'Sharknado' Augmented Reality Mobile Game Debuts

Sharknado: ShARkmented Reality - Publicity - P 2017
Courtesy of NBCUniversal

In advance of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, which debuts Aug. 6 on Syfy, fans can experience a Sharknado of their own with a new augmented reality mobile game.

Sharknado: ShARkmented Reality puts the player in the shoes of Fin (played by Ian Ziering in the TV franchise) and April (played by Tara Reid). Users will be able to impose a virtual Sharknado on their surroundings, armed with various virtual weapons — such as a chain saw — to defeat the sharks. Each level up will unlock new weapons and new sharks to battle.

It also includes a Sharknado photo booth from the previously released Go Shark Yourself App. (In the AR experience, with each level completed in the game, a new shark type and weapon is unlocked for use in the photo booth.) Starting Monday, the free AR experience will begin to roll out on various platforms for Android and iOS devices.

Syfy worked with AR Glimpse, a company that creates AR experiences for mobile devices, to develop the game, which involved using some assets from the movies including the music.

"it’s a great opportunity to try something new," Syfy's senior vp digital Matthew Chiavelli told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're always looking at what's next. We saw this concept as a great fit for Sharknado. I'd be lying if I didn't say Pokemon Go was an influence."

SyFy has also been experimenting with virtual reality; for instance, it brought The Expanse to Comic Con via VR, prior to its season-one debut. Chiavelli thinks VR and AR will coexist. "Both offer a lot of possibilities. We want to use what is appropriate for the concept," he said, adding, "for entertainment, in a  lot of ways AR makes a little more sense. With AR you can mix real world elements with story elements."