Breakout Malaysia companions Beverly Group for digital interactive rental tour

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Throughout the MCO, property visits online have increased. Some property developers, agencies or tenants offer either video tours or virtual 360 ° visits together with their offers on real estate marketplaces.

Rather than going the traditional route, Singaporean developer Beverly Group (Beverly) partnered with Breakout to improve the property’s viewing experience. It is supposed to present their new serviced apartment ONE EQUINE in Seri Kembangan, KL.

The game is called LINDA and works similar to Bandersnatch from Black Mirror on Netflix, with additional puzzles. Players choose commands that affect how the story unfolds.

As far as we know, this is the first property developer in Malaysia to offer such a virtual viewing experience publicly. The goal is to help customers understand ONE EQUINE’s project offerings while keeping them safe and entertained from home.

On September 11th, LINDA was launched and we at Vulcan Post had the opportunity to review it.

Choose your own story

While I couldn’t try Breakout’s live online escape room with my co-workers last year, I’d say I’ve had a lot of experience with Netflix’s own story offerings.

I repeated Bandersnatch several times (to see all sorts of scenarios) and realized how poor my survival skills were in Bear Grylls’ You vs. Wild.

LINDA was filmed with live actors in the ONE EQUINE show unit, where video production and software development were involved to implement the experience. It is able to host up to 100 players per 40 minute session on its server and the team controls the login rates.

A screenshot from LINDA’s trailer / Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group

Without giving too much away, LINDA’s premise follows a girl who calls herself Linda in her quest to save her “dying relationship” with her lover Thomas.

Players choose Linda’s actions and solve a few puzzles along the way to break into Thomas’ house, plant a gift, and escape unnoticed. It is recommended that you have notes (pen and paper work best, but a pen and device also work) on standby before playing to jot down certain pointers.

Although your choice is yours, final action is still determined by a majority of the votes. For example, if 51/100 players voted for the actor to hide behind a couch, the final act of the actor is to hide behind the couch.

An example of the choices you would see on the screen / Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group

Puzzles in LINDA revolve around deciphering number-centric passwords and were actually quite difficult for me and my colleague to solve. (Forgive us, we didn’t bother with numbers much after we graduated years ago.)

I would attribute it to the fear of seeing a 5 minute timer countdown for your responses to be sent. But when my partner had one of the puzzles try out after the game, he solved it pretty quickly without having to write anything on paper.

Although my colleague and I couldn’t solve the puzzles, if you got the answers wrong the game wouldn’t end. However, they also don’t know whether you got it right or wrong until the session is over.

In a way, it felt like your answer didn’t matter because there didn’t seem to be any consequences. Understandably, however, this was by design to keep the experience within 40 minutes.

One thing I would have liked was an interactive element to discuss actions with other players in the session. It would make for a more collaborative game even if you were physically playing it alone.

There were times when I felt misled after making a choice and watching the actor do something else that I didn’t choose. It would annoy me at first until I remembered that the votes were based on the decisions of the majority.

Perhaps a poll that appears after all players have voted would be a handy addition so you know how many respondents chose which answer.

As for the highlighting of ONE EQUINE’s offerings, I’d say the game does a pretty good job at that. Very early in the game, we were introduced to the project’s facilities and nearby amenities before we stepped into the exciting part of the story.

Portions of filming highlighting ONE EQUINE’s free buggy service from the shuttle bus stop to your unit and proximity to food and other locations / image credit: Breakout X Beverly Group

At times, the highlights felt a little forced, but the 40-minute limitation of the session likely meant less freedom to explore the facilities naturally.

And yes, we managed to escape successfully!

Navigate fantasy through reality

One of the challenges that both Beverly and Breakout noted to Vulcan Post was the difficulty in scheduling the filming. Since the shooting took place in the 45 square meter show unit of ONE EQUINE in the sales gallery, which customers also visited physically, disruptions had to be minimized.

An interesting tidbit that Breakout shared was that while the unit already had furniture, it didn’t have a door for customers to view. After trying in vain to find multiple angles to bypass it, the team had to install a fake door for the film.

Note the door on the left that was installed just for the taking / photo credit; Breakout X Beverly Group

The software for LINDA also had to be reprogrammed from scratch as they created a new virtual experience with no prior data. It was up to the Breakout team to provide their software engineer with the right requirements with minimal errors based on their vision.

LINDA’s plot was also drawn out as the game designers had to work out all sorts of decisions that players can make and their possible endings.

  • Areas of the show unit that were used for LINDA / Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group
  • Areas of the show unit that were used for LINDA / Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group
  • Areas of the show unit that were used for LINDA / Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group

“At the same time, I have to subtly integrate the uniqueness of ONE EQUINE’s property into the game. It really takes a lot of attention to detail to find the right path to avoid repetition and mistakes, ”said Johnny, Head of Experience Design at Breakout.

It took both parties about 4 months to bring LINDA to life, from storyline creation to video production and web application development to the launch of the experience.

Hopefully more will come

Aside from the things that could be improved for LINDA, it’s a commendable performance from both Beverly and Breakout.

Alexis Ng, Head of Sales and Marketing at Beverly Group, said of her target market, “We definitely want to reach all possible audiences as this experience is created to appeal to the general public who are already familiar with basic technologies such as smartphones and smartphone surfing on the Internet.”

“We don’t want it to be complicated so that we can target a wider audience, especially those in the tech-savvy age group between 18 and 45 years old.”

While the experience was easy and straightforward to access, it may be mainly the younger folks who would be more drawn to the LINDA premise. Even if they don’t have the purchasing power, they would likely share their experiences on social media, providing ONE EQUINE with word-of-mouth.

I can say that I would like to repeat this experience several times, a) because participation is free and b) to try out all possible scenarios that could have happened depending on different decisions. The latter, however, is still based on a majority decision, which will make it difficult to explore all routes.

When asked if Breakout plans to work with other property developers to release different storylines, Johnny said he was interested.

“At the same time, I’m also looking forward to working with various industry players such as malls, auto dealers, or even brand owners to gamify their products or services to deliver an immersive experience to their customers,” he said.

“We are definitely ready to have much more interesting experiences and shed light on and shed light on people’s lives in this pandemic time.”

Breakout went through several challenges as a physical entertainment hub during the pandemic, and the team racked their brains trying to come up with ideas for how to spin without deviating from their core branding. In keeping with this, they previously launched a virtual breakout experience and puzzle gift boxes.

With this collaboration with the Beverly Group, the team has now found another source of income that fits their branding. There’s a lot of potential in this project and with their track record in creating experiences that will go down well with their audiences, we’d say Breakout is well positioned to continue to weather the pandemic.

  • LINDA will be available for everyone to experience free of charge every weekend at 4 p.m. from September to November 2021. Interested parties can unsubscribe here.
  • You can find out more about the Beverly Group here and ONE EQUINE here.
  • You can read more about what we wrote about Breakout here.

Featured Image: Breakout X Beverly Group

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