BBC Earth and Minecraft arguably appeal to largely different demographics. However, the launch of BBC Earth’s Frozen Planet 2 has sparked up an interesting collaboration between the two platforms that aims to educate younger players.
Frozen Planet 2, narrated by the most recognizable voice in nature documentaries, Sir David Attenborough, is a continuation of the well-known BBC Earth series that explores the titular frozen regions of our planets that we still know so little about. In the spirit of this collaboration, Minecraft has created five brand new worlds inspired by the series and the locations that Attenborough talks about that aim to be a valuable source of information and critical education to the game’s overall younger audience demographic.
For this reason, the five worlds will form part of the lesser-known Education Edition of the massively popular sandbox game. For those of you who aren’t aware of the Education Edition, it’s a special variant of the game that is marketed primarily toward schools and learners. This version is similar to the Java and Berock Editions, except that it also contains myriad teaching and learning aids to help younger audiences understand scientific and mathematical concepts in an easier and more immersive way. Mojang has essentially married two ideas that don’t often meet; homework and playtime.
These new worlds have new mechanics to explore that sets them apart from other Minecraft worlds. For example, players will now, not only be able to interact with these frozen parts of the planet in a more personal and digitally tactile manner, they’ll also be able to see the world through the perspective of the animals that they encounter.
As with the Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update and the world released therewith, these worlds also have various puzzles and challengers that players will need to solve to progress in the game and with their in-game education. These levels won’t last longer than around 10 to 15 minutes each.
Another aspect and aim of the new worlds is to unite the younger and older players of Minecraft and BBC Earth viewers. As put rather eloquently by Elizabeth White, the producer of the new series, ‘One of the great things about the natural world is its power to engage and enthral viewers young and old.’
White elaborates further that ‘We are delighted to partner with Minecraft on this range of educational computer games which will enable children to interact with stories inspired by the series through gameplay, and learn more about the challenges of these habitats through the additional lesson content.’
You can catch episodes of Frozen Planet 2 weekly on Sundays at 8PM BST. The new worlds will be available from 21 September on both Minecraft Education Edition and the Minecraft Marketplace. If you’d like to do some further reading, we have an article concerning the discovery of malware in Minecraft.