Interview: Operation Lovecraft on how they got their game on Steam
Adult games with AAA pedigrees in Naughty List News #58
This week I managed to snag the makers of Operation Lovecraft: Fallen Doll, a Cthulhu mythos-inspired adult game for an interview. The sex simulator sandbox already looks very impressive but its makers have much bigger plans for it. Now that the game has found its way to Steam they want to turn Operation Lovecraft into the full-fledged roguelike strategy game it was always intended to be.
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I wanted to talk to the developers of the game because I was curious about the challenges they faced to bring the game to Steam. Valve has not always been straightforward about their requirements for adult games on the platform so I wanted to see what the experiences of Operation Lovecraft were. In the process, I found out a lot more about how the game came together which I’m very happy to be able to share!
The developers were still very busy with getting the game out this week and they were only able to respond to written questions. Their answers are printed below.
Mr. Hands: First of all, congrats on your release! How has the reception been so far?
The demo version of Operation Lovecraft: Fallen Doll has been downloaded over half a million times in its first week of availability. This demo serves as a hardware benchmark & graphics demonstration, so it contains only sexual content for the three main characters.
Judging from our backend data, a significant percentage of players who downloaded the demo launched the game every day, yet with an average playtime of only about 12 minutes per session. This means we’re doing a great job at entertaining our audience if you get what I mean.
Mr. Hands: How many people do you have working on the game?
Many of our devs hold positions at large and renowned game companies. Most work with us part-time, and as a result, it can be difficult to pinpoint how many are actively involved in development. Our core team comprises 6 members, with 10-20 developers assisting part-time.
Mr. Hands: What issues did you face to bring Operation Lovecraft to Steam?
Steam has a much longer and detailed checklist of requirements for adult games when compared to your standard safe-for-work ones. The requirements are rather vague, as is the feedback provided. There was a lot of trial and error to ensure that the game’s contents met Steam’s standards.
The review process and feedback from each submission are largely subject to an individual reviewer’s own personal judgments, so quickly passing the review is mostly dependent on luck. We went through more than a dozen revisions and submissions before we were finally approved to hit shelves.
Mr. Hands: Do you think Valve fairly applies its policies to adult games like yours?
Considering that Steam is the only mainstream game distribution platform that doesn’t shy away from adult games, Valve demonstrates a surprisingly open-minded approach to adult content. As long as developers are truthful in the Mature Content Surveys and stay away from child pornography, they aren’t likely to have many issues.
Mr. Hands: Did crowdfunding on Patreon work well for your game?
Fallen Doll is currently one of the most successful crowdfunding projects on Patreon, a development we never expected when the project began a few years ago. We started the project as two programmers tired of all the crudely-made games on the market. We developed and launched Fallen Doll in our spare time.
Our initial goal was to make a real-time 3D adult game with next-gen tech to practice our skills. We opened our Patreon to see how many people happened to be interested in the idea. As our sponsorship count ballooned we realized we had a responsibility to see this project through, we would disappoint our supporters otherwise.
Using our connections within the game development industry, we recruited some friends experienced with AAA projects. At first, most developers were involved on a hobby level. As the project’s reputation grew, so did the number of sponsors and Patreon income, allowing us to pay our developers full-time and further expand the team, putting us on the track we are on today.
Mr. Hands: What are your plans with the game for the immediate future?
While we ultimately plan to upgrade the game’s engine to Unreal Engine 5, we’ve got a long way to go until then. The closed beta is currently open to Patreon supporters on Steam. In this first phase, we are focused on ironing out server configurations, applying bug fixes, and making overall improvements to the user experience.
In the second and third phases of the beta, we will be adding VR-desktop crossplay, new maps & characters, and of course a lot of adult content as well. We expect to enter Early Access around mid-2022, where we will work on the story and combat gameplay.
Thanks so much to the team behind Operation Lovecraft: Fallen Doll for agreeing to an interview with this reporter from Naughty List News.
Let me know in the comments what you think of the free demo of Fallen Doll!
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