As the most of our readers might have noticed by now, we have finally started to get back into the interview game again.
So, yeah, it feels great to be doing interviews again =) And guess what? Today it’s time for yet another new interview!
And this time I sat down with Frostworks and talked about everything from his +18 erotic monster-themed visual novel “Quest Failed”, erotic monster girls, lewd game development to his plans for the future.
I’m going to start off this interview by letting you introduce yourself to our readers. So please go ahead and do so =)
Hi there! Thanks for having me! I’m the sole person behind the game studio FrostWorks, and am commonly known as ‘Frost’ to most people!
I work on a variety of different projects behind the scenes, but my flagship project–and the one most people know me for–is ‘Quest Failed’–an erotic visual novel series chronicling the adventures of one (un)lucky man and the perils he faces on his way to becoming an adventurer.
How did everything start for you in terms of game development and lewd games? And what’s the story behind how Frostworks came to be? (how, when, where and why)
I foresee my answer here being a long one, so I apologise for the novel in advance!
It’s actually been a pretty crazy ride over the last few years–and never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be able to make a living from it all!
Growing up, I’ve always had an interest in exploring the creative side of things; be it making silly stories or fanfics (I wrote more embarrassing fanfics based on games that inspired me than I’d care to mention, haha) or tinkering around with software like RPG Maker. At one point, I even dabbled in map making software for games like Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead.
And I haven’t even covered the time I tried to animate flash cartoons! (That was pretty short-lived once I found out how much work goes into animating something) You could say at a certain point I was a jack of all trades, but master of none, exploring all manner of options at my disposal as I tried to find something that was ‘right’ for me.
But beyond writing and game development with rudimentary tools like RPG Maker, nothing really seemed to ‘click’ in a way that would lead me to properly dedicating myself to it all.
My passion for those other things was fleeting at best, and after the initial excitement of diving into them, I would often grow frustrated or bored once I hit a wall and realised I wasn’t good enough to do what I set out to achieve.
Beyond some ancient RPG Maker projects buried in the depths of my hard drive, there was no one project I dedicated myself to, and instead I experimented with a wide range of genres and styles.
Of course, at this point, it was all just for fun–since I rarely, if ever shared anything I made with other people. I was content just making it for myself, playing it for myself and then moving on once the current project had run its course.
I can only recall a couple of projects I was proud enough to share with others, but thankfully they’re lost to time on now defunct forums I would frequent feverishly back in the day. So I got pretty lucky there!
It was only around 2012/13 that I became aware of Ren’Py, an engine primarily made for visual novels. It’s funny actually, since I remember downloading it after becoming aware of it from projects that utilised it such as Katawa Shoujo, but then it sat on my hard drive for months, untouched.
I had downloaded it, completely forgot about it, and then moved on to other things. The only thing that made me rediscover it was when the household’s money situation became dire and our internet was cut off for a good few months. True suffering, I tell you!
So spurred on by a lack of internet and nothing better to do with my time, I acclimatised myself with the engine using the variety of built-in tutorials it featured and this is where my visual novel journey began!
Having previously read a bunch of visual novels that inspired me greatly, such as Fate/Stay Night and Little Busters, my first attempt at creating a visual novel was a ‘battle royale’ style showdown between a variety of characters.
The cast was absurdly large for a first attempt, and I only had a loose idea of what I wanted to do with the story, so very quickly after the first 30/40,000 words I ran out of steam on it and simply considered it a test game that helped me learn all of Ren’Py’s functions.
While there was an initial learning curve to things, I greatly enjoyed how simple it was to put text straight in to the game without having to navigate a labyrinth of UI boxes and menus like some other pieces of development software might have had me do.
It’s a great engine, and definitely one I’d recommend to anyone out there who might be considering going down the route of visual novel development!
So after that, I began to plan another visual novel, something a little more manageable and more thought-out than the jumbled mess I had ended up with before. And the more I put it together, the more confident I became with the idea I had.
So much so, that I even began to commission various resources for it. It was a great joy, seeing something I had worked so hard on come to life-like that!
This was a project I had become so proud of, that I even took to the official Ren’Py forums to showcase it and gather feedback with a demo.
Reception was largely positive, and it inspired me to keep forging on with it! (As of today, due to wanting to transfer everything over to my FrostWorks moniker, I’ve taken down all old demos of it right now, so it’s not available to play, but keep your eyes peeled!)
