Monument Valley II introduces us to Ro, another faceless, flute-playing character with no backstory to speak of, except that of her motherhood. Her child, both faceless and nameless, accompanies Ro on her adventures.
To say any more would spoil the experience of discovery for which Monument Valley is so renowned. Suffice to say the mother/child relationship evolves with the gameplay as the levels go by. But even within the game, the relationship remains universal and ambiguous, something that Dan hopes allows players to engage deeply with the narrative.
There are three different kinds of Monument Valley player, according to Dan. One has, “a base level of caring, they love it because it’s an audiovisual toy.” The second is, “interested in the goal of this game; they understand that the character is a princess who has to put something back.” The third, “is the person who recognises the artwork on the architecture links back to the history of a whole civilisation. They care about that, they go onto the internet and hypothesise about what that might mean. The ambiguity of it all is something they revel in, and they tell other people what their own version of the story is.
“For a lot of people it’s the first time they’ve cared about the feeling of a story or the events of a game.”
“The child doesn’t have a name in the game. The child is neither male or female. The child can be anything you want. In Monument Valley, Ida was literally a blank canvas for you to project your own story onto. It’s the same with Monument Valley II.
“You recognise the two characters and internally you’ve made it a story about a mother and a child, but you project what you believe that relationship to be onto the game. What we really hope is that it helps you reflect on your relationships in your own life. That doesn’t have to be from a parent to a child; it could be with a friend, it could be with a mentor, it could be with anyone.”