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Use your head in FranknJohn, a head-swinging randomly generated smash em'up - now with co-op! Soundtrack by FTL's Ben Prunty. Read more

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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on July 9, 2014.

Use your head in FranknJohn, a head-swinging randomly generated smash em'up - now with co-op! Soundtrack by FTL's Ben Prunty.

About this project

Patrick Klepek (Giantbomb) "FranknJohn turns your head into your weapon. I'm in."

Update #13: Co-op: Two Heads are Better than One! 

 Cr1tikal plays FranknJohn


 

                       

 

 

FranknJohn is all about dynamic, super-tight and fast-paced gameplay. You will swing and jab your head at fearsome enemies and powerful bosses throughout your adventure that will test your skills and resolve. 

 

Some key features in FranknJohn:  

  • Launch FranknJohn's chained head with full 360° control
  • Experiment with dozens of Skullcaps that alter gameplay in many different ways
  • Random generated, sprawling levels packed with items, collectables and secrets - no two playthroughs are the same! 
  • Swappable body parts allow you customize your stats to your own playstyle 
  • Local Co-op! Two heads are better than one
  • Original Soundtrack by Ben Prunty 
  • Battle through four uniquely themed worlds and piece together the dark history of its occupants 
  • Perma-death, challenging enemies and powerful bosses will keep you on your toes.

Our influences for the game include SNES classics Zombies Ate My Neighbours and Super Smash TV, to more recent games like Dark Souls and The Binding of Isaac. 

Skullcaps  

The bread-and-butter of the loot system. FranknJohn's head can be swapped out to dozens of different Skullcaps that can change your attacks and grant new abilities. Some are helpful, some are hindering and some are just plain weird! The possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

The Headotron is where skullcaps are exchanged - sitting in the Headotron will replace the top of FranknJohn's head with a randomly chosen skullcap. Some are rarer than others, can you find them all?

 

 

FranknJohn will ship with an unlockable playable character, MaryAnn, who has different in-game attributes to FranknJohn - offering a dose of replayability. We hope to add two more characters, that will further add to the different ways FranknJohn can be played! Each will have their own attributes and will move and play slightly differently to each other.

The Enemies

The denizens of the mansion are horrifying creations from the evil mind of Dr. Harmin. They are cobbled together from plant, animal and human parts to form the most unpleasant of sights. Learning their attack patterns and discovering their weaknesses are key to beating them.

 

 

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Updates 

Update #7 - Playing with Skullcaps

Update #6 - Let's talk about Skullcaps!

Update #5 - Why we are making FranknJohn (Video)  

Update #4: The Arena has opened!  

Update #3: Music Update with Ben Prunty  

Update #2: Kickstarter Arena Challenge  

Update #1: Day One Update - Wowzers!

Ben Prunty

FranknJohn Title Music

Sorry! We're having trouble displaying this audio file because Adobe Flash Player is disabled.

 The music of FranknJohn is being crafted by the wonderful Ben Prunty, deep in his audio lab of horrors. Ben captured our hearts and ears with his amazing work on FTL, Starcrawlers and Scale, amongst others. From the moment we started the collaboration it was clear that Ben understands what we are doing with FranknJohn. His freaky, frunky beats make the game pop and sizzle.

The Characters

The Mansion

The mansion is broken up into four distinctly themed levels or floors. Each floor is based on an emotion and has its own decor, enemies and traps. The Mansion is a treacherous place, filled with danger, mystery and chaos. Along your adventure, you will unlock the deep dark secrets that lurk in the mansion and gain insight into Dr. Harmin's lost mind. 

 

The Garden of Denial is a garden cemetery full of semi-sentient spiky plant life and the buried and discarded remnants of failed experiments, left to slowly rot away. The Furnace of Anger is a shiny clockwork and cog driven world of blistering lava and jabbering mechanical denizens that provide power to the mansion. The Cistern of Depression is a sprawl of ancient, frozen ruins where Dr Harmin stores the not-entirely-dead parts he uses in his research. Finally, the Ward of Isolation is a clean, sterile network of cold corridors and labs, where Dr. Harmin does his work, guarded by his latest creations. 

