For the past four and a half years, the BBC has worked away on the next season of Frozen Planet – a nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough about Earth’s coldest regions.
The team explored the world, from the North Pole to the South Pole, to the tops of the highest mountains, and even the cold chill of the desert at night.
Now the team is stepping into a completely unfamiliar territory: the world of Minecraft.
whereas frozen planet ii Episode, Minecraft will release a free map for players to explore.
Maps will display Attenborough’s narrative as players swim, roam, and fly over these plump replicas of our planet, recreating moments from the show.
“What was fun working with the Minecraft team was that they had a real finger on the pulse of the young viewer,” explains Elizabeth White, producer of the Frozen Planet II series.
During the interview, White shows a clip from the upcoming series, showing drone camera footage of an avalanche, melting ice caps, and animals fighting for survival in hostile territory. It’s amazing.
“I’ve watched it a few times now and it still gets me hooked every single time,” says Justin Edwards, Director of Learning Programs for Minecraft.
BBC contacted me and explained to me [the partnership idea]And my heart returned to the original Frozen planet – it’s still with me.
It took me one point of a second to just go: ‘Yeah, sure. “It was a match made in heaven.”
To achieve this, the developers at Mojang had to completely rework the way Minecraft works, creating eight new animal hordes (the game’s artificial intelligence), as well as new player behaviors, all playable from a third-person perspective.
These experiences will be released today as a series of free worlds for players to download in Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, as well as Minecraft: Education Edition.
“In the Education Edition, we will provide learning resources — Word documents, PowerPoint files, and lesson plans that teachers can use in conjunction with the TV series and gameplay,” Edwards explains.
At this point, I have shown the gameplay in a pre-recorded video.
Here the player controls a chinstrap penguin who has to collect rocks for their nest while fending off other penguins that come out to steal their rocks.
“Mobs are not just skins,” Edwards explains. “They are unique players in the way they move and the way you interact with them.
For example, with penguins, a left mouse click will wave your fins so you can [shoo] away from other birds.
Next, we swim in the icy seas as a killer whale, trying to work with the rest of the capsule to knock a seal off an ice platform.
When you control an eagle, you are free to flap your wings and fly freely around different landscapes.
As a chameleon, you can change your skin tone to blend in with the mass you’re currently sitting on.
“At the end of every game, you become a researcher,” Edwards says. “You have a camera and a notebook, and you can explore the world and take pictures of the animals in those landscapes.”
This is where the educational aspect of the game comes into play, as factual facts about the environment, animals and what we can do to combat climate change are distributed.
It took the team — studio engineers, game developers, and outside contractors — nine months to create this Frozen Planet II collaboration.
Five worlds, eight new animals – leopards, bumblebees, and walruses are some of the others – and 80 custom molds that make up it all.
You’ll even find that the sea is a slightly different color than the usual Minecraft surroundings, so it’s more accurately a realistic version of the place.
Much like the TV series itself, it sounds like a real labor of love.
Parents can watch the show with their children, play a game of Minecraft afterwards, and visit these virtual recreations to engage them more in the lessons they offer.
It’s not just dry education either – it’s a celebration of the beauty and diversity of our planet, told in a modern and forward-looking way, and tackling hard facts in ways that don’t intimidate the target audience.
“I think the thing about this series is the celebration of these places,” White says. Scientists have, above all, a sense of hope.
“Sure, we don’t want to leave people feeling like everything is doomed. There is time for us to change things if we all get involved.”
That’s one thing for sure in life: change.
Whether you are an active participant in it, pushing for positive change, or a passive observer, watching things change for the worse, change will always happen.
When the BBC revisited killer whales – which also appeared in season one – for Frozen Planet II, they found that their behaviors had adapted. We are all capable of that.
I’d like to think there might be a strange version of David Attenborough now looking at us from his spaceship, telling us how our kids are going to save the planet because of the BBC and a little game called Minecraft.
Written by Kirk McCain and on behalf of GLHF.
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