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North Kingdom and Google take fans on ‘A Journey Through Middle-earth’

GLOBAL – An interactive digital experience, ‘A Journey Through Middle-earth’, was launched worldwide today to promote the last installment in The Hobbit series.

The project, which aims to capture the richness and dynamism of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, represents the last chapter of a two-year collaboration between Google, Warner Brothers and North Kingdom.
The ‘A Journey Through Middle-earth’ experience was inspired by the film ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’. The film concludes Peter Jackson’s Hobbit series, and is one of Warner Brothers’ most important theatrical movie releases for Q4 2014.
For eight months the team has been working on this update to the platform, with a focus on showcasing what’s possible with new creative techniques and the latest technologies for Google Chrome.
David Eriksson, Chief Creative Officer, North Kingdom said: “This was an overwhelmingly exciting project for us here at North Kingdom. Our challenge was to really push the boundaries of what is possible in a digital experience, drawing inspiration from the world of Tolkien and the drama world that has been built up throughout 14 years of epic films.“
Social battleground
The journey begins on an interactive map of Middle-earth that has been built from the ground up, from which fans can explore 21 new locations from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit film trilogies. This year’s map is rich with 3D animations, highlighting the paths of eight key characters in the films, including Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Aragorn.
Additionally, North Kingdom created experience ‘Hero’s Journeys’, an area of the platform that will allow people to relive all of their Middle-earth adventures, from Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings to Bilbo’s final battle in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The team at North Kingdom also developed an innovative, new, peer-to-peer social battle experience where anyone can challenge their friends to a test of their might and skill. The peer-to-peer gameplay experience was built primarily using the latest web technologies, including WebRTC and WebGL. It is touch-optimised for laptops, phones and tablets, bringing users a stunning, interactive experience, across all devices.
This project showcases how a holistic approach, focusing on user behaviour, creative ambition, and technological advancement, can bring new value and strengthen audience relationships in entertainment and technology, while pushing forward the mobile web.
Alfredo Aponte, User Experience Director at North Kingdom said: “In a fast moving world, where people, technology and businesses collide, the only way to go, for a brand, is to create meaningful solutions with product, service and experiences. As tech has disrupted everything, the only way you win is by focusing on the user. We learned a lot throughout the duration of the project and had a lot of fun doing it.”
View the project here

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