A few months ago we had the great honour of having an inspirational (and fun!) conversation with the game design masterminds behind Breakout in Avenue K: Johnny, Ken and Gavin. If you’ve played their games, you’ve been creeped out by the puppeteer in the Marionette, tracked down the shadows of the mysterious Hocus magician and saved the world from a nuclear fallout (or not), hence, read on to find out what goes on in the creative minds of the Breakout game creator trio.
(Note: our write-up is done in a very candid manner: pardon us for the grammar!):
Dawn of the Breakout dream team
Escman: How did you all started?
Johnny: I was introduced to real escape games through my colleagues while I was in China. Then, I also introduced the games to one of our current partners, Kelly. We found that real escape games are very exciting, and decided that it’s something we could really do. We know that two person alone couldn’t do this, so we set out to find the right people to work together through our network. After some hiccups, we found Gavin, who is an expert in IT and website design, and Ken, who is an expert in interior design. They had contributed a lot to the game creation. We also found Ka Wai, who is very good in marketing and has broad connections. But it’s quite hard to get them to join initially, since everyone has their own jobs, etc. I did a lot of homework to convince them and asked them to come play a game together.
Ken: That’s how we met for the first time (Escman: Awesome).
Johnny: Together, we think we could come up with better and unique games than the usual escape games.
Escman: What are the inspirations behind your game designs? What do you think is a perfect real escape game experience? What do you like to bring through your games?
Johnny: We love movies, we watched a lot of movies for game designing. We also play boardgames and computer games, while learning a lot of game elements. Our first idea of real escape games was to have let players have movie-like experience. Because when everyone watched a movie, they might feel, “If I’m in the movie, and if I made another decision than the main character, what would be the ending.” Hence, we always wanted to head into that direction, instead just an real escape game. We want to do more than that. Hence, we chose the name Breakout, which can mean a lot of things.
Ken: Yes, it’s like breaking out from the norm. I want the rooms to be mind-blowing; psychologically mind-blowing. Something you have never experienced before and it leaves you thinking “Am I crazy?” such as when watching psychological thriller movies like Memento, Butterfly Effect, Machinist or Inception…
Johnny: We don’t want to do something like Transformers. We want to do something like Shutter Island!
Gavin: My ideal room will be full of IT and technologies where you have to hack hack hack to breakout. (Everyone laughed :D)
Motion master escape game?
Johnny : One of our vision are using technology to create actual movie effect, such as if you’re on the train, you’ll feel like you’re really on the train. Or if there is a hurricane coming, you will feel it coming. Or with flooding, ground moving and everything… (getting excited)
Gavin: Like Universal Studio!
Ken: Motion things is good, but it’s really hard to execute. (Escman: We totally understand.)
Characters in game
Escman: Tell us something about the characters (oracle, lightbringer, scholar, etc)!
Johnny: We always wanted to try to bring something fresh into the game. This idea came about when we played Citadel, the card game. And then we’re thinking, why not put this into our games? And if we do not reveal what is our character, it’ll be much more interesting. It’s like citadel, where there’s hidden characters, but it’s tough as once you’re in the game, there’s no reason not to reveal the characters. We need to have some time to think about it. In the future, we will play around more with the characters, which will be very interesting.
Ken: We still have a few characters not revealed yet.
Johnny: Have you guys watch the movie, Liar Games, based on the Japanese manga? I would like to achieve something similar, where everyone is playing solo rather than cooperatively, but I’ve have difficulties in the execution. If we do not reveal the identity of the characters for the players in the game, like hidden identity games, it will be more exciting.
Ken: Yes, as if the players go into the game without knowing their identities, but it’s really hard to execute now.
Johnny: (Determined) I’ll find a way, wish me all the best!
Here’s where our conversation get increasingly exciting! Stay tuned for Part 2 of our write-up, where we dig deeper into their brains on the conceptual design behind the current games in Breakout.
We really look forward to their new outlet in NuSentral!
Check out our reviews of the games we played in Breakout Avenue K~ They are awesome~
Conversations with the Breakout Game Creators Series