By Dennis Abrams
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and the pioneering publisher of the bestselling multi-platform properties The 39 Clues, Infinity Ring and Spirit Animals, announced today that it will publish its next multi-platform series, Tombquest, simultaneously in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in February 2015.
The publisher promises to bring the mystery of ancient Egypt to life in this action adventure which will be told in five books by acclaimed author Michael Northrop and linked with an interactive online game. The first title, Book of the Dead, will launch in print and digital formats in February 2015, with the second book to follow in May 2015. The series, aimed at readers ages 8-12 will also feature hidden puzzles and coded messages on the covers which kids can unlock to reveal key plot points.
To date, there are more than 22 million copies of Scholastic’s industry-leading multi-platform books in print in the United States alone, and its online game community has more than 3 million registrations to date with the average reader spending approximately 26 minutes online. In December 2014, the TombQuest online game will launch in beta format.
With TombQuest, Scholastic believes it has developed its most viral game to date, built around the social and interactive concept of “crate, play and share.” Kids become the “game masters” as they design their own ancient Egyptian maze complete with treasure, traps and monsters, and challenge their friends to play. The highly engaging game is complemented by a safe moderated online community where kids have the opportunity to chat about the books, write fan fiction, share the games they have built, and learn about ancient Egypt.
The story follows two kids – Alex and his best friend Ren – who awaken the magic of ancient Egypt. When Alex’s mother uses the Egyptian Book of the Dead to save him, she cracks open a door to the afterlife accidentally unleashing five evil ancients: the Death Walkers. Alex and Ren must set off on an impossible quest that takes them around the globe – and then into the afterworld – in order to save his mothers and lay the Death Walkers to rest.
“TombQuest is a thoroughly engrossing page-turner that hurtles its characters on a non-stop adventure through the mysteries of ancient Egypt,” Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade Publishing, said in a statement.
“With the online game, kids are encouraged to broaden their imaginations, create their own worlds, and share them with their friends. TombQuest is the culmination of everything we’ve learned to date and we look forward to reaching millions of kids worldwide with this immersive new reading experience.”
And in a statement to Publishing Perspectives, David Levithan, best-selling author and Vice President, Publisher and Editorial Director, Scholastic added:
“We set the bar in innovative multi-platform publishing almost six years ago with the groundbreaking The 39 Clues, and have since launched subsequent bestselling programs in the multi-platform space. TombQuest combines a fast paced story and a highly immersive online game where kids are encouraged to broaden their imagination, create their own worlds, and share them with their friends. We are excited about this more social approach online which we believe will draw kids back into the world of books.”