“The game is not horror because of her mental state. It’s about the horror you can find in everything around you,” says Fran Bow dev

Joe Donnelly August 14, 2013 - 1:37 pm

Fran Bow is a horror point and click adventure which sees protagonist Fran sent to a mental institution. BeefJack caught up with developer Killmonday who discussed the game’s touching source of inspiration, and how the game doesn’t trivialise mental illness.


Fran Bow is a hauntingly beautiful upcoming horror point and click adventure by Swedish developers Killmonday – comprised of Natalia Figueroa and Isak Martinsson. Donning some Frank Miller’s Sin City style cutscenes, and a sort of Tim Burton in-game facade, Fran Bow looks to be a refreshing and interesting take on a traditional genre.

Losing her parents in shocking circumstances early on, Fran Bow flees home, collapses in the woods, and wakes up in a mental institution.

“Fran Bow was born from a story Natalia started writing about 11 years ago, it contains parts of her most tormented years of her childhood and teenage,” says Martinsson. “[Natalia] started to draw since she was very young and with the years developed a kind of own style.

“The art style is chosen because it’s the nearest to her and also because the story needed in a way something dark but at the same time childish.”

After awakening in the Oswald asylum, Fran Bow plans an escape. She eventually comes across medication which, once consumed, temporarily reveals a disturbing other world. Here, Fran is able to gain information and items key to her escape in the real world.

It’s an interesting game mechanic, perhaps similar to the world switching found in classics such as Soul Reaver, Silent Hill or even more contemporary indies such as Guacamelee. But is this instance one which trivialises mental health, or mental conditions?

“The game is not horror because of her mental state,” explains Martinsson. “The game itself travels a lot from the inside of her to the ordinary outside world. It’s about the horror you can find in everything around you. Like people, actions, thoughts… We have become so insensitive because of all the violence we are exposed to everyday that we forget the real pain and the real horror that everyday brings us.

“Fran Bow touches a mental disorder that is really painful to a terrible act like the murder of her parents and other things that are not explained in the game just yet because it’s just the beginning.”

Fran Bow has raised just under $16’000 of its $20’000 Indiegogo goal with 17 days left on the clock.

Interested? Head over to help out.

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