Updated: Mar 21
Interviewed by: Sihil
"ADULT GAMES ARE THE ULTIMATE ETHICAL PORNOGRAPHY, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T EXPLOIT WORDS AND PIXELS"
We had a chat with a dev whose insights into the game were both deep and hilarious. Ravager was inspired by Dragon Age: Origins. 4MW wanted to bring the depth of choice, characterization, and world-building of the game into the smutty arena.
The game, as he puts it, has had a lasting impact on him. When asked about why he chose a dragon as the MC of this game, his answer was, “ Dragons have been recurring antagonists in the tales we tell, for more than a thousand years. They are powerful and have their kind of beauty, but more than that I think they embody some of our desires - desires we do not condone, like avariciousness, sadism, and ambition. I think that makes them a rich subject for stories.” Moreover, he explained that the dragons, as antagonists are always more proactive than their heroic counterparts, which makes them a great MC in a choice-based narrative. There’s also the fact that dragons don’t have to navigate through the intricacies of small talk or conform to social conventions in general which leads them to be a great vehicle for power fantasies.
Early concept art of Ravager:
As a character-driven writer, he didn’t have much of a concrete outline in the very beginning, he created an interesting scenario with interesting characters from which everything developed organically. Detailing his process, he said, “I tend to develop a character's mindset and motivations first, and then see how they play out in the game world. I think I was particularly pleased with how we were able to showcase aspects of Heloïse that you couldn't glean from your first encounter with her - and I look forward to doing that with more of our cast.”
When asked who his favorite, in-game waifu is, his answer was very diplomatic “I love all my daughters equally. I adore them all in their own ways. I have to if I'm going to expect you to do so too.”
As the game edges to Act IV, there are many things to look forward to, “We're working on the action-packed climax to Act IV right now. After that, there's a whole extra Act to look forward to - a chance to take your spin on the Realm's throne, mold it to your liking, and get the 'ever after' that you want. And beyond that, there are more characters and factions that I want to introduce. People like Adeline's younger sister Celia, and the infamous centaur herd (which will be under new leadership, of course).”
Sneak peak of the future:
It’s impressive how this game manages to have a clear tone despite having so many writers. With a background in project management, it makes sense that 4MW manages to have a consistent authorial voice despite arguably having too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. He also attributes the game’s success to the great developers and proofreaders that work with him.
The game has multiple interesting, occasionally weird kinks incorporated into its plot. “ If it fits well and it's written well, I'm all for including more fetishes”4MW explains, “- adult games are the ultimate ethical pornography because you can't exploit words or pixels. Having them all 'togglable' in the game's settings means that I don't have to worry about squicking anyone out.”
Voice acting and sound is one of the biggest features that set Ravager apart from its western peers and also a very important subject for 4MW. “it gives a depth of immersion and connection, above and beyond what images and text can do.” He plans to have the whole game fully voiced, and that's his next funding goal.
"IF YOU'RE GOING TO CODE ANYTHING IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SEXY AS HELL"
After talking about the game and its development process, the discussion went to 4MW. He’s from the UK and in his own words, is “young enough to try creating an adult game, though also old enough to know better.” When asked about other adult games he likes he mentioned: "The Imperial Gatekeeper is a masterclass on how to do one thing, but do it really well. Karryn's Prison is beautifully mechanically designed. Price For Freedom: Avarice is gorgeous and wonderfully written, just like the graphic novel it is based on. And I really like the corruption plotlines in The Headmaster"
He was inspired to create an adult game of his own after playing and supporting a few adult games. “It's my belief that if you think you can make something good, you should try doing so.” He was trying to get into coding and well, “if you're going to code anything it might as well be sexy as hell.” The game started and still is his passion project. It was intended to pervert, not subvert popular fantasy tropes. As a pervert myself, that’s a cause I can get behind.
When he has finished Ravager, it’ll be an emotional but proud moment for him. The way forward after Ravager is to create something set in space as he stated: "Don't forget your helmet, and remember to get permission to dock". As a big fan of Goblinboy’s Horizon DC21, I’m excited to see how that’d turn out!
First look at the new game:
The conversation was tons of fun and Ravager truly is a great game! If you want to support the dev, you can do so in the links here:
RAVAGER IS A PART OF 10 GAMES LIKE SUMMERTIME SAGA COLLECTION. CLICK HERE FOR OTHER GAMES IN THAT COLLECTION
Below is the full transcript of the interview for a more in-depth take:
Sihil: …..So, without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Sihil: Here's the first question: What games inspired you to create the Ravager? Doesn't matter if they're adult games or not
4MinuteWarning: I've played and enjoyed adult games for many years, and I think all of them have their influences. But I think it was actually Dragon Age: Origins that inspired me the most - the depth of choice, characterization, and worldbuilding in that game had a lasting effect on me, and I wanted to bring something like that into the smutty arena.
