I’m more than aware that it’s been over two months since the last time we did an interview (a lot of stuff has gone down in my personal life since December of 2018), but fear not!
Because I got some positive news to share with you all on the interview front. You see, Just recently I got a chance to sit down and do an interview with Lord Arioch.
So we talked about everything from lewd games, Venus Noire’s upcoming games (“Seeds of Chaos”, “Jessika’s Curse” and “The Eternal Feast”), plans for the future and Lord Arioch’s thoughts on censorship.
So without further ado, please enjoy our interview with Lord Arioch =)
Right off the bat, thank you very much for taking your time doing this interview with us =) And with that said, please go ahead and introduce yourself to our readers.
Thanks for having me, Robin. My name is Lord Arioch, I’m the creator / owner of Venus Noire, and I’ve been making adult games for nearly four years now.
What’s the story behind how the adult indie game studio Venus Noire came to be? (how, when, where and why?) And how did you guys come up with that studio name?
I’d been playing Japanese H-games, on and off, for nearly twenty years. During the early days of the Western scene, I found games like Akabur’s Princess Trainer, Fenoxo’s Corruption of Champions, and Gabe’s Legend of Queen Opala, which inspired me to work on Seeds of Chaos, and lead to Venus Noire.
The studio name comes from the French for black venus, the name that the nineteenth-century French poet, Charles Baudelaire, gave to his muse – the creole prostitute Jeanne Duval.
At this time Venus Noire is currently creating three adult games “Seeds of Chaos”, “Jessika’s Curse” and “The Eternal Feast”). So perhaps you could tell us a bit about each game, what goals you have for them and what you hope to achieve with each title?
Seeds of Chaos is a dark fantasy VN/RPG/management hybrid game, where you play as a hero forced to serve demons against your will in their attempts to conquer the world.
For this, I wanted to make an “epic” game, and with almost five hundred thousand words of content, and over one hundred sex scenes with over two hundred CGs while the game is still in the first act, it is looking like it will shape up that way.
Jessika’s Curse is a lust combat based game, centred around the aforementioned Jessika, a knight who has been cursed with the body (and occasionally, the mind) of a bimbo.
For this, I wanted to make something very different in tone from Seeds of Chaos, a lot lighter with a bit of slapstick silliness (think Slayers), and I’m hoping that it will make people laugh.
The Eternal Feast is the ultimate dark fetish game focused on the taboo and the forbidden. You play as an Yra, an innocent young female that must descend into corruption to ensure her existence.
As Yra you must manage a household of servants, slaves, sentient demonic sex toys, in order to please your demonic keepers. The game is inspired by text-heavy experienced like interactive novels and Fenoxo Fen’s games.
I couldn’t help to notice the following quote on your homepage:
“Our goal is simple: adult games in mainstream quality without any compromises!”
As awesome as that might sound in theory, how well does that work in reality? I mean Valve is cracking down on lewd games on Steam, Youtube is becoming more and stricter when it comes to uploading gameplay videos with lewd content and so on.
So how do you tackle all of that all while achieving your own dreams and goals with your games without having any compromises?
It isn’t easy. Exposure and sales are a big part of success, and if Youtube and Steam continue to crack down, it is going to get harder to get both of those things.
Even Patreon, which has been responsible for the development of the Western scene, is being a lot tougher enforcing things that it previously had no problem with.
So there’s a lot of uncertainty, but all you can really do is keep your head up and keep working on making the best games you can. If something bad does happen, I’ll have to look into other methods of funding, but like in any business, things change, and you have to adapt.
And while we’re on the subject of censorship, creative freedom and freedom of speech. What are your thoughts on the censorship madness that’s being pushed onto games as of lately? (I’m mainly referring to Sony’s and Steam’s censorship nonsense when it comes to lewd content in video games).
I have always been very strongly against censorship. It is a very dangerous thing, you only have to look back to see this – the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned by Napoleon without trial for writing Justine and Juliette. And historically, censorship has been used by tyrants and dictators to suppress any criticism of their rule.
Art has to be able to break taboos, to be transgressive, whether we like it or not, and artists need to feel free to express their creativity. Georges Bataille, Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Alain Robbe-Grillet, J. G. Ballard, Samuel Delany, the list goes on and on.
Returning to Sade for the moment, take Pasolini’s Salo, a film I find deeply unpleasant, and, having seen once, have no desire to watch again, but still believe is a very important film. The fact it was banned on release and is still banned in some countries is ridiculous.
As for Sony and Steam, it is annoying but I can understand why they are doing what they are doing.
They are corporations and they are more interested in protecting themselves from looking bad than being defenders of art. After all, it is a lot easier to say “rape is bad and people shouldn’t put it in things”, than it is, for example, to defend Gaspar Noe’s Irréversible as an important work of art.
