CREATING AN OUTDOOR ESCAPE ROOM
Games, puzzles and adventure are our passions so we’re thrilled to be launching our second outdoor escape room style game, Will Breaker, following the success of our debut game, The Case of Colombia’s Finest.
We’re often asked ‘what made you create an outdoor escape room and how did you go about it?’, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to give you some answers!
Tony is the mastermind behind our Hunts and here we share his thoughts and answers to some of our most commonly asked questions about the origins of StreetHunt Games.
1. How did you come up with the story for The Case of Colombia’s Finest?
The story was percolating for a while – it arose through a combination of my love of ‘choose your own adventure’ books growing up and a passion for detective stories, escape rooms and immersive experiences.
The coffee element of the story came from my time living in Melbourne Australia – where, at that time, coffee was a much bigger deal than in the UK – and I liked the idea of a bespoke coffee delivery company (which I didn’t realise existed at the time of writing but is now very common). The Colombian thread was inspired by time spent travelling in Colombia (see us gazing over The Lost Cities in northern Colombia after a few hammock nights – i.e. excuse the hair) and watching Narcos!
The location of the original game in London was driven by me working in that area for a number of years. Upon creating the game concept, I was always on the lookout and was surprised by the amount of history and quirky locations in a non-touristy part of the city.
Our second location in York was chosen as that’s where I grew up – again I was familiar with how beautiful the city of York is and thought it’d be a great place with its history and unique snickelways.
Annaliza’s drive then turned the game into a business and StreetHunt Games was born with its outdoor escape room style games!
2. How did you come up with the story of Will Breaker?
Will Breaker initially came from my interest in the world of espionage and code breaking. I can’t resist an escape room and one of my favourite elements is the satisfaction of cracking combination locks, so I was looking at effective ways to bring that into a virtual game.
My brother Nick (StreetHunt Games Chief Technology Officer), my nephew and I enjoyed the coding challenge to bring our cryptexes to life in the game. Figuring out the geometric rules for how it should look was a lot of fun (our not so inner geek being put to good use)! If you don’t know what a cryptex is, see image – you’ll have to play the Hunt to see what we ended up with.
The idea of having an uncle surrounded in secrecy and intrigue appealed to me, particularly given I’m an uncle myself. I was drawn to the idea of discovering, out of the blue, you suddenly heard about an inheritance. I then loved the idea that you weren’t just going to be given it – you had to prove your worth through a series of challenges!
Merge all of this together and StreetHunt Games and I proudly present to you – Will Breaker!
3. Is there a link between the two Hunts?
Yes, although as with most spy stories, it’s not immediately obvious. The link is that the main character in both stories is the same person. When you play our Hunts, you step into the shoes of this same character at different times and in different circumstances (which we’re hoping to replicate in future games).
In The Case of Colombia’s Finest, your character is well established as a private detective who has built up a network of contacts, through trading in favours. Those contacts are ready to help you to crack the case to save your friend Jim Robusta.
Will Breaker sets out the origin story of this character – finding out how you were introduced to the detective world via your uncle, an acclaimed war correspondent. You discover there was more to your uncle than you knew, thereby launching a new chapter of your life.
Whether you’re interested in following leads and code breaking as a gateway into the life of a detective, or once an established detective for hire, how you would utilise a network of contacts to solve a case – we have a challenge for you!
4. Why are you interested in solving puzzles/games?
That’s a great question! I think it’s primarily been driven from my upbringing. As a family we were always playing games (basically from birth), from board games on a Sunday afternoon to spotting milestones before anyone else, to guessing how many kicks needed to get a pinecone to the next gate on a walk (yes, we still do this!)! I’ve taken this with me throughout my life and consider games a great source of entertainment that breaks down barriers between generations, backgrounds and cultures. Even if it results in (healthy!) competition… I’ve rarely played a game I didn’t enjoy.
Puzzle solving is an extension to that. I’ve always enjoyed escape rooms and been interested in logic puzzles and followed the latest crazes, from Sudoku to Wordle! The added benefit of these being that you can do these on your own during a commute – effectively a game against yourself…
Having young kids of my own has made me re-engage with my childhood memories of games and the joy they bring. Creating/developing our Hunts has been done with a desire to share that love of gaming with a wider audience. ‘Gaming’ doesn’t just have to be with a board and dice, or with a controller in front of a screen!
As StreetHunt Games has entered this world, we’ve come across more and more compelling research that playing games like ours has huge mental health benefits and is great for improving problem solving capabilities. This has been a really rewarding side effect of something that started out as a bit of fun with my brother. Read more about this here.
5. What’s your favourite thing about creating games?
Having fun with it and sneaking in my dad jokes at every opportunity! If you’re fan of puns be sure to keep an eye out for the character names and if you think of any good ones send them over!
A bit of a different blog from us (and excuse the excuse for random old travelling pictures!) but we hope you enjoyed reading and hearing a bit more about the creation of our outdoor escape room style games.
Let us know in the comments any other questions you have which we’ll put to StreetHunt’s chief game designer.
If you’ve played one of our Hunts we’re very excited that you now have a follow up option.
If you can’t decide which Hunt to try first, the good news is you can choose either – see how you’re feeling and whether you’re in the mood for a murder mystery filled with twists and turns or you fancy a slightly shorter game focused on cracking codes and uncovering a hidden inheritance. You can also hear about what previous say about our first Hunt on TripAdvisor.
Once you’ve cracked a case you’ll have the second Hunt ready and waiting!
Another fantastic outdoor escape room from the guys at StreetHunt. It always amazes me how much of London is hidden in plain sight. We learnt plenty about some of London’s fascinating history, all whilst solving a series of clever clues. Would highly recommend it.