. The fund is a core pillar in the government’s commitment to increase funding in research and development by £4.7 billion over 4 years to strengthen UK science and business.

UKRI Challenge Director for Audience of the Future, Professor Andrew Chitty said:

“It’s fantastic that we complete our line-up of audience facing demonstrators with this hugely ambitious collaboration between Tiny Rebel Games, Potato, Sugar and the creators of Wallace and Gromit. 

“Their aim to revolutionise Augmented Reality gaming along with the advances in AI, haptics, audience interaction and film production technologies from our other competition winners means the public will be able to try out some truly ground breaking experiences over the next 18 months.”

Further information

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