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Behind the scenes at the world's first mobile AR escape room

Escape rooms are hot, but can be much more than just a team-building activity. In order to attract the best IT talent in a distinctive way, we at ABN AMRO therefore developed, in combination with our creative partner CODE D’AZUR, the world’s first mobile Augmented Reality escape room: The Lockdown . How did this ambitious project come about?

In The Lockdown room we are in the year 2028. Cryptocurrency is the only valid currency. Suddenly millions of people can no longer go to their money because of a ‘hack’. This appears to be the work of a cybercriminal. The player is challenged to solve challenges in order to save the world from financial catastrophe. In search of the cybercriminal, themes such as information security and blockchain are the main theme throughout the story.

War for talent

The demand for digital talent has increased enormously in recent years. In order to attract the attention of the best talent, especially in the IT sector, a traditional vacancy placement is no longer enough. With the goal of recruiting 400 professionals in the tech and IT sectors in 2018, we faced a major challenge at the bank. Here tech experts can make the difference, but that is not equally known to everyone.
We know from the IT audience that they love games, like to follow the news and that they are interested in digital innovation. Based on this insight, the concept of a game with augmented reality technology came into being, with which you can transform any space into an escape room, within the theme of technological innovation.

Agile collaboration

If you develop a game for the IT and tech sector, it must be like a house. Together with the technology and creative experts from CODE D’AZUR, we laid the foundation for The Lockdown. In addition, we have invited several experts to join. For example, blockchain and infosecurity specialists from the bank were closely involved in making a success story. Sherlocked, known from some of the most successful escape rooms in the world, has helped us to develop challenging challenges.
Together we have worked on the key elements that make The Lockdown what it is: a compelling story, and puzzles that give a good picture of the challenges that IT specialists at the bank face every day. Themes such as cryptocurrency, infosecurity and blockchain run like a red thread through the game.
All these parties have worked together in an agile method, with biweekly sprints to finish the game in record time. After three months of intensive collaboration The Lockdown was born, as well as an accompanying campaign that was shown both online and in the cinema.

AR Technology

The Lockdown is one of the first games to extensively use the AR Kit and AR Core technology launched by Apple and Google last year respectively. Erik Rave, Technology Director at CODE D’AZUR, adds: “ We are extremely pleased with the result: a challenging game based on the new AR technology.With intensive collaboration with various specialists, we have been able to develop a realistic concept. Many concepts around AR are very sci-fi, but with the help of the AR technology we have been able to make The Lockdown into a game of which it is good to think that you are completely immersed in it.


A game in which the player has to stop a hacker in a race against the clock also needs an appropriate launch. During The Next Web Conference, one of the world’s leading technology events, a hack was simulated on the main stage, where our cybercriminal focused on those present. “You can not always get what you want, but you’ll get what you need …”. After this, visitors could download the game directly via a QR code on the screen.
In addition to the official launch, there is also collaboration with PR agency NewsLab to give technology and IT influencers a sneak preview of the game, to play the game before launch and to write their reviews.


Together with the launch of the game, as well as the online and cinema campaign that was subsequently launched, the results have been overwhelming. The game has been downloaded almost 10,000 times on iOS and Android and receives favorable reviews and comments from users. In addition, The Lockdown is not only played in the Netherlands, but we see that this first mobile AR escape room has a range far beyond our own borders, including in the United States, England, Russia and Brazil. We also see a substantial increase in the number of visitors to the Works at ABN AMRO site.
The big question ultimately remains: do you have the knowledge, the insight and perseverance to search for the directions you lead to the hacker, such as his fingerprints, location, date of birth or the details in his iris? Do you break through his security system? Or are you the one who finds and creaks the three ‘offline’ challenges as one of the few? There is only one way to find out: play The Lockdown. Good luck! Download The Lockdown for iOS or Android.

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