Here’s your first peek at the cover of A Mutiny in Time, the first entry in Infinity Ring, Scholastic’s new multi-platform series for middle-grade readers. Written by Maze Runner author James Dashner, Mutiny is scheduled for worldwide release on August 28; hardcover and e-book versions will publish simultaneously in a one-day laydown in the U.S. and U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Five books written by five different authors will each follow every few months, with Dashner, who has outlined the overall story arc, returning for the seventh and final volume in March 2014.
Infinity Ring concerns three kids who must travel back in time to fix the “great breaks” that have altered history as we know it. In Book 1, Sera, Dak, and Riq journey to 1492, when a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be pitched overboard. The cover image of an ornate compass, says Stacey Lellos, v-p of marketing and multi-platform publishing at Scholastic, gives readers a clue as to the first volume’s plot: a high seas adventure. She adds that that in succeeding installments, “Each cover will feature a different historical artifact that ties into the book’s setting, allowing us to put a tangible and enticing piece of history front and center with each new release.”
The same day that Book 1 publishes, Scholastic will launch “The King of Diamonds,” the first episode of Infinity Ring’s online game. Lellos expects tablet and smartphone versions either simultaneously or soon after – and she says that is what distinguishes the new series from the company’s previous multiplatform venture, The 39 Clues, which debuted in September 2008. “The 39 Clues was built in Flash and therefore only available only on PC and Mac,” Lellos says. “We've built Infinity Ring in Unity3D, which enables the experience to be enjoyed on tablets and phones as well as on computers.” In addition, players will be able to synchronize their gameplay across the platforms, so they could, for example, play one episode on a computer and the next on their phone without losing progress.
Another difference: In The 39 Clues, kids play alongside the characters in a more controlled experience. In Infinity Ring, players can take on the role of the book’s main characters. “The fully immersive 3D experience of Infinity Ring allows kids an exploratory world, full of games to play, historical figures to meet, and puzzles to solve,” Lellos says. Scholastic will demo the game’s iPad version at the Bologna Book Fair next week, and hopes to generate the kind of enthusiasm that The 39 Clues has enjoyed – more than 1.8 million registered users for its online game to date, and more than 14 million copies in print.