Egmont has teamed up with Michael Grant, author of the bestselling GONE series, and media studio The Shadow Gang to launch BZRK, a new cross-media series.
Egmont describes BZRK as a “storytelling experience” that brings together gaming and young adult fiction. A team of digital specialists including Rich Silverman, writer of alternate reality games (ARGs) includng "Heroes Evolutions" for NBC and "The Dark Knight" is involved.
BZRK is a YA thriller and its delivery in digital media as well as in print aims to engage digital natives, gamers and readers. Grant said: "[It's about] a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a very different world that is both familiar and utterly strange. It's a world where a single mistake can lead to death or, perhaps worse, to irreversible, shrieking madness."
The initial digital launch this September involves an ARG that will be made available via multiple channels including an iOS/Android game app, as well as a storyline delivered through the web and social networks. A hub website, GOBZRK.com, will provide the continuity for the experience leading up to and beyond the release of BZRK book one in February.
Grant said: “A key principle of the BZRK experience is that each piece is original. We are not interested in essentially telling the same story over and over again in different formats. Each piece of this—the ARG, the app, the site and the books—is a story unto itself, each revealing an aspect of the world of BZRK.”
Cally Poplak, Egmont Press managing director, said: “BZRK is a brilliantly original thriller. What particularly excites me is that it shows that a cracking story is what matters, and all formats, whether digital or print, serve that story, taking it to where the audience is.”
Mike Richards, Egmont head of marketing, added: “It’s an approach that encourages a community to form and participate in the story as it unfolds, which is a new way to publish for teenagers.”
The varying media launched over the six months before BZRK book one is released is the equivalent of a marketing campaign worth £1m, he said.