Spotlight on Indies: Fran Bow

Killmonday's Fran Bow

Killmonday Games’  Franbow is a point-and-click psychological thriller about a previously joyous little girl named Fran, who’s parents brutally murdered. Fran is then discovered and committed to a mental hospital for children, being fed medication to help deal with the loss of her parents, but a mysterious force is trying to keep her from ever returning home to her beloved Aunt Grace and finding her best friend and cat Mr. Midnight. After playing the demo, we just had to have a talk with Natalia Figueroa, the head game designer for Killmonday to try and sort out the insanity that is Fran Bow….

Can you tell us about the origins of Kill Monday Games and how long you’ve been in action?

We started Killmonday one year ago! It is the evolution from our previous company, Ofokus, where we mostly made short films, animations and music videos. We always felt restricted in that area though, with our stories being too “weird” and “big” for us two poor low budget indie filmmakers. We couldn’t be fully free with that medium and whatever we tried to make we never were really satisfied. We never thought of making games really. Since Natalia always was looking for new areas to expand her skills, she thought of going to a school to learn 3d animation for games. Then Isak thought that, well, all he needed was to learn how to code and we could make it ourselves without needing to spend time and money on a school!  That idea sparked in both of us, and we felt like it was meant to be. The ultimate medium! We could be totally independent and limitless, have whatever story or idea we come up with to be interactive with our audience! That is the foundation for Killmonday! And the name Killmonday came up much later since we both had jobs so we could only work with games on the weekends, and when monday showed up we were always angry of it.

You’ve come a long way from your first game, the “evolution” side scroller Run N Destroy. How was the transition from a 72 hour deadline at Game Jams to the full fledged point and click Fran Bow?

Our first game was actually the free erotic porn game PIXXXEL! We challenged ourselves to make a game each in one week and that was Natalias contribution. Isaks game never got made, but it evolved into something else instead that we will show later. There never was a transition, since Fran Bow was the first game we planned on doing. It looked really different in the beginning though, and it has been through a lot of make-overs both art style and coding!

itchingcat_headFran Bow is a genuinely creepy game– I’ve played the demo and I still have chills. Were there any books or movie that influenced Fran Bow’s story development?

From the beginning it was a story Natalia wrote 11 years ago and it has evolved ever since up until today! Together we have been really free and tried to let out our inner children when we come up with the puzzles to be parts of the story. With the development of the game, we have realized that there are a few games and movies that contains similar elements but actually is our self trying to just remember things we have thought of when we were kids. Natalia ‘s personal experiences are also part of the story.

During gameplay, you choose between a meek response and more aggressive dialog. Will character interaction affect the story?

Not the story directly. It’s more of a way to get to know the different characters, to get help or to know more of a particular situation Fran is in. There will be more in the end, but we don’t want to spoil it too much!

Kill Monday’s blog for Fran Bow as announced “tons of puzzles” for the game. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard will they (the puzzles) be and what kind of puzzles can we expect?

We don’t want the player to lose the immersion and get stuck on some unnecessary puzzle just to raise up the difficulty, we want the story to flow forward in a good pace. Things will of course get more difficult and complex to solve the deeper you go in the story.

Fran is stated to have a mental disorder after discovering her murdered parents. Is this post traumatic stress disorder or will it develop into an even more unfortunate ailment?

She is suffering a post traumatic stress from that yes, but there is more to the madness that happens around her than just a normal mental disorder…

franbow_woods_theblackones-1The brutal murder of Fran’s parents, who emanate kindness and love at first seems random, but the effort taken in keeping Fran in a mental institution point  to  their demise possibly being planned. Will this open the door to revealing the background of Fran’s parents?

The death of her parents are not random at all, as is Fran being trapped in the mental institution. Everything has its terrible meaning and this is something Fran will uncover with her journey.

The story and thematic elements come together quite nicely. Do you think players will be shocked at the ending?

We don’t want to say too much about the ending, because that would shock people!

Fran Bow is on the  crowd funding site Indie Go Go with almost $4,000 pledged, a $20,000 goal with 41 days left. Tell us more about why readers should help fund Fran Bow and what some of the rewards are that you have for potential pledgers!

We are dreamers making an awesome game, that will make you feel things. Not only terror, but friendship, it will make you laugh  and feel sad. It will make you see or remember a bit of yourself when being a kid with a huge fantasy. We need help to get Indiegogo funded, yes… but that is a choice people have to make for their own.Most of our rewards are hand made, like the Mr. Midnight cloth doll and the Fran Bow figurine. We are going to make a documentary about the development behind Fran Bow to the day of release. Natalia offers also private lessons about character design, animation and storytelling.

After Fran Bow has been funded and created, do you have an idea on what Kill Monday’s next goal is?

We have many stories and experiences to make, we will see what our next grand project will be!

Written by: Makeda "Grim" De'Jene

Lover of all cheese and red velvet cakes. Writer, dancer, horrible singer, comic book hoarder and huge SNES fan. Probably the only person on the planet that doesn't think the Dreamcast was all that great.

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