Each floor's monsters, decorations and props reflect the theme; spiky, clockwork-driven, sore-ridden monsters crazed with anger in the Furnace, bony, skeletal remnants pulsing with half rotted organs refusing to accept death in the Garden. The floors are connected by a small hub hidden in FranknJohn's grave. A place where he can catch his breath, hang out with friends and prepare himself for his next attempt at conquering the Mansion.

 

For £10/$16/€12*, you'll receive a Steam Key for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux), access to the Design Team section of our forum where you will be able to discuss and suggest ideas and improvements to the developers, a HD wallpaper pack, an in-game mention of your name and a download link to the special Kickstarter Challenge Arena that you'll be able to play right away! Attempt to survive the hordes of vicious creations and defeat the fearsome Banshee!

Limited run of 250 Precursor Test Tubes - get all the above for the low, low price of £8/$13/€10

Pledge £15/$25/€18*, and you'll digitally obtain the luscious tones of the soundtrack, created by the melodious Ben Prunty of FTL and Gravity Ghost fame, an exclusive in-game playable Kickstarter skullcap and all previous rewards.

For £30/$50/€37* you'll enter the realm of physical goodness, with a sticky sticker pack you can paste on surfaces, and a badge pack you can pin to other, clothier surfaces, PLUS a digital download of an artbook containing concept art, sketches, posters, and an inside look behind the design of FranknJohn. Oh, and all previous rewards.

 

Pledge £50/$83/€61* and the physicality increases, with a fashionable FranknJohn T-shirt (mens and womens sizes available) for the ultimate in casual gaming wear, a beautiful poster that you can hang on any surfaces not already covered with stickers and badges, AND all previous rewards.

For £100/$168/€123* , maximum physicality occurs - you'll receive a signed hardback copy of the artbook and a limited edition art print on archival quality paper signed on the back by the team, as well as all previous rewards.

 For £300/$500/€370* become a designer - you'll work with the team to create a unique, playable skullcap that FranknJohn can equip, with its own powers, look and animations, and all the yummy rewards in the Physical Final Form tier.

Up the ante to £400/$670/€490* take control of the opposition - work with the team to design and create a unique in-game enemy with its own behaviours and look, and all the yummy rewards in the Physical Final Form tier.

  For £500/$840/€610* shrink yourself into digital 1s and 0s - you'll work with the team to be modelled and animated into a random character encounter in the game with your own dialogue, and all the yummy rewards in the Physical Final Form tier.

Finally, at £1000/$1680/€1234* you become a mega-designer-supervillain. Work with the team to design your own playable secret floor with a unique thematic look and its own complement of enemies and traps! Want to give FranknJohn a break and let him romp through a golden field of wheat, or create a nightmarish dystopia of infinitely dangerous encounters, the choice is yours! Also, all the yummy rewards in the Physical Final Form tier. 

* Currency exchanges may fluctuate - we have tried our best to get a quote that is accurate to the current exchange rates.


 

We are a bunch of rag-tag Irish folk who have been working closely for almost 2 years now in a small office space in Dublin, Ireland. We gravitated towards each other out of the same burning desire for wanting to make games as a career and have experienced the many of the ups and downs of working independently.

This is our second game. Our first was a huge learning experience as it went on to release on Steam, iOS and Android. Collectively, we have huge experience through working on international AAA games, contracts with insane deadlines and popular mods. We can't wait to meet you all.

We would love for you to get involved! Working closely with our community is something we set out to do from the very start. We do weekly development streaming on our Twitch channel covering all aspects of development and keep will be keeping a devlog full of amazing information and pretty pictures. 

