Google's Niantic Labs announced today a partnership with HarperCollins to turn the upcoming young-adult trilogy Endgame into a location-based augmented reality game. The books developed by A Million Little Pieces author James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton will build on Niantic's Ingress, a multi-player mobile game that incorporates components from the real world, to build an interactive world around the story. With this deal, Google has the rights to exclusively distribute six of fifteen original e-books on the Play Store, and it's hoping to capitalize on Ingress even more by using it as the platform for a more immersive game that will include YouTube videos, search and image results, and maps.
Endgame's interactive components will have players solving puzzles to advance parts of the story. For the launch of the first book in the series, Endgame: The Calling, on October 7th, players will have clues and riddles woven into the text to solve in order to discover a key to a hefty prize: a pile of gold that will be encased bullet-proof glass. To make things even more exciting, Google plans to stream the event live on YouTube with the glass case on public display.
The prize will be real gold
As if that wasn't enough, Endgame has also been optioned by Twentieth Century Fox for an accompanying movie series. This is a huge win for Google and Niantic, since Ingress's goal from the start was to become an "open real-world gaming platform," and this would be the most mainstream book and movie collaboration it's had to date. Endgame seems a tad Hunger Games-esque, describing a world similar to Earth where champions from 12 "bloodlines" train and battle each other to the death, but if it proves to be compelling enough it could help Niantic slowly become a household name.