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Gaming

Angry Birds maker latches onto Lego at last

"Construction toys" based on Angry Birds will be available in the spring of 2016 to coincide with the release of the game franchise's full-length feature film.

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The Angry Birds franchise is coming to a Lego set next year. Rovio

Angry Birds maker Rovio has blocked out a deal to bolster its toys business.

Rovio said Monday has reached an agreement with the Lego Group to create "construction toys" tied to the Angry Birds franchise. The Angry Birds-themed Lego offerings will launch in the spring of 2016, in tandem with the Angry Birds feature-length film.

The Lego deal puts Angry Birds franchise onto a higher plane of toys. Legos have long been among the favorite building blocks for children (and no small number of adults, too), and many major franchises, including Star Wars and Minecraft, have found their way to the Lego universe.

For Rovio, the deal is a critical one as it tries to rebuild its ailing consumer goods business, which launched after the blockbuster initial success of the sling-shotting mobile game and which featured everything from plush toys to school supplies to soft drinks and candy. In March, Rovio announced that its consumer goods division, which includes toys, saw revenue fall from 73.1 million euros ($81.8 million) in 2013 to 41.4 million in 2014 as demand for its products fell.

In December, Rovio had announced layoffs, shedding 110 employees out of its global workforce of 800 people. It also closed a game development studio in Tampere, Finland, as part of a broader reorganization.

The Lego arrangement was a long time coming, a Rovio spokesperson said. "People at Lego fell in love with us when they saw the movie, and that is how we ended up building this [deal]. This will have a huge impact in our consumer product business, which as you know is very cyclical."

Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala said in March promised better times ahead, thanks to the upcoming feature film. He said that the film, which will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, would lure licensing dollars to the company as other companies try to capitalize on the possibility of it being a hit.

The company hasn't shared any other details on the Lego launch, but Lego Group vice president Jill Wilfert said in a statement Monday that the company is already "developing building sets that leverage the engaging play and destruction found in the Angry Birds game."

Rovio previously announced that its feature-length film is slated to be released in May 2016. The computer-animated action comedy will star Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage.