KEY Production Notes: Indy Edition + WEEKEND PUZZLE #379

Ahoy-hoy Sleuths!

You heard from Brighella with her answers to your G34 KEY production questions. You saw Roo’s favorite behind-the-scenes memories. Today I am answering some more of those burning questions about the making of Nancy Drew: Mystery of the Seven Keys™️ as well as leaving you with a new Weekend Puzzle, #379.

  1. @themajesticemily  •  What is your favorite type of ND puzzle?

    • This is really hard because I enjoy so many, I personally really love logic puzzles like seating charts. I also like a traditional puzzle like the otter puzzle or a wall tile puzzle. A hot take for puzzles is I really enjoyed the untangling picture frame puzzle in Shadow at the Water’s Edge that I know some feel very passionately about. The untangling puzzle is actually something I pitched and was at one point going to be a part of KEY.
    • One of the biggest lessons I have learned from the production of KEY is that when working on a large team all focused on a creative endeavor, you cannot get upset if an idea you had changes or gets scrapped. At first, the untangling puzzle fit great for the timing of the player’s progression in the story and for what we wanted to accomplish or have the “reward” be for the player. If everyone doesn’t agree on an idea, it doesn’t mean the idea is bad, or you aren’t “creative enough.” It just means it’s not there yet. Every time we had meetings discussing something “just not being there yet” we always came up with a solution that was so much better than the original idea.
    • So, although the untangling puzzle for game 34 that I came up with did not make it in, the puzzle that took its place is, BY FAR, my favorite puzzle we have ever done. It is truly like nothing else I can even relate it to, and the reward the player gets for beating the puzzle blew my socks off. I think when making this game, every team member had a “pinch me” moment or a moment that made them cry. Watching what the simple untangled puzzle turned into made me cry and it was the first moment where what we were working on really sunk in. I was on the team making a Nancy Drew game.  
  2.  @catherineharton98  •  What is it like to work with a team of all women?

    • It’s a type of magic you don’t realize is so special until you don’t have it anymore. I know it’s cheesy, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I have been very fortunate enough that in many of my jobs, I have been surrounded by strong and creative women.
    • I went to a high school and college that were both almost 75% women, and my first big girl job was at HeR Interactive! The importance cannot be understated of finding an environment where you see leaders who you look up to. It is rare to find a team comprised of so many women in the gaming industry, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it. But I would also be remiss if I did not give a special shout-out to the other members of my team or the other teams I work with. Without all of them, we wouldn’t be able to tell well-rounded stories and highlight diverse experiences. You need so many people and their unique voices to truly make a great game, and I think we have that here with KEY.
  3.  @_Loiterer_  •  Is it challenging or exciting to work on a game with so many people wanting so much from it?

  4. @july.cher  •  Did you take fans’ critique into account for the upcoming game?

    • I am going to answer these questions together. The first 6 months I came back to HeR, my main task every day was to read every email with feedback from MID. And I really do mean every single email. I made spreadsheets of fans’ likes/dislikes. I watched YouTube reviews, read Reddit threads, scrolled through Facebook groups – the works. It is so important to all of us that we build on the rich storytelling and character worlds we had in MID but improve on places we know we can do better. Most of the comments centered around graphics, animations, navigation controls, having the hints and journal, all fixable and have been taken into consideration in the upcoming game.
    • I think another big life lesson I learned while working on KEY is you cannot please everyone. I think there are definitely times when I needed to think about what fans or the casual player would want, but if you let go of that fear, you start to unlock ideas that you would never have had before if you were still trying to put yourself into the box of “It has to be just like (insert a previous Nancy Drew Game).” I think this lesson translates to everyday life really nicely.
  5. @kate.drew.comething  •  What unhinged reference got added to the game after the fact because of us?

    • All of us at HeR have hidden lots of little references throughout the game. Some are callbacks to our favorite things from the world of Nancy Drew; others are a bit more personal for ourselves and our loved ones.
    • My favorite reference in the whole game is one I cannot take credit for, though. At one game production meeting, we were discussing what voice actors were coming in at the end of the week to record any pick-up lines needed. One of my really creative leaders, who likes to stay behind the scenes, tells us she is going to have Brittany Cox record an iconic line that was originally said in Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, as there is a moment in KEY that is very similar to something small that player does in DOG.
    • It is a little hard to explain without just showing you, but any big Nancy fan will know exactly what I am referencing when you get to the part in KEY. I audibly screamed with delight when I saw the audio clip implemented in the game for the first time. It is perfect and my absolute favorite “unhinged” reference that we added later on in production. 
  6.  @jessicacarolinemysteries23 •  Which game character from previous games would you want to bring back?

    • I would love to catch up with Mel Corbalis. I know there is a reference to her playing her cello at the Missti Skip, but I would love it if she were away somewhere at an illustrious music school, and she called us asking to help her with a musical mystery there. I also am dying to know who won the race for the valedictorian. I know here at Nancy Drew Games, we love to leave things up to interpretation, but the valedictorian storyline always felt a little unfinished to me. I really thought one day we would see the valedictorian announcement in the corner of a newspaper we dug out of a trash can somewhere.
  7.  @thegeorgefayne  •  So am I coming with Nancy in person or do I have to stick with being phone help?

    • George!? What are you doing here? I thought you were staying at home in River Heights to help your mom do yard work and watch Togo while Carson is at work?

Weekend Puzzle #379

Now there may only be 7 Q&As for 7 keys in this blog post, but for a super sleuth, you just may be able to turn 7 into 10! Solve weekend puzzle #379 below!

Instructions: Each answer will take you to a YouTube video. The urls all start with and you need to fill in the rest of the link. Happy sleuthing!





Click To View Puzzle Answers!





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One response to “KEY Production Notes: Indy Edition + WEEKEND PUZZLE #379”

  1. Mary says:

    Where to begin. I have not begun to solve this puzzle, while other clever people have solved it and provided little clues for others! Meanwhile, this puzzle seems like a harbinger of things to come in the ND world. I still remember the earlier ND games and secret passageways. Now, we are to find secret websites. I can’t Czech that off my task list yet.

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