Indie Interviews: Mad Experiments – Escape Room (Gamescom)

In recent years we’ve seen escape rooms pop up as a genre both in real life and in videogames. Mad Experiments: Escape Room is a new take from PlayTogether Studio that is now in Steam Early Access. It’s also part of this year’s digital edition of Gamescom and rather than offer the traditional single player experience it’s a game that’s being designed for one to up to six players at a time. We chatted with Canadian-based developer Clem about the upcoming game.

What inspired you to create Mad Experiments: Escape Room?

I love doing escape rooms in real life with my girlfriend and friends, so it seemed natural to me to make a virtual one. For the gameplay, I wanted to mimic what you could do to find clues in a real escape room: move objects, examine them, find hidden notes etc.

We’ve seen quite a few escape room games. What makes this one different?

Mad Experiments: Escape Room has a deep story that you unravel by solving puzzles room after room and the game is cross-platform multiplayer. The puzzles are tough as well, and are made for advanced players.

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How did you come up with the look and feel of the game?

I love the universe of Bioshock and Alice in Wonderland, so I guess that influenced me a lot while creating the atmosphere of the game. I want every room to feel different, even if co-existing in the same universe, so I chose the theme of the room depending on what aspect of the story I want to explore. For the upcoming Chapter 3, I wanted to explore the childhood of Hildegarde (Professor’s assistant), so I created her room when she was a young child and players will have to use her toys to escape!

You’re developing this all by yourself?

I work alone as a game developer, so I do everything from Art Direction to Game Design, except for 3D models and music. For the amazing music we have in the game, I worked with FXMusique, which is a praised music studio that has worked on great games. The founder is a friend and we have a lot of good times trying to figure out the best music and sounds for each room.

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Has the development process provided any interesting new insights for you?

I learn something new every day about the technical aspect of game making! Being a game developer is like being a craftsman, it’s hard and tedious, but when it’s done, it feels very rewarding for me. It’s also always a challenge to make interesting puzzles. It takes a lot of iterations, back-and-forth with the first testers, as it needs to be hard but fun and rewarding.

Did the pandemic of 2020 affect you as a solo developer?

I was already working from home before it was the norm but as a parent, it affected me a lot since the daycare was closed for months, so I had to organize my work around all this. That delayed the whole development of the game, but I don’t mind as I spent a lot of time with my daughter instead!

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The game will go from Early Access to a full game on November 11, 2020. The release will come with a free room, Chapter 3.

When the game releases, what do you hope people will take away from the experience?

I just hope that my game will bring people together, especially these days when it can be hard to see each other.

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