“Barrett and his team are currently looking closely at how they can exploit more explicit game mechanics in future productions. Earlier shows like The Masque of the Red Death and Sleep No More experimented with puzzle solving and treasure hunts, but Barrett feels these game-like elements disturbed the balance of the show too much. “I think we’ve learned that one discipline has to be your lead — so with The Drowned Man, The Masque of the Red Death, it’s theatre. We started putting game mechanics into it, putting a square peg into a round hole, and it didn’t quite fit. So I think if we were to do a project using game mechanics now, it would be a game primarily.””
Punchdrunk wants to make a proper game. I enjoyed “Sleep No More”, but I did have to suppress a lot of gamer/larper reflexes. Agency is incredibly limited. But this also makes it function at scale and for a broad audience. Beyond looking and moving, I’m not sure what other “verbs” a participant could be given before it breaks the experience.