The Beauty Behind Florence

The Beauty Behind Florence

Florence, from the same lead designer behind Monument Valley, is an adorable game about two people falling in love. It launched earlier this year, and the studio has gone on to reveal some of the inspirations – and stunning art – behind the game.

Firstly, if you don’t want spoilers: look away. Florence is on Google Play for $3.99 and iOS for $2.99. Mechanically, it’s a storybook that uses a series of mini-games to describe the relationship between Florence Yeoh and an Indian cello player called Krish.

In an interview with Milanote, Aussie designer Ken Wong outlines how the mini-games in each of Florence‘s 20 chapters were designed to work as metaphors. The works of Jenny Jiao Hsia were a huge inspiration; one of her games, Morning Makeup Madness, is a rapidfire game about doing your morning makeup within ten seconds. “You just end up with a mess. You can see the inspiration for brushing teeth,” Wong said.

To help illustrate it all, Annapurna Interactive provided a series of storyboards and sketches showing various scenes and characters as they went through development.

Image: Milanote / Florence / Annapurna Interactive

Another early chapter focuses on an argument, with the player effectively having to put together puzzle pieces to complete the sequence. “Originally the idea was that we’d represent an argument with a single puzzle that would start with one of the characters being visible, and you had to rearrange the pieces until the other character was visible,” Wong said.

Image: Milanote / Florence / Annapurna Interactive

He added that all of the game’s art was done in sketches, which were later scanned and modified in Photoshop. “I didn’t want Florence to look like a game. I wanted it to stand out on the App Store as something different and fresh,” the designer explained.

Image: Milanote / Florence / Annapurna Interactive

God, I’d love to draw a ScribbleTaku with a fraction of the precision in that.

A full storyboard of the game was kept on the studio’s wall, with sketches of chapters being moved and removed as development progressed. The main character went through plenty of redesigns as well: initially she had glasses, but the positioning of her eyes created an effect where glasses made it appeared that Florence was looking in different directions.

To view that, as well as more background art and insights into how Florence came together, head to Milanote’s feature.


  • I bought Florence but haven’t played it yet. I was going to play with my partner. For what it’s worth, the article preview revealed more about the narrative than I wanted it to

  • I’m a massive Pinny Arcade fan, and they had a pin available for the game so I went to get it while at PAX Aus. It required to play the game. And I really loved it. I hope I gave them some valuable feedback, but I found myself returning a few times to play the game and not bother with the pin just so I could see it again. It’s definitely worth getting, I loved how the conversations were little puzzles.

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