The first time I ever heard of Franz Kafka was in English class, when my teacher looked up from the short story I had spent the previous lesson writing to exclaim, “Oh! This is quite Kafkaesque.” I only remember this so well because she then said that I had the best imagination in the class. What she really meant, of course, was that I was a bit weirder than everyone else, and I’m just fine with that.
However, the pieces of fiction I ended up writing during my school years are nowhere near as bizarre, nightmarish and illogical as the work of the man himself, Franz Kafka. So, you can imagine a game based on Kafka’s work to be quite…well, interesting. And that seems to be the case if you take a look at Denis Galanin’s The Franz Kafka Videogame. If you didn’t know, Denis won lots of awards for his previous adventure game, Hamlet, so this follow-up from him has some pressure riding upon it. Luckily, it’s already looking pretty spiffing.
Denis got in touch to inform us that The Franz Kafka Videogame has a plot based on select Kafka works, as you might expect, including “The Castle,” “The Metamorphosis,” “Amerika” and some others. You follow a guy called K., who for a long time is unemployed, but the game’s events start to get going when he suddenly gets an offer of employment out of the blue which he cannot refuse, given the current state of matters.
As with most new jobs, this drastically changes K.’s life, and he is apparently forced to go on a voyage beyond his homeland, which is something he’s never done before. Much to his surprise, outside of his small town, K. finds a completely bizarre world. As we know, what K. is actually witnessing is the weaving of the strangest events from various Kafka novels, the poor guy, so it’s going to make absolutely no sense at all.
“Together with the hero, you will experience an atmosphere of absurdity, surrealism and total uncertainty.”
As you can see in the game’s trailer, The Franz Kafka Videogame takes place during the turn of the 20th century mostly, which is when Kafka was writing, so that makes sense. There appears to be scenes taking place during World War I with a large tentacle monster present, bug detectives dining at posh restaurants serving origami puzzles to solve and an absurd puzzle in which K. has been shrunk down along with his dog and tries to make his way across a board game.
I’m sure you’ll agree the artwork really suits the slightly bizarre tone of the game, and it looks like it won’t lend itself to pixel hunting puzzles, as with far too many adventure games, focusing instead on more traditional and obvious puzzles for players to solve. Looking good overall, then. The Franz Kafka Videogame is coming to Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android in 2014.