Spice: Dragon age origins is a great game yes. Its no wonder you used it as inspiration.
Sihil: I want to play that one!
4MinuteWarning: I strongly recommend it!
Spice: Is there something about dragons that makes you fond of them?
Sihil: Well, they are dragons
4MinuteWarning: Dragons have been recurring antagonists in the tales we tell, for more than a thousand years. They are powerful and have their own kind of beauty, but more than that I think they embody some of our desires - desires we do not condone, like avariciousness, sadism, and ambition. I think that makes them a rich subject for stories.
Sihil: I definitely agree, they're literal personifactions of many of the traits that are traditionally considered to be vices. You'd think they'd make a great antagonist. But in your game, the dragon is a protagonist, that's a very interesting choice that plays off only because of the writing and the general atmosphere that you managed to build. So here's my question, were you always planning to create a game as a dragon? How did the pre-planning phase of this game look like?
4MinuteWarning: In our traditions, an antagonist is the person who disrupts the balance; a protagonist is one who restores it. But the antagonist is the one who has the most agency - they can do anything, the protagonist can only react to them. So when I wanted to make a game that gave you as much agency as I could, a dragon player-character was a natural choice.
Sihil: Oh yeah, the batman-joker dynamics is a great example of your point.
4MinuteWarning: There wasn't an awful lot of pre-planning involved; once I had the world and central plotline in my head, I started writing. Much of the rest of the game has developed organically from there. There wasn't an awful lot of pre-planning involved; once I had the world and central plotline in my head, I started writing. Much of the rest of the game has developed organically from there.
Sihil: Without spoiling anything, I'm kind of surprised at how a few characters' relationship with the MC has developed. Who's the character that surprised you the most in how she/turned out from your outlining phase?
4MinuteWarning: I tend to develop a character's mindset and motivations first, and then see how they play out in the game world. I think I was particularly pleased with how we were able to showcase aspects of Heloïse that you couldn't glean from your first encounter with her - and I look forward to doing that with more of our cast.
Sihil So you're a character-focused writer? Speaking of the characters, who is your favorite waifu from Ravager?
4MinuteWarning: I think it's important - especially in a game where you have a large cast - to be mindful that everyone has unique roles and dynamics with the main character. But yes, I'd say I'm a character-focused writer by inclination. To answer your second question, I love all my daughters equally.
Sihil: Aw, I was hoping for an answer that piss off a few fans
4MinuteWarning: It's true! I adore them all in their own ways. I have to, if I'm going to expect you to do so too.
Spice: Do you think playing a dragon, gives you, the player more freedom or maybe the sense of it?
4MinuteWarning: I think it does. Dragons don't have to grind at day jobs or navigate the complexities of small talk. But also, being a dragon - a popular embodiment of vice - gives you a sort of permission to indulge those vices if you want to. And that's a different kind of freedom.
Sihil: What lies in the future for the game? How far into final product does you reckon you are?
4MinuteWarning: We're working on the action-packed climax to Act IV right now. After that, there's a whole extra Act to look forward to - a chance to take your spin on the Realm's throne, mold it to your liking, and get the 'ever after' that you want. And beyond that, there are more characters and factions that I want to introduce. People like Adeline's younger sister Celia, and the infamous centaur herd (which will be under new leadership, of course).
Sihil:I love the factions in your game, they remind me of the ones in Skyrim but actually well-written. That brings me to my next question. You have a large number of writers, is it hard to organize the work? Is it true that there can be "too many" writers to the point it's counter-productive?
4MinuteWarning: I look after two cats in real life, it's not a problem to herd a few more But seriously, I can see how too many cooks might be an issue - having a coherent vision and authorial voice is essential. We have a process of collaborative editing and review in place, which works wonders. Having a background in project management probably helps.
Sihil: That's a useful background to have. In the game we are able to turn on and off certain fetishes, are there any you wish to include more in the game, or perhaps any new fetishes that you always wanted to include but couldn't?
4MinuteWarning: If it fits well and it's written well, I'm all for including more fetishes - adult games are the ultimate ethical pornography, because you can't exploit words or pixels. Having them all 'togglable' in the game's settings means that I don't have to worry about squicking anyone out.
Sihil: That's an interesting take. Would you say there are no fetishes that can be considered unethical in adult games?
Spice: Yeah I also really like that : "tailor to the player approach" Don't see that in many games. Must be harder to implement though?
4MinuteWarning:@Spice It's a little tricky at times! More options means more writing and more complex code. But I have a great developer assisting me in putting it all together, and lots of playtesters to catch my mistakes.
4MinuteWarning: I think that thoughts and fantasies don't have moral character, but how we treat others does. Ravager has an exclusively adult cast, but beyond that I'll leave it to others to draw their own conclusions about ethics in games.
