Loveshack Entertainment's Adrian Moore reveals why upcoming iOS puzzler Framed is 'a wolf in sheep's clothing'

Frame of reference

Loveshack Entertainment's Adrian Moore reveals why upcoming iOS puzzler Framed is 'a wolf in sheep's clothing'
| Framed

I had my first play of Loveshack Entertainment's upcoming comic-rearranging puzzler Framed at this year's Eurogamer Expo.

I found a fun, challenging, and unique game with a lot of potential.

You manipulate comic panels into different orders to enable the protagonist of the story to sneak past policemen, dodge gunfire, and leap across rooftop gaps.

After my hands-on with the game, I got the chance to ask Adrian Moore, the designer and composer of the game, a few questions about how the studio came up with the ideas that make Framed so intriguing, and how much more work Loveshack Entertainment needs to do to get it finished.

Pocket Gamer: First up, could you tell me what players can expect from Framed?

Adrian Moore: Players can expect something brand new with Framed. It's an animated graphic novel in the form of a puzzle game. A narrative puzzle game.

All people have to do to play is grab the story panels with their finger and shuffle the order of them around on the page.

There are multiple solutions to many of the puzzles. But no matter what configuration they create on the page, we try to provide a really logical and entertaining outcome.

It's a hand-animated, fully musically scored, movie-length experience that is very easy to play but pretty hard to master.

The later puzzles will be extremely challenging, indeed. This is no throwaway game - it's a wolf in sheep's clothing, I guess.

Could you talk us through the genesis of the game?

One of the other founders of Loveshack Entertainment, Josh Boggs, had the idea. He has been concerned with storytelling for a while now, and has harboured ambitions to tell a story in a brand-new way.

Having studied the composition of comic books - specifically Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud - Josh got the idea that events, actions, or moments in a story could be re-ordered and the story would change.

He felt that context is everything, and that context is more interesting than the events themselves.

As Loveshack was being formed, we ran with Josh's idea and all of us are very happy we did. It's been very hard making it work - we literally design everything on little pieces of card first - but we feel it's working and people that play Framed tend to agree.

Many people smile broadly when they play it for the first time and wonder why the idea hasn't been realised before. I can tell anyone reading this - it's very hard to make this idea work.

Framed has a pretty unique style. What inspired you while you were making it?

It's inspired by the 1950s noir era, by Cowboy Bebop, by graphic novels in general, and by all kinds of other things.

The scrappy style of the male central character is inspired by Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart. Alfred Hitchcock has been an influence, as has the Sin City film.

Really, though, the style comes straight from Ollie Browne, the other Loveshack founder. It's his art creation, in conjunction with the animation of Stu Lloyd. While we all have an input into the game, Ollie has created a unique palette of colours, and a striking series of angles and shots.

We're happy with the style, and we hope people find it fresh - a novel (please excuse the pun) mix of the old and the new.

The App Store is pretty cramped at the moment. What are you doing to try to make sure Framed stands out?

We're entering indie game competitions, and we're attending the game conventions. We reach out to the press, and we're happy to showcase the game wherever possible. It's part of our strategy to build awareness about Framed, simply because it is to hard to get noticed out there.

We have a unique game with a unique style. It's easy to play and, we hope, a rather stylish and entertaining experience. So, we're hoping that when we release it, there will be a number of people already looking forward to it. We also hope that a heap of App Store customers will have their interest piqued by Framed's originality.

What have you got left to work on between now and Framed's release date?

We have, I would say, about 60 percent of the game yet to build. We have it planned out on paper. But as we come to build each scene and chapter, we have to get really focused on every detail: every camera angle; every nuance of every puzzle; every twist and turn.

It's somewhat akin to creating a graphic novel or a movie. As opposed to, say, a systems-heavy game that evolves more naturally.

We're really just focused on getting through the building process and finishing the remaining levels and concluding the story.

Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.