Our backer forum is another way to speak directly with the dev team and to help inform us on design decisions and content creation. We are genuinely interested in what you have to say and at the end of the day, we are making this game for you, so what better way to shape it?

Why are we Kickstarting FranknJohn?

Bringing FranknJohn to Kickstarter is a two-fold purpose. Firstly, for the amazing opportunity to build a community and connect with those of you who are interested in the game. We want to involve you in the development process and get your input throughout its creation to craft the best game we can!

Secondly, there is no avoiding it - making games cost money. We've been working on FranknJohn for a little over a year on little to no budget. We've had to work part-time jobs to keep things moving. With your help, we will be able to finally move onto the game full-time and bring it to Steam Early Access in a timely manner.

Risks and challenges

Making games is an extremely complex process. Even with full financial backing, shipping polished games on-time is a struggle for any games company. With FranknJohn, most the core systems are already in place. We've spent a huge amount of time honing and chiselling them. We are shifting to content creation now and plan to release it on Steam Early Access as soon as possible and when the time is right.

By bringing the game to Early Access, we are negating the risk of not fulfilling our goals with the game, as we won't be working in a bubble and only finding out 2 years from now whether we made the right decisions or not. It also means that we can (hopefully!) continue to work full-time on it.

Of course, Early Access brings it's own set of challenges. How much time do we spend considering feedback? How do we sift through pages of suggestions? We have been working hard on this in small doses and are super confident that we can manage it, even if there are a few kinks along the way. We will share our schedule with you very shortly; how often we will release updates, our plans for Development Streaming and how we plan to create a beautiful FranknJohn shaped ecosystem.

We have been really open with development so far and it feels really comfortable to us. We are far happier making games with the involvement from our community.

We are fully confident in our ability to execute this project. We are funnelling all of our experience into FranknJohn. Our talented team is passionate and committed and we are all very excited to be able to commit ourselves fully to completing FranknJohn alongside our community.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Find it here - http://www.bitsmithgames.com/backers-page/. Yes! We will be updating this build for at least the duration of the campaign. Not only is it a fun mode to play by itself, we use it as a small testing ground for new ideas.

    Last updated:
  • Once you pledge, sign up to http://forum.bitsmithgames.com/. Then send us a message, either through the thread on the forum or through Kickstarter with your forum username, and we will grant you access to the super secret hideout.

    Last updated:
  • Instead of the small play area like in the arena, a single level will be much more vast and sprawling, ripe for exploring and generated randomly every time you play. The arena is tuned for high difficulty, so expect enemies to be a little more spread out and the difficulty curve to be slightly more even.

    One thing is for sure though, the game will be tough. Like, really tough.

    Watch out for an update that delves deep into this topic.

    Last updated:
  • Glad you asked! You will be able to customize your character in a number of ways. Aside from Skullcaps, which modify gameplay in many different ways, you will be able to attach attribute modifying body parts, similar to armor pieces in more traditional RPGs.

    Body parts will alter your base stats such as attack range, damage, base health, speed etc to let you compliment your play style. If you choose to play as MaryAnn (or other playable characters, stretch goal pending!) your starting attributes will be different. You collect body parts like traditional loot - but if you die, don't worry, you get to keep them. We will cover this more in a future update.

    In terms of replayability - oh my gosh this is what the game is all about. We are PACKING FranknJohn with content. Skullcaps, Body Parts, Dr. Harmins Journal Pages, secret rooms, hidden narrative, multiple endings, unlockables, achievements, you name it. Part of the excitement of working on FranknJohn is the no-holds-barred approach to content creation.
    Also, something we are experimenting with, is adding new content into the random generation pool as you play more.

    Last updated:
  • You betcha. We won't reveal anything just yet, but keep your eyes peeled for an update on this very subject.

    Last updated:
  • Hop on over to our forums here - http://forum.bitsmithgames.com/ and sign up! If you back the project, you will get access to the backer forum, where you can dig into the design of FranknJohn and communicate directly with the development team and other backers.

