Episode 3: Journey to Plastic Beach, the Transmedia Storytelling game by Gorillaz
Gorillaz is a British virtual band created by Damon Albarn (Blur) and Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl illustrator). From the meeting of these two friends, were born the four founding members of Gorillaz: 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle. Easily recognizable, they represent the four “real” musicians. The “British punk world” designer Jamie Hewlett, already very active and well known in the world of comics, allowed Gorillaz to consolidate their identity. A “futuristic neo-punk” mix perfectly related to their musical style.
One band, One universe, One game: Journey to Plastic Beach
The game “Journey to Plastic Beach” is based on their album “Plastic Beach”. It is the story of Murdoc, one of the group members, who would have gone to the plastic beach, right where he would have made the album. The story continues recounting his efforts to recover all the alter egos of the group members and his incredible adventures to find the spirit of the Gorillaz.
The structure of the game
The game is a treasure hunt. You’re out and about on the plastic beach looking for some clues. Clues that will allow you to unlock music, wallpapers, goodies and give you access to secret rooms in the island. As the adventure goes, you will meet various characters from Gorillaz who will help you to find the spirit of the Gorillaz.
This transmedia storytelling experience is a success. Even if sometimes, the navigation within the game is a little bit complicated. Nevertheless, the game’s graphics are reminiscent of the very particular universe of Jamie Hewlett and you can also, throughout the adventure, listen to the full albums of Gorillaz. The original universe of the group is respected as the graphics and music perfectly complementing each other.
Gorillaz: The Transmedia Storytelling game precursors
Remember that Gorillaz with its debut in 2001 remains the first group to have created a virtual world around them. The real characters do not even appear in concerts. They play behind a curtain and the characters created by Jamie Hewlett are the ones who actually doing the show. A kind of concert mixing real music and virtual characters on a screen.
With their perfectly recognizable universe and being the precursors of Transmedia Storytelling communication in the world of music, Gorillaz opened doors, showing that it was possible to bring together a community of fans around this particular type of innovative project.