We decided as a group to build an escape room with a murder mystery focus. We each explored a few narrative directions for our escape room. I thought through ideas for (1) a Knives-Out-esque family inheritance drama, (2) a Theranos-esque corporate corruption scandal, and (3) an older-school Kennedy family scandal.
My moodboard and playlist focused on the inheritance drama story.
For the first direction (moodboarded and playlisted above) I was envisioning a fancy dinner party for a large extended family in which the players of the game enter to find one family member dead and the dinner table abandoned. Slowly, they’d uncover a scandal related to the will and testament of the matriarch/patriarch of the family that led to one family member poisoning another. The end of the game would be guessing which family member killed the other; otherwise, the players meet their demise as well.
For the second direction, I was inspired by watching The Dropout. The creepy story of Elizabeth Holmes and her corruption would be interesting to replicate in an escape room format. However, I think it would be more fruitful to take this story as inspiration rather than to replicate it. I’d be interested in utilizing the Durand space, which looks like a conference room, to mimic an office environment. We could have the player enter to discover a note from their boss saying something along the lines of “If you see this, I’m already dead” and solve the mystery of how they were killed.
The third direction would be similar to the first, but with less of a focus on a large family’s inheritance drama, and instead on an old-money, political family’s secrets. I was inspired by the Kennedys for this narrative idea — perhaps we learn that one family member has gone missing, and need to discover why. This could also take place at a dinner party but there would be less focus on many characters and more on the single storyline.
The types of fun in each of these games would be narrative as you uncover the dramatic story discovery as you uncover a trail of clues, and challenge as you struggle to escape the room.