There are plenty of quotes that I’ve used over the years to try and describe me and my motivations to do things. One of my current favorites is from the pen of Tuomas Holopainen, and it sums up perfectly why I’m happy to be the CEO of Beyond Play.
“I do not wish to evade the world / Yet I will forever build my own”
Building worlds has been part of my DNA for as long as I can remember. It was always my dream to do that professionally, and have like-minded people work with me doing that. Founding Beyond Play was a dream come true, frankly, although living the dream never is what you expect in real life.
The concept behind our upcoming release, the immersive game experience Out of Orbit, stems from years of creating different kinds of games, coming up with ideas, all dancing around something that hadn’t quite clicked yet. Founding a company around a very specific set of people and skills is what ultimately made it click, and the concept of Out of Orbit started forming so organically, that we wondered how we hadn’t started doing this before. But we also felt that the timing was better now than it would’ve before.
There was never a doubt in my mind that 2020 was the best possible year to release a game like Out of Orbit. Immersive experiences have become more coveted and popular during the past years, and the fact that we’ve created immersive games for decades is a great advantage to us. Turning what we know into a commercially viable, high quality experience was an organic step to take.
We are very happy to have a commercial partner in Primehotels, who run several beautiful hotels around Helsinki and the rest of Finland. Primehotels has long been in the experience business and is also famous for hosting several escape rooms within their hotel premises in Helsinki and Hyvinkää. They believed in our concept for Out of Orbit, and the wider potential it has for example in creating event and team building services for companies.
One of the escape room spaces at Hotel Rantapuisto had become vacant, and it was a perfect canvas for building a space shuttle.
The pandemic hit us at an interesting phase production wise. We were in pre-production, and only a month away from starting the actual build. Not only did our team have to stop working at the office, we also could not access the space for any preparatory work, and there was no idea whatsoever when anything would start returning to normal.
Now we’re more than two months into this situation and thankfully things are looking up. We’ve continued pre-production and shifted it slightly to cover more of the larger IP building and design around Out of Orbit. It was never meant to be based on one shots, but on a coherent, deep story world which could be accessed and affected through several games.
We have recently published our Mesenaatti.me Korona Aid crowdfunding campaign, which reached its minimum target within 24 hours. A great show of trust towards us, but also proof that the concept of Out of Orbit is something interesting to the gaming audiences.
Looking back we’re actually quite happy that we ended up on the crowdfunding path. We get to involve people and interact with them through the campaign, and ultimately everything we do is about participation. Our goal is to have people participate in telling the story and creating depth to the world. The community aspect of playing is very important to us, and we want to make that part of our operations from the get go.
There’s still no solid information on when exactly we’ll be able to start building the space, but we have reason to be hopeful about next Autumn. Even if public spaces and hotels will operate under restrictions, Out of Orbit can likely be launched. Playing it is entirely possible while maintaining safety precautions. And we’re willing to bet that by that time escapism and immersive experiences are a welcome change of pace for many.
With summer around the corner many will start looking at vacationing. We will turn our eyes towards Rantapuisto and the build ahead of us. Lucky for us, there’s a magnificent beach just a few steps from the space shuttle.
Onwards, pilots! See you in space!