‘Franz’ is a Strange Mashup of Texting-Based Adventure and “Angry Tamagotchi” from the Makers of ‘Pathologic’ and ‘Knock-Knock’

That is quite a headline, but, Franz is the kind of gaming experience that can’t be easily summarized. It’s an ambitious and unique new project from developer Ice-Pick Lodge, who made their name with the open-world horror FPS Pathologic and have also dabbled in mobile with their truly weird survival horror title Knock-Knock Game, which we reviewed back in 2014. Ice-Pick has grown to become a fan-favorite developer due to their somewhat twisted and unconventional take on developing and storytelling, and “twisted and unconventional" are two extremely apt descriptors for their upcoming title Franz.

What even is Franz? I guess if you had to summarize, Ice-Pick describes it as “a hybrid between an SMS novel and an angry version of tamagotchi" but it also seems like the type of thing that doesn’t really have anything else before it to compare to. You can watch a very cryptic teaser trailer just below followed by a fascinating behind-the-scenes video where the game’s art director Oleg Pashchenko discusses how he and the team worked through what something like Franz should actually look like.

There is MUCH more to dissect about the concept of Franz and what the gameplay is actually like, but rather than just regurgitate all of this info I’d urge you to go read Ice-Pick’s blog post about Franz to try and better wrap your head around what this experience is all about and what it’s trying to accomplish. Like I said, there’s not much out there to compare it to, as far as I can tell, and that’s what has me so interested in checking it out. One of the core concepts behind Franz is that actual human beings are infinitely complex, and it’s not always so easy clicking with another human’s personality.

That is the case with Franz too, who is being designed as a fully realized virtual character with her own personality and quirks, and it goes without saying that you won’t always get along with this strange person who is living in your phone. That said, Franz wants to be loved, just as much as you may (or may not) want to show her love, but being able to trust each other and share that type of relationship isn’t as straightforward as something like your average virtual pet. I’m so excited by everything about Franz and so eager to check it out, and while no release date has been set just yet we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

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