UK Government funds £4m development of immersive experiences for Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders
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UK Government funds £4m development of immersive experiences for Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders

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Immersive experiences based on Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders are to be developed with UK government funding, as part of the UK's modern Industrial Strategy.

An announcement by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed that Wallace & Gromit producers Aardman are part of a consortium, which includes games developer Tiny Rebel Games, digital specialists Potato, creative agency Sugar Creative, and the University of South Wales.

The group has been tasked with developing new immersive storytelling experiences based on the series. Backed with £4m (US$5.17m, €4.64m) in government funding, it will put fans "right at the heart of the action" in these stories.

The BAFTA-award winning Peaky Blinders, a gritty post-World War 1 drama that follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family, is to be the basis of a new virtual reality drama game using Artificial Intelligence technology. London-based immersive VR studio Maze Theory is leading the project, which will see characters respond according to a player's gestures, movement, voice, sound and body language. It's due to launch in 2020.

These projects are among 21 in the creative industries that are receiving UK government funding totalling £12m (US$15.49m, €13.9m). Others include a National Theatre-led research initiative into ways to improve accessibility to theatres, and a research group looking at improving filming techniques and boosting voice interaction so that immersive, personalised experiences involving people interacting with their heroes are possible.

Overall, £33m (US$42.65m, €38.24m) has been put aside for the UK's immersive technology industry. The plan is to enable this sector to remain a world leader in film, TV and game productions, operating at the cutting edge of technology and creating thousands of jobs.

The Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders projects are among the last to be announced as part of the Audience of the Future Challenge, a funding programme led by the UK Research & Innovation body to create new immersive experiences and test them with large-scale audiences.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the success of programmes such as these have helped shape a creative sector that was already worth £100bn (US$129.09bn, €115.88bn) to the UK 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."

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