What does your release plans look like for “Seeds of Chaos”, “Jessika’s Curse” and “The Eternal Feast”? And are the games going to be released to for other formats besides PC?
Seeds of Chaos currently has both monthly backer and public releases, but as mentioned earlier it is a very large game and still has some distance to go before it is finished. We are planning on releasing an early access version on Steam when act one is finished though.
We are just about to put the first public demo of Jessika’s Curse out, so we are hoping that will go well. And Yron (the creator of The Eternal Feast) has had a bit of a bumpy road with staff, but he’s found a new programmer and development is going well, with regular releases.
We aren’t looking at other platforms at the moment, as all three have quite a bit to go until release, but it is a possibility.
Do you have any experience with Itch.io, Gamejolt , Newgrounds, DLSite, Nutaku and Steam when it comes to releasing lewd games via those platforms? If so, what’s it been like?
I used to use Gamejolt, but I never had much in the way of hits. I started using Itch.io last year, and I’ve had a lot more joy with that, both with downloads and donations.
We haven’t used Newgrounds yet, but we are planning to host the Jessika’s Curse demo there when it is finished next month.
I don’t know if you’ve heard it yet, but Tophat studios are launching their own anti-censorship storefront (it’s called “Top Hat Store”). So what’s your thoughts on that? And is that something that you would like to try out?
I hadn’t heard about it, but I think it is a noble endeavour. Obviously, it is always difficult when there is a market leader as much of a goliath as Steam is, but with DLsite being Japanese, and Nutaku still being quite tight on the regulation of content, there is definitely a niche to be filled by a store like this.
Is there any lewd game studios, artists and games that you really like and look up to? If so, why and who?
Unfortunately I don’t get a lot of time to play games these days, but there’s a lot of people doing great work. Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t be here earlier if it wasn’t for Akabur, Fen, and Gabe, I’m a big fan of Sierra Lee (who makes The Last Sovereign, among other games), and Architect’s Claire’s Quest.
Why do you think that big companies like Valve and Sony make such a huge deal out of some naked skin and lewd content in video games? I mean, aren’t we all adults? And isn’t those games aimed towards an adult audience?
What I’m trying to say is that all the censorship nonsense makes zero sense to me (you sure know what the world has come to when Nintendo, a well-known “family friendly” game company, has less censorship in their games than Sony does).
I mean, I’m an adult, and I agree I should be able to buy adult things. I don’t really see what the problem is with me wanting games that have sexual content; it is like they are saying nudity and sex are shameful.
Add to the fact you can go on Steam or Sony’s store now and buy Grand Theft Auto IV and start massacring a bunch of innocent civilians, it all feels very hypocritical.
What does a typical day look like at Venus Noire? And what’s it like to brainstorm ideas for erotic games? (is it as sexy, cool and wild as I think it is? Or nah?)
Pretty boring to be honest, mostly just a lot of sitting around on discord, discussing content / work progress with the other staff members. It can be quite fun when you are throwing around crazy ideas though.
The female body is a very beautiful thing. Even so, I couldn’t help to notice that it seems to be a very bad thing for game developers to create sexy, beautiful and attractive female characters in video games nowadays in the West.
Why do you think that is? And should game developers and publishers stick to their guns and visions more? (as in not caving in to having things censored, toned down or removed from the said game).
I mean, I agree there should be more representation in media, but why can’t we have both? Why can’t I make a game with sexy women, and someone else who wants to do so make a game with more realistic women? People should be free to decide what they want.
While I think sticking to your guns is a good thing, I do appreciate there are often other factors at play that make it difficult. If you have a large budget to recoup or staff to pay, it probably isn’t wise to get your funding options cut to make a stand. If Patreon asked me to remove something tomorrow, and I refused, it wouldn’t just affect me, it would affect eight other people.
Where do you think the future will hold in terms for erotic videos games and lewd game development? And where does Venus Noire see itself in the future?
I think the future is quite bright. A few years ago the entire Western scene consisted of a few hobbyists working alone in their spare time, now Patreon is funding entire teams and we have more games than ever. And even though Steam is cracking down, the fact they started allowing us to sell there is a huge deal.
As for Venus Noire, hopefully, we’ll continue to grow and be successful, and keep making games.
And last but not least, what’s your plans, hopes and expectations for the rest of the year? And is there anything else that you would like to say to our readers?
Our main goal is to have the first act of Seeds of Chaos finished later this year, and we are hoping for a successful launch of the Jessika’s Curse demo.
The last thing I’d like to say to readers is as annoying as all the recent censorship and negative media attention is, I wouldn’t worry too much. Whatever happens, there’ll always be people who want to make adult games, as to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, porn finds a way.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
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