Sihil: Definitely beats shoving your morals on other people. Speaking of ethics, what's your stance on piracy in the adult games community in particular?
4MinuteWarning: I am able to create courtesy of the kindness of others, and I try to reciprocate that kindness. I don't think I have a broader stance than that; Patreon and SubscribeStar have given our little cottage industry a bit of a Renaissance, and I think we're still working out the best way to do things.
Sihil: Interesting. One of the most underrated aspects of adult VN's is sound design, I really love the voice acting of your game. It's so.... AAA. How important is voice acting to you in the creation of the game? Would you want more of that in the game? Hypothetically, who'd be your dream voice-casting for any one character in the game?
Spice: Oh let me add a subquestion. How hard is it to find voice talent for an adult game?
4MinuteWarning: Voice acting is really important to me! I think it gives a depth of immersion and connection, above and beyond what images and text can do. My ambition is to have the whole game fully voiced, and that's my next funding goal.
I'm really happy with all of our casting choices. It wasn't too difficult to recruit voice talent - no harder than it is to find artists, say.
Sihil: Valfyr's voice acting is my personal favorite. Great guy too. So, do you play Ravager often? Not to play-test but just to enjoy what you've created. With the RPG elements in the game, what kind of build does your dragon gravitate towards?
4MinuteWarning: It's a bit of a different experience, playing what you've created - but I do, I think it's important to enjoy your game as others do. I usually play somewhere in the middle: a little practical, a little capricious, a little righteous, as feels natural.
Sihil: So your choices depend more on the situation rather than going for a particular build, that's a good way to go. What's next for you as a dev after Ravager? Are there any sequels or spin-offs planned for the game?
Spice: yes you shared a teaser. What can you reveal about it if anything?
4MinuteWarning: This is the first adult game I've put together, but I've had an amazing time and I don't think it'll be the last. As long as the internet stays online, and we have the means to keep creating, we'll do so. We're currently doing some early prototyping for our next project. I can't say too much about it just yet, but I can tell you this: we're going to space.
Sihil: Well, good luck! Space is a surprisingly under-utilized setting in adult VN's
4MinuteWarning: Thank you! Don't forget your helmet, and remember to get permission to dock.
Sihil: There are so many adult VN's in making right now. Which game is currently your favorite? Completed or otherwise
4MinuteWarning: Oh, I have so many! The Imperial Gatekeeper is a masterclass on how to do one thing, but do it really well. Karryn's Prison is beautifully mechanically designed. Price For Freedom: Avarice is gorgeous and wonderfully written, just like the graphic novel it is based on. And I really like the corruption plotlines in The Headmaster.
Sihil: Oh yeah, I've come across Price of Freedom, a great game. Where are you from, and how old are you?
4MinuteWarning: I'm from the UK, which is why Ravager features such a lot of weird spellings and rich accents. I'm young enough to try creating an adult game, even though I'm also old enough to know better.
Spice: now that is good answer
Sihil: Lol. What led you onto the path of creating adult games?
4MinuteWarning: I've played them and loved them and supported them. Eventually, I thought I might be able to make a good one - and it's my belief that if you think you can make something good, you should try doing so.
Spice: this is interesting what drives somebody on the path of creating adult game. Do you think this is something you are really happy doing now. Do you see it as passion?
Sihil: Reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite characters: “Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.”
4MinuteWarning: A more mundane answer might be that I wanted to try coding, and if you're going to code anything it might as well be sexy as hell. Both answers are true.
Sihil: It's great to see how good this game is at subverting fantasy tropes. Do you read a lot of fantasy?
4MinuteWarning: @Spice Yes, absolutely. Ravager started out as a passion project, and it's still a passion project - just one that I have the means of working on full-time, now.
@sihil Less than many people would think! I don't try to subvert fantasy tropes, not in the same way that GRRM has done. I think it's better to take a trope and, rather than turn it backwards, bend it in a new direction - to pervert it, if you will.
Spice: Will it be hard to finish ravager? Like in terms hard to say goodbye to it once is finished
4MinuteWarning: I've wanted to write a really good ending (or, well, multiple endings) since I played Mass Effect 3 and threw my controller across the room. Once that's done, and we've added everything else the game wants, it'll be emotional - but I'll be proud.
Sihil: Anyway, think we've grilled you enough. Thank you so much for letting us interview you.
Spice: yeah. This was really amazing
4MinuteWarning: Ha! My pleasure, thank you both.
Spice: Will send you the copy before publishing
4MinuteWarning: That's great. I'll make sure everyone knows about it when it publishes! Good luck over at Spicy Gaming, I'll be following your work.
Spice: Make sure you remember us when you want to share anything about your projects! 4MinuteWarning: I will!
Spice: Thanks again. Have a good one. And talk to you soon!