Throughout the MCO, property tours have rotated online. Some real estate developers, agencies or tenants offer either video tours or virtual 360 ° viewings as well as their advertisements on the real estate markets.
Instead of going the conventional route, Singaporean developer Beverly Group (Beverly) collaborated with Breakout to gamify the property viewing experience. It is intended to present their new serviced apartment, ONE EQUINE in Seri Kembangan, KL.
The game is called LINDA and works similar to Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch on Netflix, with the addition of puzzles. Players select controls that influence the course of the story.
From what we know, this is the first real estate developer in Malaysia to publicly offer such a virtual viewing experience. The goal is to help clients understand ONE EQUINE’s project offerings while keeping them safe and entertaining from their homes.
On September 11, LINDA launched and we at Vulcan Post had a chance to review it.
Choose your own story
While I wasn’t able to try Breakout’s Live Online Escape Room with my colleagues last year, I would say I’ve had a lot of experience with Choice Your Own Netflix Story offerings.
I replayed Bandersnatch a few times (to look at all possible scenarios) and realized how bad my survival skills were in Bear Grylls’ You vs. Wild.
LINDA was filmed with live actors inside ONE EQUINE’s show unit, where video production and software development were involved to roll out the experience. It is able to host up to 100 players per 40-minute session on its server, and the team monitors registration rates.
Without giving too much away, LINDA’s premise follows a girl, who calls herself Linda, on 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 help break into Thomas’ house, plant a gift, and escape unnoticed. You are encouraged to have note-taking materials (pen and paper work best, but stylus and device also work) on standby before the game to jot down some clues provided.
While you have the power to choose, the final action is always determined by majority vote. For example, if 51/100 players voted to have the actor hide behind a sofa, the actor’s final action would be to hide behind the sofa.
The puzzles in LINDA revolve around decoding number-centric access codes and were actually quite difficult for my colleague and I to solve. (Forgive us, we didn’t patronize the numbers much after graduating years ago.)
I would blame the anxiety for watching a 5 minute countdown for your answers to be submitted. But by letting my partner try one of the puzzles after the game, he solved it pretty quickly without having to write anything down on paper.
Although my colleague and I couldn’t solve the puzzles, the game wouldn’t stop if you got the wrong answer. However, you also won’t know if you are right or wrong until the session ends.
In a way, it made it seem like your answer didn’t matter because there didn’t seem to be any consequences. Naturally though, this was intentional by design to keep the experience within 40 minutes.
One thing I wish the experience had allowed was an interactive element to discuss actions with other players in the session. It would make for a more collaborative game, even if you’re playing it physically on your own.
There were times when I felt misled after making a choice and watched the actor do something else that I didn’t choose. It annoyed me at first until I remembered that the votes were based on the choices of the majority.
Perhaps a poll displayed after all players have voted would be a handy addition to have as well, so you know how many participants chose which answer.
In terms of highlighting ONE EQUINE’s offerings, I would say the game does a pretty good job at that. Very early on in the game, we were introduced to the project’s facilities and nearby amenities before entering the suspenseful part of the story.
At times the highlights felt a bit forced, but the 40-minute session limit likely meant less freedom to explore the facilities naturally.
And yes, we managed to successfully escape!
Navigate the fantasy in reality
Among the challenges Beverly and Breakout reported to Vulcan Post were the difficulties in planning the shoot. As the filming took place in the ONE EQUINE exhibition unit at the sales gallery which customers also physically visited, disruption had to be minimized.
An interesting detail shared by Breakout was that although the unit already had furniture in place, it did not have a door for the convenience of guest visits. After trying unsuccessfully to find multiple angles to get around this, the team had to install a false door for the film.
The software to accommodate LINDA also had to be programmed from scratch as they created a new virtual experience with no old data to work with. It was up to the Breakout team to deliver the right requirements to their software engineer with minimal errors based on their vision.
The LINDA storyline was also tedious, as the game designers had to pull all the possible decisions players can make and their possible endings.
“At the same time, I have to adapt subtly to the uniqueness of the ONE EQUINE property in the game. It really takes a lot of attention to detail to create the right path to avoid repetitions and mistakes,” said Johnny, Experience Design Manager at Breakout.
Bringing LINDA to life took around 4 months for both parties, from creating the storyline, to video production and web application development, to deploying the experience.
More to come, I hope
Aside from aspects that could still be improved upon for LINDA, this is a laudable effort on the part of Beverly and Breakout.
Alexis Ng, head of sales and marketing at Beverly Group, said of their target market: “We absolutely want to reach all kinds of audiences because this experience was created to appeal to the general public who are already familiar with the technologies of basic like smartphones and web browsing. “
“It’s not supposed to be complicated so that we can engage with a larger target audience, especially those in the technologically savvy 18-45 age group. “
Although the experience was easy and straightforward to access, it is perhaps mainly the younger clientele who would be more attracted to the principle of LINDA. Even if they are not the ones with the purchasing power, they would likely share the experience on social media, providing ONE EQUINE with word of mouth marketing.
I can say that the experiment is an experiment that I would like to replay several times, a) because it’s free, and b) to try out all the possible scenarios that could have happened based on different decisions. Again, the latter is always based on a majority vote which will make it more difficult to explore all avenues.
When asked if Breakout plans to work with more real estate developers to release different storylines, Johnny said he’s interested in doing so.
“At the same time, I am also looking forward to collaborating with different industry players such as shopping malls, car dealerships or even brand owners to gamify their products or services to provide a more immersive experience for their customers. customers, ”he said.
“We are definitely ready to have much more interesting experiences, to make an impact and to enlighten the lives of people during this time of pandemic. “
Breakout faced multiple challenges as a hub of physical entertainment throughout the pandemic, and the team racked their brains for ideas on how to pivot without deviating from their main brand. On a related note, they previously launched a virtual escape experience and puzzle gift boxes.
Now, with this collaboration with Beverly Group, the team has once again found another source of income that matches their branding. There is a lot of potential in this project and with their background in creating experiences that appeal to their audiences, we would say Breakout is well positioned to continue through the pandemic.
- LINDA will be available free to everyone from September to November 2021, at 4 p.m. every weekend. Those interested can RSVP here.
- You can read more about what we wrote about Breakout here.
Featured Image Credit: Breakout X Beverly Group