Westgate to gain escape rooms with movie themes

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

Paul Boyd has been helping create and build escape rooms nationwide, but when he finally decided to open his own, there was only one place he wanted to have it.

Get ready to say hello to Escape Westgate.

“I started doing escape rooms in 2014, but this is separate, and when I decided to open my own, there was only one place we wanted to be and that was Westgate,” Boyd said. “We looked around, but when we met with YAM (YAM Properties LLC, the owners of Westgate), they made us feel at home, and I know they wanted an escape room presence and we are going to give it to them.”

Located on the southwest side of Westgate, next to IT’SUGAR and Yard House,

Escape Westgate will offer realistic and immersive escape room games, backed with Hollywood-styled gaming and special effects. Boyd has gotten officially licensed rooms that include Terminator 2 Escape, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Escape Room, as well as a third room called The Lost Tomb.

“I got the officially licensed because my general contractor, I went to high school with, and he helped install all the Planet Hollywood restaurants,” Boyd said. “He was a curator and introduced me to the movie people and we got the licensed, so we are really excited to show people what we are going to do.”

Escape rooms are physical adventure games in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategies to complete objectives to try to “escape” a room.

Old-school rooms are inspired by “escape-the-room” style video games and are set in fictional locations such as dungeons, prisons, space stations and others.

Boyd said Escape Westgate will be different because it has been granted official licenses to have two rooms based on movies. One will be based on “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” where competitors will be required to help save the world from the Terminator.

“With Terminator 2, you will start in Cyberdyne System and then you will work your way to the factory and you have to stop the teleportation chamber of the Terminator,” Boyd said. “You have to get through a number of things in your 60-minutes time limit before you come face to face with the Terminator.”

The second officially licensed movie it will base a room on is “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” as well as the sequel, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.”

“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Escape Room, which will put players right in the movie, will put you face to face with actual characters from the movies,” Boyd said.

With both movies planning new sequels in 2019, Boyd said he is hopeful that if successful, the rooms can be updated to splice in aspects of those sequels when they are released.

“With a new Terminator and Bill and Ted movie planned, yes, if these are successful, we hope to add to the rooms next year,” Boyd said.

Escape Westgate will have a third room, without a movie license, that will be a type of Mayan Tomb themed room where players will be an Indiana Jones-type character trying to escape a mummy’s tomb.

Boyd said getting the two movie licenses gives him what he feels is an advantage to other escape rooms in Arizona.

“Having the actual Terminator and Bill and Ted, that is going to make the adventure even more fun and exciting for the players,” Boyd said. “We are also going to a lot more technological and not just locking people in a room and having them solve puzzles and one key to unlock a number of locks.”

Boyd said the technological aspect has been costly, but he believes it will be worth it in the end as each room will be challenging and complex, but fun for everyone involved.

“There is definitely going to be different difficulty levels in each room, but we have to make it so that the participants feel like they accomplished something,” Boyd said. “We are just in the concept phase, but we are focused on making things as exciting as possible for everyone.”

Each room will have cameras, where a clue-master will watch the participants and offer clues as time moves on, as each team will have to work together to escape the games.

“There will be clue-masters who will know where players should be and will offer clues as they go through the game,” Boyd said. “Ultimately, it is up to everyone to escape, but it is also our job to offer them an amazing time and we plan on doing that.”

As early construction has begun at Escape Westgate, Boyd said he is aiming for opening before the end of the year.

“We are aiming for an early December opening, but we have the wheels turning, and game production is in the process and it is just a matter of getting everything built and installed,” Boyd said. “Our spin is going to be come play the movies. I mean, everyone loves the movies and to take the elements of the Terminator or Bill and Ted and you have to use your team to solve the adventure and get out in 60 minutes with lots of high tech puzzles.”

He added, “Our games will be new and so high-tech that it is going to be an amazing time and fun for all.”

For updates on Escape Westgate and when its official grand opening will be, visit www.escapewestgate.com or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/escapewestgate.

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