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Penguin picks up book publishing rights for ustwo's Whale Trail

Total downloads pass 180,000 mark

Penguin picks up book publishing rights for ustwo's Whale Trail
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| Whale Trail

With total downloads across iOS and Android hitting 182,000, ustwo has announced Whale Trail's next journey will see the IP make the leap to books.

The studio has signed a deal with Penguin Group to publish Whale Trail eBooks, as well of those of the physical variety in a bid to "tell the story of Whale Trail to children all around the world".

The two parties are set to work together on the narrative of the titles, with the first 'digital picture book' due to launch in October.

Building the brand

"I discovered Whale Trail from Gruff Rhys' music video," said Eric Huang, publishing director of Penguin Children's media and entertainment division.

"When I downloaded the app, I was hooked. There’s something so fresh and cool about the art direction. I wanted to know more about Willow and his world and thought, we should publish a book.

"And since Whale Trail is a digital brand, it made sense to lead with an eBook."

Further releases will follow in 2013, both digitally, and in the form of the first physical Whale Trail book.

For ustwo's part, marketing director Steve Bittan said all the money from the Penguin publishing deal – as well as that from downloads of the games itself - would go "directly back in to the game update and the continued development of the Whale Trail IP and brand".

The acquisition trail

"[Whale Trail will launch] initially in eBook format and then more importantly for us physical or printed books," he added.

"This is something we see as crucial to the deal."

Bittan said ustwo had already been approached on two separate occasions by "major studios" about the possible acquisition of the Whale Trail IP, while the original game itself is currently undergoing a £50,000 makeover.

Ustwo's mills™ has previously suggested Whale Trail will be the studio's last paid release, with the firm looking to hit 45,000 downloads or more on Android before ustwo switches to the freemium model moving forward.

Total Android downloads to date currently sit at the 12,000 mark.

[source: TheNextWeb]