It’s even something I occasionally work on to this date–but due to Quest Failed taking the spotlight, I had to sideline it for a while. It will be reborn, though! And for those curious, I put out a teaser of it in the guise of an April Fools joke last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSJRDoekvKI
But Quest Failed’s inception wasn’t for a while to come still, so back to the past we go!
It was at this point that I began to ingrain myself more in the visual novel development community and attempt to talk to other like-minded developers.
I’m not the most social person and tended to keep to myself in the past, so opening up and talking to others about the development processes of our games was a whole new world for me, and I felt I was really learning a lot from it all.
This also led to me offering up my services as a writer on their forums on a whim, and what effectively kickstarted my commercial endeavours!
When I put up the thread advertising myself as a writer with some basic samples, I didn’t really think much would come of it.
At the most maybe a small project would want to pick me up, and I could learn some more visual novel development stuff along the way. Just something fun to pass the time and get to know others, you know?
But to my shock and surprise, my hastily written samples somehow managed to catch the attention of two different visual novel studios that both had high-profile projects in the works. This is where things get a little messy, though.
Star struck, I accepted a role as a writer in the first studio’s team without a second thought, eager and ready to contribute to a commercial project that would be played by thousands, if not more.
The more the days passed though, and the more the initial excitement wore off–I realised that working alongside a large team of writers just wasn’t for me.
It was incredibly hard to find the passion to contribute more to a project that wasn’t truly my own, and try to align my writing with someone else’s vision. And slowly, I began to drift from the group until we parted ways.
The second studio that hired me however, went far smoother for a period, as they gave me a large amount of creative control over the story and characters and I was able to put together something I was relatively proud of in just a few short months for them.
It wasn’t perfect by any means, and definitely had a lot of flaws, but it seemed to be enjoyed by a lot of people! This was one of my first big achievements in my visual novel development career–seeing something I had written 100% by myself and then backed up with professional art and music–it was amazing.
They even implemented Japanese voice acting with professional Japanese voice actresses down the line, which completely blew me away, knowing that this little story I wrote had been voiced by Japanese VAs I knew and admired! It was like a dream come true.
So coming off of the high of this success and the great reception of this game, they wanted me to write a sequel right away and offer more consistent payment my way, of which I was more than happy to agree to! Unfortunately it was at this point the cracks began to show in our partnership.
Needless to say (since this section is large enough already, haha) after several rejected drafts of a sequel I had to rewrite and a near-finished script that they didn’t end up accepting, I grew distant from the studio and eventually went my own way. Again. This isn’t making me sound very good, is it?
I want to stress that the studios I worked with aren’t at fault, and that a lot of it came down to my own nature, along with a lot of hectic things happening in my life at the time that made focusing on such projects very difficult.
It was just a lot of bad circumstances at once that piled up and eventually made us go our own ways. I hold no hard feelings towards any of them, and I hope they don’t hold anything against me, haha. Sometimes things just don’t work out for whatever reason!
So, I had one short gig with a studio and then slightly longer one with another–that fortunately left me with some money to spare. Where did I go from here? With my savings acting as a ticking time bomb, I had two options:
1. Go back into more regular employment and resume writing things as nothing more than a casual hobby.
2. Take a gamble and brave the commercial world with my own project.
Since I’m here today, you can probably imagine what option I went with in the end, haha. It was at this point that I formed ‘FrostWorks’ and took the extraordinary risk of putting a lot of my savings into a project.
I knew I needed to make something I could finish in a short time frame, and something that would have wide appeal–with content that might make up for any shortcomings I have as a fledgling developer.
So the most natural course of action was to go lewd and make an erotic game with fully detailed sex scenes. Something that, from my past experiences, I had learned selled incredibly well when stacked up against more regular VNs. Sex sells, as most people already know, haha.
Admittedly though, short of some embarrassing stories I wrote back in the day, this was my first foray into the adult gaming world. I had never written a proper sex scene in my life, or at least shown one to the public.
And I tend to shy away from getting too ‘dirty’ with my writing, so had no idea if the erotic scenes I wrote would appeal to anyone at all. It was all really risky.
A risk with my money, a risk with my writing abilities, and a risk with being able to finish it all in time before I was completely out of funds.
