Okay, time to catch up on giving you behind-the-scenes information and what inspired the various characters and elements in Harem Collector. Check out Part I over here.
Oh, and beware of spoilers!
Chimei: I knew from the get-go that I wanted some kind of druid or shaman or other nature-magic-user in the game, and knew I wanted a semi-optional character available to purchase in the slave market. Putting the two together was easy enough but the character lacked any personality or gimmick. I forget when I decided to have everything she says in Japanese, but I like the joke and it gave me something to focus on and build her personality around.
By the way, I am not even remotely fluent in Japanese. Her dialogue is mostly courtesy of TV Tropes’ Stock Japanese Phrases and Google.
Felix: He began life as a band-aid. Free magic healing because too many people were complaining about the game’s difficulty. However, once I made him the idea of having a Sancho Panza-style foil for the main character, being a straight man to the hero’s frequent bizarre behaviour, just seemed to work. There was a niche that needed filling in the game and Felix just happened to fall into place there. I think that’s why he’s become such an unexpectedly popular character.
Florine: Florine is based largely off of Ran from Edelweiss. Plus, I though the idea of a gold-digging slave who willingly accepts the collar in exchange for a life of relative luxury was a funny concept, and went with it. I would like to say more, but I don’t want to spoil things that aren’t actually in the game yet, but let’s just say that Flroine plays a bigger role in the game than I think most people expect. Her name is a slightly more feminine sounding version of florin, the gold coinage used by the city of Florence, Italy in the medieval era.
Gargan and Raina: When I created the Adventurer’s Guild, I wanted it to feel important to the hero and his story and not just a place where you grabbed the occasional quest. Raina and her family, I think, does that. Raina is a fairly basic girl next door type, lorded over by a father who disapproves of the hero. Raina dates a bunch of other guys, but in her heart of hearts she would prefer to be with the hero. While Xaven (Raina’s dad) simply disapproved of the hero’s selfishness and womanizing, Gargan’s rivalry with the hero is a little more personal. Initially it seemed kinda empty and lacked emotional resonance, but then I made the extended introduction and had Gargan steal all the hero’s stuff. That seemed to do the trick.
By the way, in this month’s update Gargan joins the party as a temporary member for one quest, and his fighting style was inspired by the freeflow combat in the Batman: Arkham whatever series.
Ino: Like Chimei and Raina, Ino was initially created because I had a function in the game that need filling- that of an enchantress to apply magic upgrades to weapons. I had it in my head for awhile to have the hero “adopt” a girl in the hopes of making her fall in love with him by the time she’s 18, and I also wanted to show some of Felix’s classmates who did not have his talent for magic or adventurous spirit. From this tangle of separate ideas, Ino was born.
Her recruitment quest was initially going to be a homage to Lilka’s introduction in Wild Arms 2, where Ino would be sent to a magical maze as part of her exam, and cheat by teleporting the hero in with her. They would then explore the dungeon together, with the hero being the only competent character and Ino being level 1, having only Magic Missile and starting with half her Mana gone. Because I was lazy, though, I made the current version of her recruitment quest- which I think ultimately works better and offers a different sort of experience. I might bring back the Ino dungeon crawl dealie for her Love quest, though.
Penelope: When you’re making games with large casts, you have to sort of expect that you’re not going to knock it out the park every time. In terms of Sengoku Rance, for every Kenshin, Isoroku or <3Senhime<3, you’re going to have a character like Yuzuhara Yuzumi or Okita Nozomi, who are perfectly serviceable characters but aren’t exactly exciting or interesting. Penelope was made with that in mind, with my goal being a likeable-but-ordinary character without making her completely bland.
Serade: Serade has had a fairly interesting development from my perspective. She was always intended to be a MILF-type older character, but initially I intended to have the hero basically kidnap her from her family and enslave her by force. Most people seemed to not like that, so I altered her character so she’s been abandoned by her ex-husband and is having to raise two kids by herself in a mercilessly capitalist society, and is thus open to the idea of being the hero’s fuck toy, but also being financially taken care of for the rest of her life.
One of her boys is into SpinBattlers, an in-universe parody of Beyblade. Originally, that kid was going to introduce the hero to a minigame that would let you challenge people the world over to games of SpinBattlers for cash and items. I couldn’t get the minigame to work, however, and it probably wouldn’t have been very fun anyway.
Dark Seeds: As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m a fan of Lost Odyssey, and I’m also a fan of Illusion of Gaia. I wanted a collection-type sidequest in Harem Collector, similar to the Seeds from the former game and the Red Jewels from the latter, and mashed the two ideas together to come up with the whole Dark Seed thing. The Dark Seed buyer in the Slums is my take on Gem the Jeweler. By the way, the Dark Seeds in Harem Collector have nothing to do with the Dark Seed PC game from back in the day… or do they?
No Caves Allowed: Have you ever noticed how many RPG Maker hentai games open up with a cave dungeon? Harem, Invasion D, Overwhored… don’t get me wrong, I like all those games, but I don’t see what makes caves so interesting you want to open up with one. So I made it sort of a personal challenge to delay putting caves in Harem Collector as long as possible. I lost that battle back in August, but that’s why the the first quest takes place in the back rooms of a bar.
I also like pushing myself to make every dungeon memorable. I don’t think I’ve repeated myself (correct me if I’m wrong) and I’m going to continue trying to make dungeons unique experiences throughout Harem Collector.
Orcs: The biology of the Orcish race is another mash-up of concepts from different video games, in this case the fungal nature of orks from Warhammer 40k and the Asari race from Mass Effect. I’m a pretty big fan of Mass Effect, actually, as evidenced by one of the bonus satisfaction items. When the hero mocks the orc raiders for their “we were a beautiful people” thing, that’s actually a reference to one of the goofier lines that Batarian multiplayer characters spout in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.
The Giant’s Path: Speaking of dungeons, The Giant’s Path was inspired by Mt. Kolts from Final Fantasy 3/J6. That was the earliest dungeon in an RPG I can remember that really made an impression on me, especially since previous to that the only RPGs I had ever played were Final Fantasy 1, Final Fantasy 2/J4, and Dragon Warrior, where 90% of the dungeons between those three games are caves. Mt. Kolts had absolutely breathtaking art, and really struck home to me just what a “dungeon” in a game could be.
Well, that’s all for now folks. I have a lot of work to do to get ready for next week’s release, so I’d better get back to it.