Escape rooms have been growing in popularity in recent years and a new business in Redmond is putting a twist on the classic formula.
The live-action games involve a group of people stuck in a room who must solve puzzles to escape or achieve an objective, but Quest Factor reversed the process.
Owner George Albantov opened his third location in Redmond along with co-owner Sergey Fahreev, which focuses on groups trying to break into an objective.
“I thought, you know what, this is a great way to create your own mini game, but in real life,” Albantov said.
The Redmond location will ultimately house six scenarios, but two bank heist and pirate-themed rooms will be open to the public in coming weeks.
The bank-heist scenario places players in the exterior of a vault where they must solve problems using clues provided to get into a vault.
From there, they have to avoid green lasers shooting across the room that set off an alarm and solve additional problems to get into the bank deposit boxes.
In the pirate scenario, players must find a way to get into the captain’s chambers.
Quest Factor will join only a handful of similar businesses in the area that offer a similar challenge.
Albantov said their first Quest Factor location was launched in 2016 in the University District of Seattle with a goal of catering to teens and young adults.
“Our goal was to gear our rooms towards the younger generation,” Albantov said.
The pair quickly found it was popular with a wide variety of people and decided to start a second location in Shoreline later that year.
In order to complete the challenge, teams must solve riddles, technical puzzles and exercise communication skills while paying attention to tiny details and clues scattered around the room.
Albantov said it also became popular with corporations and businesses as a way to built teamwork skills with employees.
This was part of what factored into the duo’s decision to locate in Redmond near Microsoft and other tech industry giants.
The location in north Redmond incorporates a common area full of tables that will facilitate activities like catering and presentations.
“Not just basically coming for the game, but we want to have a full experience,” Albantov said.
The games at the Redmond location will generally be of medium difficulty, which can be adjusted depending on the players.
Especially for children, more clues can be given, Albantov said.
Albantov is a former software engineer for Disney and said he played a few escape rooms in Europe before landing in Seattle.
The relative lack of the rooms came as a surprise, so he and Fahreev decided to start creating their own.
Every aspect of the experience is created deliberately, and players must work their way through the puzzles in a variety of ways designed by the creators.
Even as virtual-reality video games grow in popularity, Albantov said they still don’t compare to the tactile experience provided by an escape room.
Each room takes around four months to create and future rooms in Redmond could include Norwegian mythology, aliens and wizards.
Quest Factor is located at 14700 N.E. 95th St., unit 210.