It was a wild adventure–and 2016 was a year that everything went to hell in my life, so I was amazed I was able to get the game out at all. A happy end all around!
Have you always been into monster girls? Or is that something that caught your eye not so long ago? And do you think that it’s a genre that’s going to continue to grow in popularity over time?
I became aware of the monster girl genre when the first part of Monster Girl Quest released and received its earliest partial fan translation.
Due to a lot of hype on message boards that were talking about how great it was, I decided to give it a shot, having at least a casual interest in eroge in general and was always looking for new experiences to try out, even if the ‘monster’ concept was something alien to me.
I was a little unsure at first, but by the end of the first slime girl encounter, I’m pretty sure that game awakened something inside of the younger, more impressionable me, haha. Both in terms of an interest in femdom and monster girls.
Needless to say, I was hooked after that and played each of the games as they released, completely enthralled by the creative and intense h-scenes–and the amazing story on top of it all. If there’s anyone out there that hasn’t played Monster Girl Quest–I highly encourage you to give it a go!
Regarding the future of the monster girl genre, it definitely seems to be something that has become more popular over time. I would say it became a lot more ‘mainstream’ with the likes of the Monster Musume anime arriving, introducing the concept of monster girls in a far ‘softer’ manner than what some hardcore eroge might have provided.
I see lots of new monster girl games and characters being made as a result, too–each going down their own path. Sadly not a lot of them go too deep into the femdom aspect of things, though beyond maybe a surface level.
But hey, variety is the spice of life and all! It’ll be exciting to see how far people go with this concept–since the possibilities are endless, really!
Perhaps you could give our readers some insight on what your game “Quest Failed” is all about?
Quest Failed is a fantasy series about a young adventurer called Matthew, who has dreams of one day becoming a fully licensed adventurer.
Unfortunately for him, he’s just not that good at it. The chapters chronicle these misadventures as he encounters all manner of beautiful and mischievous monster gals that see fit to toy with him, often pinning him down against his will and draining him dry of his ‘energy’ before letting him go.
Sometimes in the process they develop an attraction to this goofy little adventurer, and find themselves tagging along with him and his continued attempts to finish a quest.
I’d like to think of Quest Failed as a blend of a fun fantasy story intertwined with highly erotic scenes between him and his lovely monster ladies that dote on him so much. Comedy, drama, sex, cute light-hearted shenanigans; it has a bit of everything, really!
Chapter One can be seen as a ‘prologue’ of sorts (though is still pretty lengthy) as it introduces our young hero, his friends, and the beginnings of a far darker plot that unfolds around him.
While Chapter Two expands more on the foundations laid out beforehand and opens up into a much larger non-linear experience where the main character can take on a number of different side quests at will that influence many aspects of the main narrative unfolding alongside it all.
In short, if you like monster girls, femdom, cute characters or are looking for a neat fantasy story–please do feel free to check out Quest Failed and let me know what you think! I’m always striving to improve and take feedback very seriously!
So far you have released chapter 1 and chapter 2 for your monster girl-themed 18+ erotic visual novel “Quest Failed”. So, will there be a chapter 3? Or do you have any other game development plans?
Ah, to clarify one point–Chapter Two has yet to release officially. What’s currently available on itch.io is just a short demo of the adventure to come. So things are still very much under rapid development!
Once I finish Chapter Two, however–Chapter Three is very much a given, as I’ve planned the story out in segments that gradually unfold.
However, since Chapter Two is taking a long time to develop, I’m considering breaking Chapter Three into two different parts, so that people can play each part earlier and not be forced to wait as long.
Besides Quest Failed, I also have a number of different experiences I’ve been slowly cooking up in the background!
There’s the Room prototype I believe you’ve seen, the prison teaser I put up above in a previous answer, and a game featuring an unlucky attendant in a hotel full of supernatural beauties.
It’s been a lot of fun to plan all of these out in my downtime when I’m not working on QF, and I hope they’ll be met with just as much enthusiasm!
Of course, Quest Failed takes full priority right now–so you probably won’t see any of these other projects until afterwards.
Are you happy with how “Quest Failed” turned out? (your own personal goals Vs how the final product turned out) And how has the feedback, reviews and reactions been from gamers so far?
