Following up on the hint left last week, the Clue HQ web site has changed rather substantially very recently. The new look is extremely smart, whereas the previous site was fun and slightly cartoon-y. (Not so wild about the close-up of the slightly bloodshot eye used to advertise the The Experiments Hallowe’en special, but that’s just the cowardice talking.) Most excitingly, the new web site suggests that Clue HQ will be expanding from their well-established Warrington and Blackpool locations to add new locations near Brentwood, in Essex, and in Sunderland, on Wearside.
The Brentwood location, more specifically, will be at the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Bunker site. (You may recall the Top Secret cryptic Treasure Hunt held at the same location last year.) The plan is to launch the site for the Autumn half-term, so that’s about a month or so away. The site will be launching with two games, Bunker 38 and Detonation. These are reckoned as two-star difficulty games, but Clue HQ’s difficulty scale tends to skew more challenging than most, so both games can still be expected to put up a fight. Both games have a one-hour time limit and host 3-6 players; the pricing structure is constant across the brand, with teams charged £63 for three players, £76 for four, £85 for five or £90 for six.
The Sunderland location, very interestingly, will co-locate with the local branch of Laser Quest; the opening is quoted elsewhere as “no later than December”. This site, too, will feature Bunker 38, but also the unusual high-score-table game The Vault. It’s particularly interesting to see a laser game facility add an exit game – and the laser game is said to have stunning visuals as the genre goes. Sometimes people reference the laser tag boom-and-bust in the UK between about 1989 and about 1993 in terms of one possible trajectory for exit games; the laser tag industry is quietly doing very well for itself in a reinvented form (specifically, an increasing number of soft play centres feature laser games these days, for the price of the equipment has come way down) and there could be far worse paths for exit games to tread. Is co-location with laser games, or with other entertainments that might be found in a family entertainment centre, the future? It’s likely to be part of it.
Two exciting developments for one of the most dynamic brands in the industry!