Century is to publish the first Minecraft fiction books this summer.
The series will be launched with the first standalone novel Minecraft: The Island, penned by Max Brooks, author of World War Z (Gerald Duckworth & Co).
Ben Brusey, deputy publisher at Century, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Denise Cronin, vice president and rights director at Random House. Del Rey will publish the Minecraft novels in the US.
Each novel in the series will take the reader deep into the "richly imagined" world of Minecraft, which has been played by over 100 million people globally. The Minecraft games are developed by Swedish video game developer and publisher Mojang.
Egmont publishes the non-fiction Minecraft series in the UK.
In the tradition of stories like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, Minecraft: The Island tells the story of a new hero stranded in the world of Minecraft, who must survive the harsh, unfamiliar environment and unravel the secrets of the island.
This summer’s launch will be one of Century’s lead fiction publications of the year. A "major" pre-awareness and multi-platform publicity and consumer campaign will reach Minecraft fans around the world, with advertising and retail merchandising planned to reach the broadest readership and range of outlets across the market.
Brooks said: "I'm very excited to be part of this new venture. Finally I can justify all those hours I've spent playing Minecraft."
Lydia Winters, brand director of Mojang, said: "From our first meeting with Max, we knew he would be a perfect fit for our first foray into novels based on Minecraft. His enthusiasm and understanding of all things related to the game bring out the sense of wonder and possibility that so many players love about Minecraft - ourselves included."
Brusey said that the publisher is "absolutely thrilled" to be partnering with Mojang to publish the Minecraft novels. "The game is a cultural phenomenon and the scope of this new series is simply massive", he said. "These novels will delight anyone who loves the game, and for the first time in fiction form will also take Minecraft to the broadest possible readership. To have someone of Max’s incredible talent and passion on board for the first standalone novel of the series is a dream pairing and we are honoured to be publishing him. This summer will be a major fiction event and Minecraft fans and new readers alike are in for a treat!”
Egmont’s Minecraft series launched in 2013 with four handbooks: The Official Beginner’s Handbook, The Official Redstone Handbook, The Official Construction Handbook and The Official Combat Handbook. Blockopedia followed in December 2014, with the four books selling eight million copies worldwide, according to the publisher. Last year it released Minecraft: The Survivors’ Book of Secrets in June (hardback, £5.99), and Minecraft: Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress in October (hardback, £12.99).