Puffin Books announced the launch of The Shadow War, an alternate reality game set in the Bond universe. The game was designed by Six to Start and written by Charlie Higson to create a parallel experience for Higson’s newest Young Bond novel, By Royal Command. The series is intended for 9-14 year old children, and has sold over three-quarters of a million copies in the UK alone. Over 35,000 fans of the series are registered as members of The Danger Society over at YoungBond.com. While the Shadow War is intended for children 9 years and older, the young at heart are still permitted to play.
The game is comprised of seven missions spanning seven weeks, culminating in a live event on October 8th featuring Charlie Higson, allowing players to ask questions and influence the game. Each mission takes about an hour, and allows players to work as a British SIS agent or a Soviet OGPU spy, exploring familiar locations. Player decisions will directly influence the outcome of the game. Players can join and leave at any point, and can even switch sides if they choose to defect.
Penguin Group has been experimenting with book publishing, most recently with We Tell Stories, a reimagining of six classic novels using different media created with the help of Six to Start. In addition, Jasper Fforde released an alternate reality game to promote his most recent Thursday Next novel under the Penguin imprint, First Among Sequels.
The first mission for The Shadow War will be revealed by Charlie Higson at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 23rd. The festival will also feature a panel exploring the future of ARGs including Dan Hon (Six to Start), Alex Fleetwood (Hide & Seek), David Varela (formerly of Mind Candy), and Yomi Ayeni (Expanding Universe).