British animation studio Aardman has officially announced a collaboration with Japan-based video game developer and publisher Bandai Namco. Aardman is best known for creating animated films, shorts and television series using the “claymation” technique, inspired by the movement of clay figurines. Popular Aardman works include the Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep franchises as well as the 2000 stop-motion animated film Chicken Run.
Little has been announced regarding the partnership, except that it will be kicking off sometime in 2021. The goal of the collaboration between Aardman and Bandai is to create a major project which will be released across multiple media, presumably including video games, film, and possibly television. According to Managing Director Sean Clarke, Aardman’s role in the project will be the creation of stories, characters and worlds.
In a public statement, Clarke said that Aardman was embarking on this journey because “interactive entertainment is a huge growth area within the entertainment world.” He said that the studio was interested in creating an experience which blends the acts of watching and playing.
This is not the first time that Aardman has teamed up with a video game publisher. In 2009, the studio produced a series of twelve short films using the “Flipnote Studio” feature from the Nintendo DSi. They have also licensed a number of their properties to appear in spin-off video games, including Shaun the Sheep for the Nintendo DS, Chicken Run for the Dreamcast, GameBoy Color and PlayStation, and several Wallace and Gromit titles appearing on multiple consoles.
Aardman has also previously worked with Bandai Namco on the 2018 narrative adventure title 11-11: Memories Retold, which explores the lives of two men during World War I. The game received generally favorable reviews and is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Currently, the upcoming collaboration is speculated to be an entirely IP, not based on any previous Aardman or Bandai creations.