Friday, August 23, 2019

Ideas for a Darkest Dungeon-esque H-game - Being the Warlock

Ok, here's some more random musings on the type of Darkest Dungeon-esque succubus H-game I'd like to see (because I don't have the technical chops to make it myself).

Last up, I talked a bit about the combat, which is going to have various smutty succubi and monster girls mucking up the standard 4-on-4 structure by jumping the bones of members of the opposing party.  This is where we have the excuse for lots of lovely and gratuitously xxx-rated pixel art (and hopefully some strategy to make the fights a little interesting as well).

The next question: Are we Team Succubus, or Team Succubus Bait?

I'll start with Team Succubus, as that's probably the most straightforward.

This is pretty much going to be like Iratus, but we're an eroge, so our banshees and vampires are going to be fucking the life out of enemies rather than spooping them to death.

The background setup is easy.  Perhaps a little too easy.  The player takes the role of a warlock or demon lord, and goes after the human realms with an army of sexy succubi.  From that starting point there is plenty of freedom with respect to humour, tone and lightness.  The Japanese games tend to push the slider towards goofy cute (although Monmusu Quest: Paradox can get very down and serious when it wants).  Personally, given that most of these games are fairly light-hearted, I think it might be interesting to try a darker tone – give our succubi some real fangs and an aura of sexy deadliness.  That would require some work on the main protagonist as goofball villain protagonists tend to work whereas deadly serious ones do not.

Maybe our warlock protagonist is the good guy, just using dubious tools to take down an army of corrupt and hypocritical shining knights.

There's also a fair bit of freedom with respect to the enemies.  Maybe they're your classic knights and D&D adventuring parties, but corrupt.  Maybe it can be a bit of succubus-on-succubus action.  While I think you probably want both sexes represented to appeal to a larger audience, this might necessitate extra work in the pixel art department as the monster girl may have different scenes depending on whether she's having fun with a man or woman.

I'd probably go with succubi vs knights, and start out with making the knights all male to avoid needing to multiply the art assets too much.  Then maybe adding female enemies to also attract ryona enthusiasts if resources allow.

One key difference to Darkest Dungeon is we'll want to hide a lot of those units behind some sort of unlock system.  In Darkest Dungeon all of the available units are pretty much available from the start and gated only by the RNG determining which ones show up on the stagecoach.  For a monster girl eroge, the focus is going to be on the sexy monster girls.  The lure of seeing new ones is what will (hopefully) keep the player playing, so we want to make them part of the progression system.  This then has an impact on balance.  The later unlocks should, in theory, be more powerful than the starter units, but then there's a risk of moving away from the finding synergistic parties aspect that makes Darkest Dungeon so damn good.  I think just making the later units more powerful than the starter units is back to the problem of boring combat mechanics.

Rather than more powerful, I think more strategic options might be a better thing to aim for.  Make the newer monster girls open up new options and new party configurations.  Just like Darkest Dungeon, the enemies are going to add more nuisance units to their roster, and that should prompt the player into trying out newer strategies to overcome them.

Another interesting consideration is whether we go roguelite or not.  Roguelite would have unlocks carry over into the next run (Iratus does this), whereas a more traditional RPG-type system would require the player to go through the same unlocking process with each new game (but, like a typical RPG, would only be playing one game rather than many randomized runs).

There's also the easy opportunity for more sex content.  One source of H-content is going to be in the battles as succubi "overcome" the enemies.  We can also have more conventional H-scenes of the succubi having fun with their warlock commander (i.e. the player) outside of battle.  Monmusu Quest: Paradox does this with the request scenes in the pocket castle.  This is also an additional form of player progression – the player raising affection with their monster girls (through levelling them up or maybe some kind of gift system) in order to unlock their H-content.

In general, I think the game would look something like this:

- The player plays a warlock/demon lord out to conquer various regions with sexy succubi/monster girls.

- There are different regions with different enemy unit compositions requiring different strategies to overcome in each.

- The player grinds short 'dungeons' in each region to unlock new units and strengthen existing ones (with the goal being to get strong enough to take down a 'final castle').

- The player unlocks new succubus/monster girl units.  New skills for the monster girls can be unlocked.  New H-content for the monster girls can be unlocked.

- The player has a 'base area' to develop with resources taken from the dungeon runs.

- 2D sprite strategic battles.  As we're an eroge, a large part of the strategy will be pulling enemy units out of formation or restraining enough of them so that they can be sexually drained.  Combat also has to always feel interesting.  There's going to be a lot of it, so the player needs to not feel like it's a massive grind.  Have different roles for each of the monster girls (but not too obvious and rigid).

So far, so vague.  But I doubt the various core gameplay loops can be nailed down until getting more serious about planning and development, and this tricky for me.  I have ideas, but I suspect I don't have the technical chops to take it all the way, so there's only so much time I feel comfortable to devoting to something like this.  I've always liked jotting down game design ideas, so maybe this is something I'll return to when I need a quick break from regular writing.

Thinking about this did remind me of a 2D sprite eroge that does do some of this stuff, but is real-time action rather than turn-based strategy – Attack it! Devil Legion.

Attack it! Devil Legion - Your demonic legions of... uh... doom.

I didn't get on with the demo, but did give the full game more of a try when I was thinking of existing eroge examples similar to the ideas above.  Attack it! Devil Legion does have some strategy in the form of various offensive, defensive and support roles, but it mostly feels a little too frenetic.  You control a little bat and can interrupt attacks and knock enemies over, but your monster girls and succubi mostly seem to do their own thing.  It does have an unlock system (but no H-content with your own minions - for good reason given the protagonist).

I'm not convinced on the real-time play aspects.  Most of the time you're too busy flinging your bat avatar around the screen to get a chance to enjoy your succubi double-teaming adventurers in various smutty ways.  It's still better than most of the other sexy monster girl eroges I've played recently, so I might give it the full Hentai Game Review treatment if it holds my attention long enough to complete the game.  The sprite artwork is really nice.  This, but turn-based was what I was thinking of as I wrote this post.

Hot succubus double team action.  I'm thinking this but where you can sit back and enjoy watching rather than trying to figure out where your bat avatar has been bashed to.

Maybe this will give some of you reading some ideas.  I'd love to see a game along these lines, but as I've said already, I doubt I have the technical chops to make it myself (or even organise a group of people that could).

Next up I'll brainstorm the other approach – Team Succubus Bait.

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