20 May 2008
Licorice Film is today launching The Sky Remains, a groundbreaking alternate reality game (ARG) experience combining interactive narrative, social networking and GPS-based technology. The Sky Remains aims to explore the usability, effectiveness, entertainment and commercialisation of the latest trend in games – ARGs. Based in Bristol, UK, the team at Licorice Film are recognised as world-class producers of grass-roots ARGs and The Sky Remains is the first to utilise social networking and GPS treasure hunts.
The Sky Remains is a sci-fi mystery set in the Sixth Dimension, where gamers are new recruits in a detective agency, collecting clues from cyberspace and the real world to solve crimes. Game-play will centre on a dedicated networking site ( www.skyremains.com) administered by Licorice Film, where players will be able to watch and upload video content and solve puzzles.
The Sky Remains will also use HP’s prototype mscapes technology (see www.mscapers.com). Jointly developed by HP Labs and HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG), mscapes creates a digital media overlay on a physical landscape to increase engagement with the real world. In The Sky Remains, mscapes will extend the experiences available to the participants as they solve the mysteries of the detective agency significantly enhancing the ARG’s mix of on-line and physical activity.
After solving the initial case, users will then be given the tool kit to create and customise their own cases and mscapes, allowing gamers to perpetuate the game.
Hazel Grian, Director, Licorice Film, said “Jon Williams and I have worked hard to meet the high expectations of our online fans, after the success of Meigeist. It’s great to be working with the people at HP Labs to include mscapes in the game experience as it gives us the ideal playground to experiment in new form whose audience is just going to grow and grow. We’re very excited.”
Phil Stenton, who leads the mscapes research team at HP Labs and is Director of Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio, added: “The Sky Remains is an exciting mix of ARG, social networking and mscape experiences. It can be enjoyed at different levels of participation whenever you have the time. It breaks new ground in allowing participants to extend the case files and keep the agency going. Hazel and Jon are among the leaders of ARG design and the success of their productions is helping to build the popularity of this emerging genre.”
Licorice Film’s previous work includes ARG project Meigeist, which was made in partnership with Arts Council England and HP Labs among others. The game has been designed and built by technical director Jonathan Williams. Writer/director Hazel Grian, described by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening as ‘funny filmmaking genius’, was also a writer and interactive director on season one of Bebo’s Kate Modern. The interactive drama has recently been nominated for two BAFTA awards in ‘Interactive Innovation – Content’ and ‘Interactive Innovation – Platform’.
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About Licorice Film:
Licorice Film Ltd is a Bristol-based production company, formed in 2005 by Founder and Creative Director, Hazel Grian. Licorice is a key producer of innovative digital entertainment and a major player in the UK creative scene.
In 2007, Hazel and Jonathan Williams co-created the Alternate Reality Games Meigeist supported by Arts Council England and HP Labs amongst others. Meigeist gained an online following of over 30,000 players worldwide, and positioned Hazel at the forefront of British gaming and a world-class maker of Alternate Reality Games.
Hazel, singled out as a ‘funny film making genius’ by Simpson’s creator Matt Groening has previously worked with bands such as Portishead, and in BBC Radio comedy and drama as well as with animation companies such as bolexbrothers.
In 2007, Hazel worked as story and script writer for Bebo’s KateModern, which was nominated for two BAFTA Online Innovation Awards.
Licorice Film is currently based in the new Pervasive Media studio in central Bristol.
Franklin Rae Communications
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