How Indie Game Monument Valley Got on House of Cards Season 3

Producer Daniel Gray explains how the puzzle game ended up appearing on the popular Netflix original series.

No Caption Provided


If you're caught up on the Netflix original series House of Cards, you're likely aware that acclaimed indie game Monument Valley makes an appearance as one of the games Frank Underwood adores. As we've learned from previous seasons, Underwood--now the United States President--is a big fan of video games, but how did this particular indie game wind up on the show?

Monument Valley executive producer Daniel Gray shared the story with GameSpot during an interview this week at the Game Developers Conference. Gray and his team didn't pitch the House of Cards team on bringing Monument Valley to the show; it was the other way around.

"It's great to be seen by a whole new audience, people who wouldn't even usually play games" -- Gray

"I would really love to say that we have the best marketing strategy in the world and that we planned everything," he said. "But the reality of it is that the writers reached out to us and they said, 'Guys, we really, really love your game and we've already had it in our minds that we want to write about it; do we have your permission to use it?'"

Gray said he didn't have to think twice about saying yes. He also reveals that as part of the deal, Gray and other employees at developer ustwo got to see the script ahead of time, which was a nice perk for fans of the series that they are.

"'Of course you have our permission to use it; that's a stupid question,'" he recalled saying to the House of Cards team when asked about the idea of featuring Monument Valley on the show. "So we spoke to them about it, and fortunately we got to see the script a little bit early and it's absolutely amazing. It's crazy. We watch the series. It's surreal."

The benefit of appearing on a popular show such as House of Cards is that Monument Valley is now reaching audiences that might not have otherwise heard about it, leading to further sales in the process.

"It's great to be seen by a whole new audience, people who wouldn't even usually play games," Gray said. "Maybe they only watch television shows on Netflix and it's opened them up to what mobile games can be. A whole new audience; it's amazing."

Another ustwo developer told GameSpot that part of the studio's mission is to reach people who have never played games before. Bringing Monument Valley to House of Cards is a step in that direction, the company said.

Monument Valley was a big winner at last night's Independent Games Festival, where it took home prizes for Innovation, Best Handheld Game, and Best Visual Art.

The third season of House of Cards series features even more video game references, including a plotline involving a game reviewer and an appearance by another indie title, The Stanley Parable.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 9 comments about this story