Telling The Tale Of A Disturbed Little Girl: Fran Bow

Fran Bow

Natalia Figueroa wrote a theatrical play about 11 years ago about a girl named “Nobody.” After attempting to tell the story via an animation, a film (which she got some funding for) and even a comic, it seemed like a curse hovered over Natalia and the story as something would always come up that would mean stopping the continuation of the production. Not giving up, at some point, Natalia thought that maybe turning Nobody into a game would be possible, and that would also have the benefit of being able to be interactive with her audience.

It was decided, and in August 2012, she joined up with Isak Martinsson, who would fill in the gaps as a coder. Together, they decided to call themselves Kill Monday because they hate Mondays, and Nobody became a point-and-click puzzle-adventure about a girl called Fran Bow.

“Who is FRAN BOW? She is a girl, a pretty sweet little girl with a fucked up mind and story to tell.”

Fran BowFran Bow is a weird little girl whose parents are brutally murdered, leaving her only two individuals that cared about her. First was her cat, Midnight, who accompanies her steps and shares her wide-eyed gaze. Second is Aunt Grace, who decides to take responsibility for her from there onwards. But Fran was hit harder by her parents’ murders, and she descends into a state of shock and decides to run away. The next anyone ever sees of Fran, including the player, she has wound up inside a mental institution, from where she’s keen to escape and find her cat once again.

As innocent as Fran Bow may be, it’s immediately apparent when you first see the game’s Burton-esque art direction that it’s a very dark tale, and one imbued with horror and strange characters. Fran’s mental condition deteriorates, and by the time you join her as she attempts to escape the asylum and get back home, it’s not obvious how much is real and what is being conjured by Fran’s fragile mind.

Keeping true to the horror and gore necessary for the game’s story has taken its toll on Natalia. She writes that she’s cried, laughed and almost puked at having to research into gore and meat for the game. Some of what she has seen really shocked her. The hope is that will be passed down to the player when they travel with Fran on her way home.

Fran BowTelling the story of Fran Bow has been integrated with the game’s puzzles so that the gameplay doesn’t feel out of place. Tips for solutions come through in conversation, should you dare speak to the other characters in the game, but if you are brave and choose to say the right things, then hints are available, while not being glaringly obvious. Once you’ve managed to solve a particular area, you’re then thrown into a mini-game, which is where the graphics take a dramatic turn as Fran becomes a tiny, pixelated girl in a gameplay-driven dream-like section.

Expect a mix of disturbing visuals to go along with the unnerving narrative setpieces, and if you think it’s weird before you take the red pills, you just wait until after! These pills apparently change how Fran sees everything around here, and like any drug trip, the imagery will become more violent as Fran’s past is brought up, and the characters start to become just a little scarier than they were before.

The first things you get to know about Fran is that her parents are brutally murdered, and she only has two individuals left that really care about her – her cat, Midnight, and Aunt Grace. Fran, in the desperation of seeing her parents die, falls into shock and runs away from home. And after that, the only thing we see is her inside a mental institution. But she has to get to find her cat and go home. On the way home, she will indeed find a lot of weird character, weird place and MORE weird when she takes the pills – the red pills that will make everything change and see things.

Fran Bow should be released before the end of 2013 on Windows, Mac, Linux, as well as Windows 8, iOS and Android. You can keep up with development over on the Kill Monday website.

Fran Bow

Related Posts