V&A Secret Seekers

(Victoria & Albert Museum)

Families follow a cast of curious characters around the V&A, completing challenges to uncover the secrets of this beautiful building.

The brief

The V&A is Britain’s leading museum of art and design, welcoming over 3,000,000 visitors in 2016. To coincide with the opening of a £50 million redevelopment, the organisation commissioned a game, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to tell the story of this constantly evolving building and its crucial role in supporting Britain’s creative industries.

With family groups proven to be most likely to use smartphones onsite, this experience had to help intergenerational groups make the most of their visit by being widely accessible, encouraging discussion, exploration and active engagement.

Our response

V&A Secret Seekers gives family and friends the chance to play the V&A, meeting important characters from its history and exploring little-known corners of the building to complete challenges, collect gems and unlock special achievements.

Famous for being a confusing sprawl of galleries, our concept plays on this, using the Museum’s evolution over 150 years to tell a fascinating story about art, science and creative inspiration. Historical characters at the heart of the experience include the visionary Prince Albert, no-nonsense Captain Fowke, art student Annie Kemp and Jim, the Director’s dog.

Gameplay is built around active exploration, discussion and studying the details of the building. In the Cafe, players hunt out the dirty strip of wallpaper kept as a memento and on the first floor they can peer through a secret window into a disused gallery that fell out of fashion. Each completed challenge rewards players with a gem and these add up to unlock Achievements based on the way players move through the museum.

In partnership with the digital and interpretation teams at V&A, we collaborated to create – via a simple CMS – a bank of high quality dialogue and tricky challenges to support anything between a 10 minute or four hour experience. Extensive research into visitor smartphone usage informed our decision to develop the game in HTML5, making it accessible on desktop, tablet and smartphone.

Where Albert’s vision was to get Britain designing, ours is to get Britain playing and this game is a perfect combination of inspirational historical substance and light hearted, heads-up fun for all the family.