Meet the Project: Venus Rising Interview
Today we spoked with Alex Allen of Foxy Soft to learn more about her game project, Venus Rising, a massive multiplyer online role play game (or MMORPG… think World of Warcraft). This is not your run of the mill MMORPG. This is an RPG game that not only features mythical beasts and battles, but healthy amounts of sex. Something that caught us off guard is we assumed that Alex was a man, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn that we were wrong.
How would you describe your project in 2 sentences?
Venus Rising is an online role playing game that combines popular mainstream game play with adult themes and content. We are filling the gap between the gaming and adult industries.
How did you come up with the idea for Venus Rising?
I play a lot of massively multiplayer online role playing games. Most of them set in a fantasy world like Guild Wars and World of Warcraft. I, like most other MMO players, enjoy the depth of story, the combat action, and the character development through quests. But the biggest draw to such games is the community. Players form circles of friends and personal relationships with each other. A lot of these relationships and interactions are sexual, flirty, or romantic in nature. But being in a game that censors certain words and does not provide outlets for such things, it all has to be done on the down low. There are code words and emotes that represent what they really want to say and do in game. I thought, ‘why not have an adult only game where they can actually express themselves freely and provide game mechanics to represent their romantic gestures. Surely there are games like that right?’ So the search for adult games began. I found many sex games and I’m sure you all know a few of them. But those games focused solely on sex. It seemed like they forgot to develop the GAME part. So if you were not getting laid in the game then there wasn’t anything else to do. Nothing that was as fun as slaying dragons and following a quest arc anyway. I found, when it comes to gaming like an adult, if you didn’t want to be steeped in pure porn, you were kind of stuck at the kiddie table. There doesn’t seem to be anything in between. Not being able to find what I was looking for in an adult game I decided I would just have to create it myself. And thus FoxySoft was born.
The graphics and gameplay look very professional, how long have you been working on this project? How much longer will it take to complete?
I have been developing the prototype demo for 4 months now. I have a created 90% of the artwork myself and built the virtual world which consists of a small city and couple of small woodland areas. I have 2 programmers implementing the basic game play mechanics. We have a character create system where you can choose your sex, clothes and hair styles. We have a chat system in place. We have a basic market system where you can buy and sell in game items. We have sexual interactions working and a questing system in place. Up nest is a grouping with friends where players will be able to invite other players to be part of their group, once accepted, the sexual or combat activates will ensue. We also need to implement combat and health status meters. The next two months will see a complete Demo with some more character customization options and polished game play systems. The Demo is scheduled to be released to supporters by Late October.
Once we have the demo complete it is just a matter of scaling it all up to create a full fledge game to be launched Spring of 2014.
You used to work for Sony Online Entertainment making mainstream games, why did you decide to leave and focus on making adult games? Were you nervous about making this switch?
Decide to leave? It wasn’t my choice. Sony had mass layoffs last year. Unfortunately, well no actually, fortunately I was one of them. A sad event at first, it turned out to be a good thing. It freed me up to pursue this. I got contract work with another company while I wrote design documents and business plans for FoxySoft. When it came time to do some actual development, I jumped in with both feet and used my savings to develop Venus Rising full time from home. Yes I was nervous and still am. After all, I am putting everything on the line here. It’s like swinging on a trapeze without a net. But as I see the game develop, and my vision come to fruition, I am more and more confidant that it will be a good, fun, and successful game. Also, showing it to people like you and your community who are excited about it really bolsters my confidence. I don’t always get positive feedback though, in fact some people hate it and really pooh pooh the whole idea. But there is a saying in the game industry. “If you don’t have haters then you’re not doing it right.” So even the negative feedback is reassuring. It means people are talking about it and that’s always a good thing.
Do you know of any other adult games who are going after the scope of what you are trying to accomplish? Have any been successful? What do you think will set Venus Rising apart?
No I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that something similar isn’t in development as we speak. They may just not be on the radar. I do know that Second Life is quite robust and Red Light District is wildly popular. Both those games are huge and have millions of players. I would say they are the most similar to what I’m doing.
But what sets Venus Rising apart is:
- World setting
- Cutting edge graphics
- Popular mainstream game play
- Close male to female ratio of players
It seems all adult games are set in modern times. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but if you want to live a fantasy, why not live it in a fantasy world. A world full of fantastic creatures and beautifully lush environments.
Other popular adult games tend to have very outdated graphics. I don’t want to bash any games here but I never found any of them to be particularly good looking. Venus Rising uses all the latest technology to create the most realistic and stimulating artwork for the best immersion possible.
And game play. We are actually going to have some. Most adult games are nothing more than sex simulators or glorified chat rooms. Now there are exceptions of course, Second Life offers a ton of things to do. But it’s not the kind of fantasy entertainment that most MMORP players enjoy. You can’t fight a gang of Orcs for instance, or form a hunting party to take down a mega medusa.
And that leads me to male/female ratio. The biggest complaint I get from the naysayers is that adult games are just sausage fests. Meaning only men are playing. Well that is true of many sex games because they don’t offer anything that females would be attracted to. It’s not that women don’t want to have sexual encounters online; it’s just that they want a lot more substance to it. A game that has actual game play and lots of role play opportunities is very attractive to the female game player and the proof is in the demographics of MMORPG games. Over 40% of MMORPG players are female. On my forums alone we have a ratio of 10 females to every 15 males. Heck, I’m female and I’m building the game.
If your project succeeds what do you hope will happen?
Well the ultimate dream would be to have millions of players and grow to a fortune 500 company. But honestly, if I have a small community of about 5,000 loyal players who really enjoy the game then I would consider that a huge success. It would be enough to sustain a small team of about 6-10 developers and still turn a profit for investors. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than to have my job be building a fantastic world enjoyed by so many others.
I want to thank you and the Offbeatr community for being so supportive of this venture.
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