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Question #3: There’s a theme, but what’s the actual story?

Our Answer: Most escape rooms have a theme whether it’s a jewellery heist, a school of magic or a prison break. Having a theme, however, is not the same as having an engaging story to help immerse the players in the game.

Why Ask? We’ve been to many escape rooms and been told “OK you’re in a serial killer’s house and he’ll be back in an hour” or “There’s a bomb hidden in the room and it’ll go off in 60 minutes” and that was the extent of the game introduction. No backstory, no detail, and limited engagement with the objective.

At the Escape Key, our stories come first when we design our games. Using real stories from the city’s rich heritage as inspiration for our games. Naturally done for us when we are situated next to St. Andrew’s church, the oldest church in Newcastle, home to the burial ground of the witches hung on trial and the busiest plague pit of the city!

There has to be a strong narrative to build the game around. This is important in making the players want to play and care about succeeding, whilst they suspend reality for an hour. It also makes for an immersive experience when the aesthetics and puzzles are tied closely to the story. Each of our games starts with our Games Masters delivering an informative and entertaining introduction, perhaps sometimes in character. Followed by a short film starring local actors, telling more of the story before revealing the objective right at the end.

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