You open your eyes to find yourself in a dark morgue. You’re locked inside, and the only way to escape is to find four keys before the monsters hiding in the morgue find you. A 15-minute timer starts counting down, and the game is on. But this isn’t like any regular escape room. In the 144-square-foot morgue, you’re in the safety of an HTC Vive untethered headset.

Bane Haunted House has long been praised as the best-haunted house in New Jersey, and one of the best in the country. Yet, owners Jennifer and John Condron have a vision for Bane to continue revolutionizing the haunted house and escape room industry. In partnership with the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University, the Condrons’ vision is becoming (virtual) reality nearly a year into the making. The result: The Morgue, a 15-minute horror escape room in virtual reality (VR).

 “We’re Bane, this needs to be pop-out-of-your-skin scary,” says Jennifer. “It’s been an awesome partnership. We gave the Technology Park the vision of what we wanted it to look like, the scares and the room, and they created the game for us. They’ve been awesome at making it scary.”

Bane knew from the start that they wanted an untethered headset experience. Although horror video games like Resident Evil 7 can be played with VR headsets, and several companies are experimenting with headsets to create virtual horror experiences, Bane is the first of its kind to create an untethered VR experience. In other words, aside from the headset over the eyes and a backpack, players aren’t limited by ropes or connectors.

“This is something different, it’s more than an escape room,” says Jennifer. “We’re hoping to launch a four-player, half-hour escape room in January where players can see and work with each other in VR.”

Despite Bane’s success with their VR escape room, the vision doesn’t stop at escape rooms. The Condrons plan to continue growing Bane as the most innovative and unique haunted house in the industry. Their next phase: to take VR into a haunted house.

“We’re the only haunted house in the country that allows two or three guests at a time,” explains Jennifer. “We want to build a VR haunted attraction where you can pick things up, grab a weapon and kill monsters, and make it as interactive as possible.”

While this vision is probably at least another year out, Bane is still inviting customers to experience The Morgue, if they dare.

“I’m not terrified of anything,” says Jennifer. “But in VR, I’ll be honest, this is scary.” 

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