Personally I feel Chapter One of Quest Failed was a little too rushed towards the end (due to deadlines on my end with funding and such) and that I maybe put a bit too much focus on the h-scenes in fear of people losing interest if there wasn’t enough sex to keep their attention.
Funnily enough, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they enjoyed the story of Chapter One–and would like to see more of it over the sex!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of what I achieved with Chapter One, and was amazed I was able to put it together in the end given everything that was conspiring against me at the time, haha–but in hindsight there was lots I would have liked to expand on!
I even had to omit a final threesome h-scene from the game before launch since it was going to take too long to finish up, and had to implement it back in via a patch. That was one of my biggest regrets, and I really want to avoid rushing things with Chapter Two.
Feedback and reviews have been overwhelming, too. It really does warm my heart to see so many people telling me how they enjoyed the first part, and how much they love the characters.
It motivates me to do the best I can with the second installment and try to meet everyone’s expectations–however high they might be now after such a long period of development, haha. I’ve been sure to take note of negative reviews, too and try to expand on what people felt might have fallen flat in the first game.
Was there any specific reason behind why you decided to turn “Quest Failed” into a visual novel? (the game would work as an RPG as well, in my opinion) Or was that something that you wanted to do from the very start?
Given my history of game development, I felt that my true strength lay within writing–and that visual novels were a medium I enjoyed very much, and felt I could do justice compared to something more expansive like say, an rpg or adventure game.
I wanted to create something that people could truly get absorbed within and really feel they were in this wondrously dangerous fantasy world!
In addition, the VN medium would really let me go wild with my writing and allow for lengthier, more detailed sex scenes that might have not meshed well in other games.
I would love to experiment down the line with shorter, goofier spin-offs that tackle Quest Failed in a different way, though. For example, an RPG with QF characters really would be neat, as you say.
Though unfortunately RPGs comes with their own challenges, such as balancing stats, items and making sure there are enough fun maps to explore. I think I would have to put together a proper development team to achieve a game like that.
In your opinion, what is it that makes the biggest difference between a bad and a great lewd video game? Simply put, what ingredients are needed in-order for an erotic game to become an epic game title?
Context is key! No matter how small or silly, I find a sex scene largely benefits from some build up and appropriate context to things getting as heated as they do.
I find myself largely disconnected from a game’s lewd scenes if they happen with no real rhyme or reason and appear to just happen for the sake of titalition.
Additionally, characterisation is also incredibly important–given each character their own distinct personality and role within the story, so that you feel you can bond more intimately with them before things get hot and heavy, rather than just treating them like a sex object.
Flirty and fun dialogue really helps too, as opposed to just straight moaning or bizarre lines that go into great graphic detail regarding their anatomy. (I never really found that too hot, yet it seems the norm for your average doujinshi haha) Essentially, keeping the character ‘in character’ during the scene really helps rather than just turning them into an aheago-ridden mess that can’t form a single sentence.
Do you have any limits at all when it comes to lewd content? I mean, is there anything that you feel like would be too much to include in your games? (Lolli themed erotic games seems to be a rather sensitive topic, for example)
It’s hard to say, since I largely write games that suit my own interests and don’t veer too much out of my comfort zone. I create stuff I know I’ll personally like and then hope others will enjoy it too!
Regarding other more extreme content I shy away from, it’s more a case of just not being into it than any more deep-seated reason. I find that if I’m trying to write for a particular fetish I’m not into, I naturally won’t know why it appeals to people, or what aspects of it to focus on.
And so, my own interests just naturally ended up a bit more ‘vanilla’. Though I will say that Chapter Two pushes the boundaries in some aspects, and I feel some scenes might be too much for some people. It’s going to be really interesting to see some reactions when they get to those parts!
The more adult content I consume though, the broader my interests become. So who knows, down the line I might start making games with more extreme content that really start to blur the lines.
I’m not 100% sure if I’m right or wrong now, but did you create everything yourself for “Quest Failed”? If so, then I take it that you are a very talented artist as well? Because the monster babes and visuals look freaking awesome in “Quest Failed”.
Ah, I can’t take all the credit for that! My duties extend largely to writing, scripting and compiling all the assets together into the game. (Such as voice acting, music, art and so on)
I work with a large group of freelancers that contribute to Quest Failed in many ways (too many to list here, in fact!) and I never would have gotten anywhere if not for their amazing work!
