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A little while later a package arrives at your door full with what looks like memorabilia from the early days of animation: magazines, letters, animation cels, sketches, newspapers, photographs, toys, games, puzzles, posters. But, as you look things over, you realise more may be going on than meets the eye…
…and you’re right!
Upon our full launch, you will be able to come to our site, buy a ticket for the game, and soon after you will receive a package of strange artefacts in the post. With very little instruction included, you will start sorting through the objects and putting things together, and you’ll find that below the surface lies a deep and engaging conspiracy. In our game you make progress by: reading letters and diaries, piecing stories together, making deductions, fact checking, breaking codes, solving puzzles, finding messages hidden in plain sight, playing games, chasing clues online, cracking riddles, discovering unique interactions between objects, and looking at what’s in front of you in a different light. Everything is of movie prop quality, and being forced to interact with the objects in totally new ways makes the game immersive as hell. After the first time you find a link, or a clue, or a hidden compartment, you forget you are playing a game; you just become Sherlock Holmes.
We design puzzles that involve real world physical objects instead of just being limited to pen and paper or computer screens, so we can design solutions which are WAY outside the box from anything you have ever seen before. It might just look like a cool old jigsaw puzzle – until you find a code hidden in its imagery. They might just be random slides of vintage cartoons – until you find out more about them online. It’s just an old toy, just a newspaper, just an envelope – until its rotated, or folded, or held up to the light – when it becomes so much more… We custom design everything you receive, so every object has its unexpected hidden mysteries, and everything links to everything else in a tangled web of conspiracy.
The game roughly follows a ‘puzzle hunt’ style – you solve many smaller puzzles, and then combine the solutions in order to solve larger and larger ‘meta puzzles’. The length of the game is hard to say – it can be played alone or in groups of any size – and the amount of content is colossal. The main narrative push takes the form of a diary, with roughly each entry corresponding to one puzzle that needs to be solved. Each of these stand-alone puzzles might take 15-60 minutes to complete, has its own conclusion, reveals a little more of the mystery, and is very satisfying in its own right. The full game covers more than 40 of these smaller puzzles. We wanted something that could be slowly unravelled over weeks or months, like a good mystery novel. But we designed the game to be broken down into smaller chunks that could be tackled in one sitting, perfect for board game nights and gaming groups.
As the mystery unravels, you will find yourself researching online. You’ll find old cartoons that help expand the case, each, of course, full of their own little riddles. We tried to walk a line between board game, puzzle game, escape room, and alternate reality game. The result is something that is so immersive it doesn’t feel much like a game at all. As you thumb through the old letters and track down the old films and piece together what happened, you’ll swear you were in a mystery novel.
An interwoven thread of diaries and letters forms the narrative of the game, which revolves around a shadowy cult-like organisation entrenched in the film industry of the 1930s. Some characters are trustworthy, some are up to terrible business, some are going crazy, and some are just caught up in the middle. Part of the mystery is to look at the letters and memos and photographs and work out who knows what, who is telling the truth, and who is lying. You will also need to back-up stories and check facts – “hey, look up if 8th of June 1936 was a Monday, because if so, that means this letter arrived before the paper was even published…”