A field research trip to a world famous perfumer is a dream come true for most women – for me as a female producer – it was an eye opener into the decadent word of luxurious perfumes and one which truly informs the game experience in the upcoming game title, Passport to Perfume.
Passport to Perfume is a PC/Mac game that offers players the chance to engage in an end to end perfumery experience where you play the role of Sophia, a young adventure-seeker, perfume maker and shop owner in the 1940’s. The game encompasses three game genres: time management, economic sim and hidden object as you manage a perfume shop, create scents, select from an elegant perfume bottle inventory and sell your creations to customers. Your adventures don’t stop there either – on weekends, you get to travel the world searching for rare ingredients and exotic perfume bottles.
In making the game, the PlayFirst team and our development partner, Mean Hamster wanted to truly reflect the art of perfume making in the game world by immersing the player in the experience from the concept stage and sourcing the ingredients right through to selling the final product and setting the right market price.
We ventured out of our offices to "YOSH Olfactory Sense", the downtown San Francisco perfume studio of Yosh Han. Yosh is the founder and an extremely passionate perfumer who has been practicing her art for 15 years. Her perfumery crafts signature scents for customers around the world including celebrities such as Nick Hornby and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket).
Yosh has a patented process of selecting scents, using various natural ingredients, some classic and several very unique and exotic scents of which we had never heard. Our research unearthed many facets of the art of perfume making that amazed us such as how scent can be matched to personalities and how talented Yosh was at predicting which scents we would steer towards based on our characteristics.
In our research of the perfume market, we also learned that the industry is now producing several new "bespoke" scents and tailored fragrances for a more demanding clientele. Perfumers are also now leaning towards scents that are made with perfume oil and natural botanicals instead of alcohol which is how master perfumes crafted their wares centuries ago. In Passport to Perfume, Sophia’s quest to uncover the formula for Marie Antoinette’s perfume also seeks to uncover the classic, natural ingredients that were so admired in the decadent days of the French bourgeoisie.
As a result of such an inspiring visit, we’ve also featured many common and rarely used botanical ingredients in Passport to Perfume that you can combine to make your own signature scents that you sell in your own perfumery. You can also travel to the geographical areas that produce these botanicals as part of your own field research trip!
Look out for more sneak peeks into Sophias’ world and the exciting features in Passport to Perfume as we uncover more in the lead up to the game release this month!