We’re a bunch of TV and film aficionados here at Boundless Workshop so you can imagine our delight at being involved in creating the first official Doctor Who themed live escape game for Escape Hunt.
However, none of us were as excited as Doctor Who super fan James, our Creative Director. We caught up with him to find out a little bit more about why he’s loving working on this project.
As a big Doctor Who fan, were you excited to learn you’d be working on the first official Doctor Who themed live escape game for Escape Hunt?
I was incredibly excited! My love of Doctor Who was inspired by my dad who vividly remembers watching from the very first episode back in 1963. My first clear memory of the show was the 1996 TV movie as a major event in our household. At least for me and my dad.
From then on, I would watch any repeats I could find on satellite channels. Eventually they started bringing out DVDs so I could explore the history of the show in a less haphazard way and I have religiously watched every episode since it came back in 2005, sometimes with screening parties in my flat for the grandest episodes. So being able to be involved in any way with a show that means so much to me is an incredible feeling.
For it to be related to another, somewhat newer, passion of mine in escape games is quite a bonus. My favourite escape games are able to tell an engaging story to the players through their involvement in the puzzles and challenges and this was clearly going to be the case in the universe of Doctor Who.
What have you enjoyed most about being involved in the Worlds Collide project?
One part of the enjoyment is being on the inside of the process, knowing the secrets and elements involved in the project that the rest of the fans aren’t going to find out about until later! And I am very excited to have worked on some audio recordings that are involved in the game, it very much felt like I was working in the sound department of Doctor Who!
Without giving too much away, what can you tell Doctor Who fans about the challenges they’ll be faced with when playing Worlds Collide?
As ever with Doctor Who, there is a major global threat on the horizon and you and your team have to do everything you can to stop it! That threat comes in the form of the Cybermen, so it really couldn’t be much worse. Fortunately, you have some assistance from a very special Time Lord to mend the tear in the fabric of space and time that might let the Cybermen through. You will be interacting in a real Doctor Who adventure and I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.
Were there any challenges along the way?
A project like Worlds Collide has to be scrutinised at every step of the way to make sure it is up to the high standards required and fulfils the expectations of all of the excited fans. That makes for a lot of hard work. But everyone involved knows how important it is. That really motivates you. Occasionally we needed to step back and get some perspective on how exciting it is to be working on something so well known and loved, that did make the hard work a lot easier!
As Creative Director, what is your role in the process of designing, building and installing escape games such as these?
My role varies quite a lot, depending on the project. Sometimes I’m involved from the earliest stages in coming up with the broad concept and story, sometimes a client will have a story and some idea of what they want people to experience but no idea of the specifics so I’ll be designing puzzle concepts for approval and sometimes I’m searching online to find just the right prop for players to interact with or maybe designing a sticker that conveys lots of information but has to fit in an area the size of a post it note!
When it comes to the later stages I enjoy being involved in building and installing on site, obviously to check that we’re meeting our quality standards, but also because that’s how I started in this industry, putting games together so that players would have the best experience of our latest adventure. I feel very lucky to have such a varied job that tests and expands my skills every day. And sometimes I even get to work on Doctor Who!
Boundless Workshop are part of the team responsible for the prop design and build of Escape Hunt’s Worlds Collide rooms which are now open in Bristol, Leeds, Oxford, Reading, Manchester and Birmingham. Read more about this project and our other work.