    Last updated:
  • No! Of course not. We acknowledge that Early Access is not for everyone.

    You can simply wait until we release the finished version and enjoy it in all it's secretive glory.

    Early Access is a way for us to engage with our players on an intimate level. Those who want to get involved with development will be integral to helping us create the best possible experience.

    We have a fair idea of the launch date for the final version of FranknJohn and we will share that as soon as we are confident in it.

    Last updated:
  • While Amazon and PayPal payments are accepted for US Kickstarter projects, payments to UK projects are done directly through the site instead. It's a simple, straightforward process.

    Checkout this relevant article:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-in-the-uk-0

    Last updated:
  • Initially PC, Mac & Linux through Steam, Humble and other distribution sites. We would love to bring it to consoles too; more on this later.

    Last updated:
  • We would LOVE to! We want the game to reach as many people as possible so this is definitely on our radar.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  1. All gone!

    Pledge £8 or more
    About $13 USD

    250 backers All gone!

    $13, €10 - Precursor Test Tube

    1x Steam Key for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Design Team Forum Access* + Challenge Arena Download* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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    Pledge £10 or more
    About $17 USD

    49 backers

    $16, €12 - Test Tube

    1x Steam Key for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more
    About $25 USD

    108 backers

    $25, €18 - Musical Centrifuge

    Digital Deluxe: Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap

    1x Steam Key for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more
    About $50 USD

    43 backers

    $50, €37. Physical Reaction

    Sticker Pack + Badge Pack + Digital Artbook

    1x Steam Key for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Instant Challenge Arena Download* Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more
    About $84 USD

    48 backers

    $83, €61. Physical Enzyme Chain

    Swag Bag: Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more
    About $167 USD

    12 backers

    $168, €123. Physical Final Form

    Swag Bag Deluxe: Limited Edition Hardback Artbook + Limited Edition Art Print

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook) + Swag Bag (Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £300 or more
    About $502 USD

    5 backers Limited (20 left of 25)

    $500, €370. Skullcap Mutation

    Design a Skullcap!

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook) + Swag Bag (Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack) + Swag Bag Deluxe (Limited Edition Hardback Artbook + Limited Edition Art Print)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £400 or more
    About $670 USD

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    $670, €490. Creation Mutation

    Design an Enemy!

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook) + Swag Bag (Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack + Swag Bag Deluxe (Hardback Artbook + Limited Edition Art Print)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more
    About $837 USD

    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    $840, €610 Self Experimentation

    Get in the Game! We will make you an NPC that will randomly appear in the game.

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook) + Swag Bag (Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack + Swag Bag Deluxe (Hardback Artbook + Limited Edition Art Print)

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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    Pledge £1,000 or more
    About $1,675 USD

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    $1680, €1234 Mad Scientist

    Create a Secret Level! Work with the design team to create your very own secret level that will get added to the pool of random goodness

    2x Steam Keys for FranknJohn with early access (PC / Mac / Linux) + Challenge Arena Download* + Design Team Forum Access* + FranknJohn HD Wallpapers + special mention of your name in the game + Digital Deluxe (Digital Soundtrack by Ben Prunty + Exclusive Kickstarter Skullcap + Digital Artbook) + Swag Bag (Limited Edition FranknJohn T-Shirt + Poster + Sticker Pack + Badge Pack + Swag Bag Deluxe (Hardback Artbook + Limited Edition Art Print) + Design a Skullcap!

    *Allow up to 12 hrs for processing

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000
    About $8,373 USD

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    The Saviour

    All expenses trip to Dublin for up to 1 week, mentored 1-on-1 by the team for 5 days, you will create and release your very own game. Full blown tour of Dublin, VIP status at the FNJ Launch Party, Executive Producer credit on the final game, a special FNJ goodie bag and a big fat hug from each team member + all previous rewards!

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Funding period

- (36 days)