Florence is the newest game in publisher Annapurna Interactive’s lineup. It’s the debut title from Australia-based indie studio Mountains, and it will explore the roller-coaster moments of first love. It will launch sometime in 2018 for iOS.
Annapurna, which has published other narrative-driven games such as What Remains of Edith Finch, hasn’t revealed too many details about the story or gameplay. What we know so far is that it’s about Florence Yeoh, a 25-year-old who’s looking to break the routine of her daily life. She meets Krish, a cellist, and the two begin to develop a relationship.
“Stories about relationships are all around us!” said Ken Wong, Mountains’ creative director, in an email to GamesBeat. “I’ve drawn from my own stories and those of my friends and family. Films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and 500 Days of Summer inspired us to examine how we experience love through a lens of sensation and memory and explore both the painful and joyful moments.”
Wong was previously the lead designer on Ustwo Games’ hit mobile puzzler Monument Valley. He says that he took some learnings from that project and that they designed Florence from the ground up with mobile interactions in mind.
“Like Monument Valley, the process began with the platform itself — what’s an interesting experience we can create for mobile devices?” said Wong. “I love exploring what we can do with touch screens, and the intimate nature of our personal devices. I also love making games that have the potential of reaching so many people.”
The goal with Florence, he says, is to capture an “emotion or sensation.” Inspired by “slice-of-life” graphic novels that explore everyday rituals and encounters, the game will present situations that are meant to represent what’s happening in Florence and Krish’s relationship. As an example, Wong points to one chapter in the game, which is about conversations on a first date. Another is about the logistics of moving in together. Depending on the chapter’s subject, Mountains uses different interactions and mechanics.
Wong says that love isn’t often explored in commercial games often because they have to focus on making a profit. However, he thinks that this won’t always be the case.
“On the other hand, romance, dating, and sex have been explored by small, independent developers for a long time. They just have limited marketing budgets or get sidelined by the mainstream press,” said Wong. “I think this is changing, though, as games become slowly more welcoming of audiences and developers with different tastes and aspirations.”