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Apple Design Award winner Florence breaks new ground in mobile gaming

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Designer Ken Wong’s app Florence isn’t precisely a sport. Or a comic book. It’s just a little little bit of each — a brand new expertise in storytelling utilizing a cellular system.

The app — or sport, if you happen to choose — comes from the thoughts of Ken Wong, greatest identified earlier than Florence’s launch as Monument Valley’s designer — one other app which broke new floor in cellular gaming by making a visually beautiful world that ended up profitable the title of Apple’s Game of the Yr in 2014, as properly an Apple Design Award.

Now Wong has received for his work once more on his first enterprise post-Monument Valley with an Apple Design Award for Florence.

We sat down with the designer on the sidelines of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Convention in San Jose this week to speak about how Florence got here to be, and what Wong has deliberate subsequent.

Wong had left ustwo Games (Monument Valley’s writer) earlier than its sequel, Monument Valley II, as a result of he needed to attempt one thing new.

“I form of stated what I needed to. The perfect factor for Monument Valley can be to produce other folks take over and expression their imaginative and prescient for it,” he says.

Wong moved again to his residence nation, Australia, from London, to Melbourne, the place there’s a thriving indie gaming scene, to launch his new firm Mountains.

The group at Mountains is small — only a programmer, producer and artist along with Wong.

The corporate partnered with Annapurna, a movie studio behind hits like “Her” and “Zero Darkish Thirty,” that now runs its own games division. The studio backed Mountains on the Florence undertaking, but additionally gave the group recommendation and enter alongside the way in which.

As a part of this association, Annapurna shares in Florence’s income. (Florence sells for $2.99.)

Not like conventional video games, you don’t play the “sport” Florence with a purpose of getting a excessive rating or reaching targets of some type.

As an alternative, you tap your way through the interactive story the place a younger lady, Florence, meets somebody, falls in love and has a relationship. You reside by means of it along with her, coping with every little thing from parental stress over her single standing, to then first dates and shifting in collectively.

Music is a key a part of the expertise, and helps the sport invoke an emotional response.

When the connection ends, you’ve been invested on this story and characters, and possibly will really feel unhappy.

That’s the purpose, says Wong.

“Lots of people consider video games as issues you possibly can win — issues that contain luck or ability. However…in video video games — or, largely, the digital interactive house — there’s a lot that you are able to do,” he says.

“It looks as if we’re surrounded by tales of affection and romance and relationships…but it surely felt like that was a blind spot for cellular video games. We needed to faucet into that and see how far we may take a romance sport on cellular,” Wong explains.

Wong says he was impressed by tales from buddies, in addition to his personal private expertise, when constructing Florence, in addition to motion pictures about relationships like “Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts,” and “500 Days of Summer time.”

Like these, Florence can be a portrait of a relationship that’s each mild and darkish, each joyful and painful.

“It’s my job to offer stimulating materials. I simply need to transfer folks. And I feel shifting folks in itself is usually a purpose. What they take out of it’s actually as much as the person,” he says.

Now that Florence is on the market, on each iOS and Android, Wong says he hopes it’s going to encourage different builders to take what the group launched when it comes to the app’s interface design, and use that to inform their very own tales.

As for Mountains, nonetheless, the group is now contemplating what tales they need to inform subsequent. They’re not asserting the small print of these discussions, however they’ve some concepts round telling different varieties of tales that aren’t represented right now by means of cellular gaming.

We would not see these come to life for a while — it took Florence 15 months to go from concept to launch, and the following title will seemingly take simply as lengthy.

However Wong is aware of what sort of tales they in all probability received’t do, he says.

“There are such a lot of different studios on the market exploring your conventional energy fantasies, like fight and combating and such,” he says.

“I feel the place we will actually contribute is telling tales which can be much less explored — human experiences that should do with household or identification. I feel that’s who we’re.”


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