Mobile game dev Glu Mobile partners up with James Frey in transmedia deal

Here’s a completely bizarre news item to start your day with. Glu Mobile, one of the top names in the mobile game development space, is teaming up with James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces and co-author of last year’s young adult series debut, I Am Number Four. Glu will work with Frey’s publishing label Full Fathom Five “on the creation of a minimum of four original story ideas during the initial two-year term of the agreement,” a press release reveals.

Labeled as a transmedia collaboration, the partnership will see the newly developed ideas released in different mediums, including james-frey-adventure novels and mobile games. The concept of transmedia is hardly new, but there’s a tendency to lump such works in as adaptations, which is not the case. A true transmedia release delivers a story set in the universe of a known franchise, an independent story that doesn’t simply re-tell the events laid out in the source. A prequel comic book to a new or upcoming movie is an example of this.

Transmedia collaborations come in many forms and flavors, and games have been a regular focus for such products, moreso especially in recent years. This Glu/Full Fathom pairing is an unusual one at first glance, since there’s no plan (as far as we know) to extend the reach of the collaboration into the more popular transmedia realms of film/TV, comics and console games. Which isn’t to say this is a dumb move; Frey is a well-known figure and mobile games are huge in a way that has yet to be fully leveraged. Besides, if the stories conceived by the author are strong enough, other partnerships will surely come.

Frey is completely on board. “I’m thrilled to be working with Glu, an incredible company that makes incredible games,” he said in a statement. “Partnerships like this one are going to be a big part of the future of storytelling and gaming.”

Glu is similarly pleased with the new business arrangement. “We are thrilled to announce this groundbreaking partnership with James and Full Fathom Five,” company CEO Niccolo de Masi said. “Glu and James Frey have a shared vision for the future of mobile and transmedia digital entertainment. We look forward to developing compelling original content which will be published across different media. Properties will begin as novels and games on smartphones and tablets, with potential expansions for the most successful creations into television and film.”