Chapter One alone featured many talented artists, and Chapter Two’s credit screen is going to scroll on forever once you see how many people contributed to the development of it!
What’s the story behind each and every girl in “Quest Failed”? For example, how did you come up with their looks, personalities and so on?
Unfortunately at this point there’s far too many monster girls present in the project to go over individually, but for those curious I sometimes do design overviews on my Patreon, where I show old sketches and proposed plans for some girls before going over each stage of development!
If you’ve interested in seeing how Quest Failed is pieced together, I highly recommend taking a look at it!
For Chapter One, though, when I created each of the girls present in that it was more a case of trying to cover all of the bases without too much overlap, so that each girl felt distinct.
This even went as far as their colour palettes to help them stand out! The slime girl, Jilly was a given as the first monster girl too–leaning back to my influences from MGQ heavily and deciding that if you’re having a fantasy game, a slime has GOT to be the first encounter, haha. Because that’s just the way it works!
I got one follow-up question on the same subject. Did you ever have to scrap any monster girls of yours before the final release of “Quest Failed”? (monster girls that simply didn’t make the final cut).
Beyond a h-scene I had to cut until a later date it was added back in, nothing was really scrapped for Chapter One.
I had a clear and concise goal in mind with the 5 monster girls and wrote my story around those limitations, to some degree of success!
Making Chapter Two, I had an initial outline of characters I wanted to create, and while most did meet the final cut, a few were either consolidated together into a single character that met all of the criteria, or were sidelined for a later game such Chapter Three.
One even changed species entirely, but for the best I think, haha. There were also a few h-scenes I scrapped for Chapter Two after they were drawn, because in the end I felt they demeaned a certain character too much and I wasn’t happy with it, so had them redone to not be as mean-spirited.
Do you have any plans at all to bring “Quest Failed” to any other platforms than just PC in the future? (mobile, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and so on).
I feel that due to the extreme nature of Quest Failed, that porting it to consoles wouldn’t be ideal–as I would either have to cut out large swathes of erotic content or alter the game entirely to meet more rigid standards set on consoles. Ren’Py almost limits from expanding out too much, too beyond potential mobile ports.
So as of right now, it’ll remain a PC series! But hey, who knows what the future might hold with other titles?
What do you think the future will hold in terms of erotic video games and lewd game development in general? And what could you tell us about your “Room” prototype game?
It will be interesting to see how things unfold, as adult games seem to be slowly creeping up to the forefront in more recent days.
What with Steam opening the floodgates to adult content (albeit with bumpy and uncertain standards that nobody seems quite sure of) and other adult sites like Nutaku getting a strong foothold in the industry, things are flourishing far more than they were in years previous and more and more developers are joining the adult world!
More and more higher budget adult games are joining the fray and with the advent of Patreon being able to support a lot of small time creators in their endeavours, there’s never been a greater time to work.
My only fear is the over-saturation that is bound to happen, and that people might struggle to carve a niche for themselves as more games come out.
That’s my biggest fear personally, that by the time I finish Chapter Two it will have to compete with a large range of titles that came out in the meantime and might just get swallowed up in the noise. The future is both bright, yet uncertain at the same time, if that makes sense!
Regarding the ‘Room’ prototype I put out–it’s potentially the foundation for something I could work on once Quest Failed is finished.
It merges together my love for erotic games and tense, horror-like storytelling in a cute little package and was largely an experiment for both me and the artist working on it to see what we could achieve in a small period of time.
I had a lot of fun working out how it should all go together and would love to expand on it more if given a chance in the future!
As for my very last question, what’s your plans, hopes and expectations for the rest of 2019? And is there anything else that you would like to say to our readers?
My biggest hope for 2019 is to get Chapter Two of Quest Failed out and for everyone to enjoy, and then I think I can finally breathe a big sigh of relief and sit back before deciding what to tackle next!
And to all of the readers out there, I thank you all for reading to the end! (Even for surviving my rambling novel of an answer back at the beginning!) I hope you enjoyed this brief little glimpse into this rambling developer’s life and that I’ve perhaps inspired you to check out some monster girl related content!
Be it my own, or even something like Monster Girl Quest! You can’t go wrong with any of them!
Thanks again for having me, Robin, and I hope I haven’t drowned you in too much text, haha.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
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