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Frank and Drake

Allt om den vackert rotoskopierade Frank and Drake med sin kreativa chef

Iñaki Díaz är kreativ chef på Appnormals Team och vi fick chansen att träffa honom i den här intervjun som en del av Gamelab i Barcelona vid Pier 01 för att lära oss allt om detta nya, fräscha, tvåsidiga grafiska äventyrsspel som släpps just idag.

Audio transcriptions

"We are at the Pier 1 in Barcelona, and it turns out this is the Indie Space, this time around for Gamelab 2023 Indie Showcase, and we're taking a look at the most interesting Indie Games being showcased here, and one of them is Frank and Drake, which is sort of a reference to Frankenstein and Dracula."

"Just a little bit of inspiration, it's not just that you're retelling their story.
But it turns out to be a very interesting narrative-driven game with puzzles, and sort of two worlds, right? So what can you tell us about it, Iñaki?
Yeah, so you explained it perfectly. It's a dual narrative, so basically Frank's character is inspired or has traits from the monster of Frankenstein, but has a degrading nature and a limited amount of stamina, so he only operates during the day, and on the other side we have Drake, which is half vampire, half human, it's a vampire, and he only operates at night because he's allergic to sunlight."

"So the dynamic is that they will be new flatmates, there's some sort of figure that puts them together, but they won't meet each other physically ever, so they need to develop this bond and this relationship via sticky notes and via other documents that they left to each other."

"So that's the intriguing part, that they will have separate quests, and they will be able to collaborate a bit more or a bit less, depending on how you choose them to play and to relate to each other.
I think I've met many Frank and Drakes in my life."

"What strikes me as really beautiful is the art and the sort of work that you guys have done with rotoscopy, and how you guys have filmed the game to be then implemented as 2D graphics. So what can you tell us about that work?
Well, it's a lot of work, first of all, and foremost."

"It's over 8,000 frames.
That gives the game a unique aspect, and we made that decision because at the end of the day, these are extraordinary characters trying to blend into a very mundane and ordinary world."

"So that premise was interesting in terms of the visuals.
And, I mean, rotoscoping is hard, it's just hard work.
It's very cinematic, but maybe you need to draw maybe 300 or 400 frames one by one over footage, just for one single instance."

"That happens only in that specific branch, in that specific location, in that specific moment, no?
So not a lot of reusable animations, but that gives the game this cinematic aspect that we wanted to portray with the whole narrative."

"What makes you make that decision of going that way?
I mean, it's a little bit crazy. It's going to be hard work, it's going to take a lot of time.
And, of course, you want this unique art to work with your narrative and with your game, but what was the reasoning behind, you know, going for that sort of approach?
Well, in hindsight, maybe not a lot of thinking, because production-wise, it's not the best decision ever."

"But, yeah, true. I mean, I did have some experience in the past when I was studying design and art, and I did some experiments with rotoscope.
I like the, we are very fond of the Richard Linklater work, or more recently, Loving Vincent, or Undone."

"So these shows kind of put the seed in our minds just to, oh, this is really cool.
And then it was also a matter of our reality as a studio.
We didn't have 3D animators."

"We didn't have very experienced 3D animators, but we did have artists with a great eye, great aesthetic.
So it was kind of a, let's try it.
What if I record myself and you draw over my footage?
How would it look?
And it turned out, it wasn't expected, to be honest, but it turned out like the best decision that we could make at the moment."

"And from there, it was all just a natural choice for us.
Okay. Tell us a little bit more about the gameplay aspect of it, the mechanics, and how you sort of progressed through the game.
So what we have here is not just a conversational adventure."

"It's not just dialogue-based.
So you also have your puzzles.
How do you make your way through the levels or chapters or whatever?
So one of the things that it takes from the classics, from the books, is these books have an epistolary nature."

"They are written documents that hold the narrative.
So we do kind of the same.
Every choice that you make is choice-based over written text.
It can be a sticky note."

"It can be your own diary, your own journal.
But there's no direct dialogue between characters.
Everything is through written text.
It's written documents and notes."

"So that was kind of a rule that we established to be consistent with these classics and with the nature of the title.
And then we have also some more animated sequences where you complete the whole animation."

"And then we have as well the minigames that eventually they also generate a couple of choices.
And one important aspect is the metrics between the characters.
We have this bond relationship, which is very important."

"The closer they are, the new options that will be open to you.
And on the other side, you can hold the quest more separately, more individually.
So we have at the end of the day six different endings."

"But really, it's a game that promotes replayability a lot.
It's quite deep, and when you make another decision, you have different locations, you have different minigames, and it's a whole different experience."

"And what we're trying to do is explain the same story from another angle.
So if you replay the game and make different choices, you have other parts of the puzzle, other backstories maybe, other characters, because the community aspect is very important."

"We have two protagonists and we have a whole community around them that they don't appear sometimes, but they are very important for their own quest and to unfold the mystery a little bit."

"And how many of those endings do they actually encounter and touch?
In a few.
Not in all of them, but there's a couple where they...
It's possible."

"What's the status of the project and when can we expect it to release and on which platforms?
The project is done.
It's launching next month, the 20th of July."

"It's launching in Steam, Switch.
So this month?
This month, sorry.
It's live.
It's on Steam and Switch, PlayStation and also Xbox."

"So all platforms.
And also there's a physical edition scheduled a few months later.
So yeah, pretty much everywhere.
Who's publishing?
Is it auto-published by you or who's publishing both digitally and physically?
The digital version is published by Chorus Worldwide and the physical one is published by Funstock."

"Sounds fantastic.
Looking forward to learning more about Frank and Drake.
I don't know if I'm more of a Frank or...
How are you?
Are you more of a Frank or of a Drake?
I think I like Drake more because he's more ironic and the voice that he has is more interesting, I think."

"Looking forward to meeting both of them.
Thank you so much for your time."