UnEpic Fran Study Case on Games From Spain.

He goes by Unepic Fran, but rest assured that name has nothing to do with his popularity among players or industry peers. Because Francisco Téllez is, from long ago, one of the most beloved programmers in our country. It’s no wonder considering his long history and adventurous spirit, and the unique personality of his games — all of them, full of subversive humor and countless cultural references that’d make any millennial cry with laughter. There is no doubt that his creations will become cult classics to be studied by the new generations of game developers.

Ironically, Fran dreamed of going into healthcare when he was studying Computer Engineering. Programming at universities was much more rigid than it’s today and left no room for fun experimentation. He couldn’t even imagine such a creative career path even after he spent part of his childhood making games for MSX. Still, he ended up getting closer to his childhood dream step by step.

Francisco Téllez de Meneses, also known as Unepic Fran.

His first job in the industry came with Ubisoft Barcelona. He spent 5 years at the French studio as Lead Programmer developing Pro Rally 2002 and Monster 4×4: Masters of Metal, two racing games for PS2 and Gamecube. Those projects were far from Francisco’s line of interest, but they gave him a strong background in 3D development and many creative tools to use in future projects.

It was after such an enriching experience that he decided to leave. But his attempts to develop mobile games to download via SMS and browser games fell on deaf ears, because no one wanted to acquire them for their platform. Adding to that list of disappointments, he and his partner, founders of Kailab Estudio, had to start from scratch creating erotic games for third parties. And even after that, they were not spared from doing some big projects that never came to fruition.

From this arduous journey, Fran gained many lessons and extensive knowledge on different areas of video game development. So in a last attempt, he returned to creating his own games while Kailab faced its last projects. The 2D platformer Unepic (2011) was developed in his spare time and its demo, which was released before the company closed forever, was an unexpected success.

UnEpic tells the story of Daniel, an average nerd that suddenly finds himself teleported to a castle in the middle of a tabletop RPG session. In the original version of UnEpic, this character was just a typical fantasy hero in a story too similar to Zelda. This tough feedback he received from his wife and some friends helped him think of a new concept and give rise to the fun game we know today.

In this new version, Téllez counted on a team of experts in game design, music, dubbing… And so he finally applied to the Steam Greenlight program. As Steam was very strict when it came to publishing games, UnEpic was one of the first video games to join Valve’s platform. Thus, the game was able to appear in the Featured section and achieved wide recognition, as well as an interesting amount of initial sales.

For the first time in years, Téllez could feel proud and happy for the games he created. But it wasn’t the last one! In 2016, he released Ghost 1.0, a cyberpunk metroidvania game where players have to steal industrial secrets from corporations. A prequel called Mini-Ghost would arrive the year after.

A boss fight in Ghost 1.0, a game by Unepic Fran.

In 2021, the company UnEpic Games was born. It brought, along with the publisher Versus Evil (Lil’ Guardsman, Pillars of Eternity), the most important game for Téllez until present day — UnMetal, a 2D stealth action-adventure specially crafted for Metal Gear fans

In this parody game, players step into the shoes of a spy who has been held in a secret military base. Apparently, agent Jesse Fox was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and now he must use all the tools at his disposal to get out of there alive. Its PC version achieved Very Positive reviews on Steam and an international score of 82 on Metacritic.

One thing few people know is that Jesse Fox has an interesting origin story linked to a project code-named Afraid Project. It was a game in which progress made by the players would have an impact on the real world. For each successful operation performed by Jesse, there would be a donation to an NGO. It had a Kickstarter campaign in 2018, which got stuck at 21% of the funding goal, and you can still visit its Steam page. Perhaps, there’s a chance for it to see the light of day.

As for the future of UnEpic Games, their next bet on the metroidvania genre is set to come out LATER TODAY. With a beautiful pixel-art anime style, Pampas & Selene: The Maze of Demons follows the descendants of Afrodita as they explore a dangerous castle taken by the mysterious Dark Priest. It was originally developed for MSX2.

We can’t wait to read the first-look reviews and all your comments around this new adventure!

Activity funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport.

ministerio de cultura gobierno de españa

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