Described by one critic as "Narnia meets Pokemon, via Harry Potter", Beast Quest in an interesting, well, beast.
Devised first as a series of novels, the Beast Quest series has hooked young readers with its simple tales of swords, magic and adventure. However, the series is the product of a unique approach to world-building. The moniker ‘Adam Blade’ is one that is passed around a team of authors, with an ever-rotating cast, who have collaboratively built a world that combines the best of fantasy literature with the excitement of video games.
"The book series was written with video games in mind," explains Naomi Dare, head of digital at independent international media group, Coolabi.
"We all work in the same office, so when we’re creating the game we can collaborate with the ones who are creating the world. The series was developed to inspire and engage teenage boys who are into playing games."
It’s a wonder then, that it has taken it’s this long for the series to make its foray into gaming, as the novels have been delighting readers since 2007.
"The IP has come full-circle," she continues. "A lot of people who read the books when they were younger are coming to the game with nostalgia. Its had over 18 million books sold, so there is a very strong base who helped us attract a partner for the game."
"We created a mobile app for Beast Quest three years ago with MiniClip, which was very successful and from here we approached Maximum Games who then appointed Torus Games to develop Beast Quest. The three companies collaborated very closely during development across the UK, US and Australia."
The balance is always ensuring that the books world, rules and characters don’t restrict the gameplay
Naomi Dare, Coolabi
Now, Coolabi is looking to take the campaign for Beast Quest to the next level with a multiplatform licensing program, aiming to position the IP as an evergreen property with young boys.
"We’re also working with No Yetis Allowed for a Tamagotchi-style mobile app, where you can raise your own beasts, as well as another gaming project that we’ll be detailing soon," explains Dare.
"We’re also launching apparel with Fashion UK, using art from the game in addition to toys, back-to-school and homewares."
Outside of The Witcher and various game tie-ins for films like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, the world of literature remains a relatively untapped well for the video game market. Although Beast Quest is a budget-release, without the visual fidelity of some of the higher-tier titles, Coolabi clearly has grand plans to build the franchise off the back of this latest effort.
"The balance is always ensuring that the books world, rules and characters don’t restrict the gameplay," elaborates Dare. "As long as the book’s concept allows for freedom to develop a good experience, you develop a really great product."
The firm is also looking to expand other entries in its library of brands to the gaming space as well including the likes of CBBC property Scream Street and feline book series Warriors.
"We call Warriors, ‘Game of Thrones for cats’," chuckles Dare. "It sold 35 million copies and has a massive potential for licensing as well with huge amounts of user-generated content emerging online."
"We’ve also got some live experiential events in the works," concludes Dare. "We’ll have lots of more exciting things to reveal at the end of the year."