Creating BODY OF EVIDENCE – behind the scenes of the newest History Mystery
Having announced our opening date for our new game BODY OF EVIDENCE, where we’ll be welcoming the first teams deep in the gaol cells below the Guildhall, from Saturday 11th June, we wanted to offer you a sneak peak behind the scenes. Just enough to whet the appetite without any spoilers!
Our game designers have had great fun uncovering the macabre history of Norwich’s Guildhall and discovering the stories behind the many inhabitants of the cells. The first prisoners were held there in 1412 and prisoners occupied those cells up to as recently as 1985. BODY OF EVIDENCE focuses on a particularly gruesome murder which happened on the streets of Victorian Norwich. In this game it is down to you to piece together the clues to identify the body, convict the murderer and find justice for the victim. This real-life murder case lay unsolved for 18 years – you have just one hour!
As you may have seen we have recorded a couple of promotional videos for the game, as well as a number of video inserts which play out the story of the case and provide vital information as you progress through the game. These scenes were filmed in the very same court room that have housed the trials for many cases of this kind. Click any of the images below to view the promo.
(From L-R: Ben Leach and Richard Crowest direct a scene. A still from the BODY OF EVIDENCE promo. Filming in the Guildhall’s court room.)
Onto the room itself! The cells have sat uninhabited and closed off to the public for a number of years now so needed a good clean before installing the game, although the prisoner graffiti, scrawled all over the walls of the cells, remains. The team spent weeks searching car boots and flea markets for period furniture to add to the authenticity in what is already a very atmospheric setting and provides some very unique elements of game-play.
Our finishing touches come courtesy of the very talented local artist Bev Coraldean, with some beautiful signage throughout the room. You might recognise her work from the Norwich Lanes colouring book and various sign writing across the city, including at The Sir Garnet pub, which the History Mystery team affectionately call ‘The Board Room’ after having many moments of inspiration over a drink there. You can follow all of Bev’s work here.
(Bev Coraldean adds detail to one of many pieces of signage in the room.)
With the room all put together we were then ready to start having teams in for testing. Testing is a vital component of escape game design as it allows the game designers to analyse the game play and check that all the puzzles and clues that made sense in theory also make sense in practice. Many thanks to the wide range of testers we had in for helping us iron out any kinks and ensure this is the best game we could have designed in these cells. We’re very pleased with the results and can’t wait to start welcoming teams into the cells. Special mention to Jon Rogers and family, aka ‘Green & Yellows’, who proved to be our first winners of BODY OF EVIDENCE, solving the case and avoiding the hangman’s noose with 3 minutes and 4 seconds to spare.
(A briefing, deep in the cells, before the game.) (Our first winning team, ‘Green & Yellows’.)
All at History Mystery are very excited to be opening this room, in the same week 165 years after the real case was opened. To be one of the first to try your hand at solving the case in BODY OF EVIDENCE then book here.