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Our Intrepid Reporter: the Making of Glitch Hunters

by Freya Carroll

published on

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, clueQuest is opening a new outdoor escape game on June 14th, GLITCH HUNTERS. Our Intrepid Reporter sat down with its creators, Andy and Gigi, to find out more…

Our Intrepid Reporter: Can you tell me about the new game?

Andy: This one is different from our regular games - it’s outdoors! It starts down on Cannon Street, and it’s a good walk around the City of London solving puzzles based on things that are around you. No paper pieces, you just use the environment and what’s on your phone.

OIR: What inspired you to make an outdoor game?

Gigi: We’ve now been in London for ten years, and we wanted to celebrate it! We hadn’t really made anything like this before, so it was a good opportunity to test ourselves and try something new.

Andy: We did do one a few years before the pandemic around King’s Cross. It was quite small though and didn’t run for very long, so this is on a much bigger scale!

OIR: Can you tell me about the theme of the game? What’s your hook?

Andy: You’ve been brought to the starting location because clueQuest has been given a tip off - someone inside Professor Blacksheep’s organisation is willing to give you some information about the Professor’s latest scheme. So you need to go to a secret location to rendezvous with the informant, to find out what’s going on and put a stop to it. You quite quickly become aware that not everything in London is exactly what it seems…

OIR: What’s been the process of developing an outdoor game?

Andy: We started by going for a walk. Gigi and I both came to London and checked out a couple of different areas. We looked around King’s Cross first, as that’s where clueQuest is, but then we went further into London - I think in two days I did 40,000 steps! We walked around, drinking in everything we saw, marking down ideas, taking so many photos! Gigi started to conceptualise puzzle ideas based on what we’d seen, and I thought about how things might connect in a narrative way.

Gigi: We wanted the walk to be a nice experience, which is why we settled on the city because there’s so many cool things. We did a lot of ‘what’s down this side road? Is there anything cool down this street?’ We walked past some cool things that I had no idea were there!

Andy: We had the idea fairly early on about things not being what they seem, being altered by the Professor in some way. We leaned into that quite hard, because it created a lot of freedom - something could become anything. I always like to think when designing a game, ‘what’s the purpose of this puzzle? Why do you have to solve it? Are you trying to hack into a security system or are you trying to uncover something?’ We wanted people to go around London trying to discover the truth of what’s happening. Then, once you’ve discovered the truth, you’ve got to stop the baddie.

Andy: As in any good spy story!

OIR: How has it been different from creating an indoor experience?

Gigi: The key is, you don’t have to actually create the environment. In some cases it was easier, because we took some photos of the street and created puzzles with them - different buildings could be signs of the Professor, or clocks could be a countdown of an evil device. These are not in the game, just examples, I don’t want to spoil it! But that was also the hard part, because things would be moved and changed and replaced. So part of the game creation was researching what was open in the city and what was permanent. 

Andy: Yeah you don’t have to build the room, but you also don’t have any control over the space. So that’s both a blessing and a curse!

OIR: And what’s been the most enjoyable part of putting the game together?

Andy: I really enjoyed exploring London - I had a great time putting the route together. It became a very satisfying challenge in itself - trying to make sure that the walk itself is part of the experience and also accessible to all players. . 

Gigi: I liked being in the city, discovering new places and picking what to include.

OIR: You two have worked together previously on clueQuest’s Print+Cut+Escape games. What was it like working on this new challenge together? 

Andy: Well, we actually physically met for this one! The Print+Cut+Escapes we work on together remotely. We’ve definitely got our roles; Gigi designs and I focus more on the narrative, but there will be times that we go back and forth, bouncing ideas off of each other. We have bits that we do because those are our strengths - it’s a very collaborative process!

OIR: Can we expect more outdoor games in the future?

Gigi: We have a structure now, so we would love to make more. There are so many more areas in London waiting to be discovered.. 

Andy: I’d love to do one in Edinburgh! We’d be very happy to make more outdoor games - they’re super fun!

OIR: How many people can play the game, and what would they need?

Andy: You’d want a minimum of two and a maximum of eight. Like any puzzle game, it depends on the dynamic of the team - the sweet spot is probably somewhere in the middle. All the players will need is their phones!

OIR: How would you summarise the game in three words?

Andy: Secret City Sights!

Gigi: I have to use the title - Glitch Hunters

Our exciting new outdoor escape game GLITCH HUNTERS will be available to book from 14th June 2023. Watch this space to find out how to book! In the meantime, why not try one of indoor escape experiences? You can find out more about them here