Wither the Villains?

Spoilers below, you have been warned

Man, I’ve been bad about keeping up this blog lately, haven’t I? I’ll try to do better in the future.

Progress updates: Picked up a nasty cold on the weekend, which, combined with three appointments I’ve had to keep this week, has put a crimp on progress. I have found time to implement the Blacksmith’s relationship interactions, though, so it’s not a dead stop.

Now, on to the main topic- why is there no Big Bad in Harem Collector?

Villains are usually pretty important to video games, after all. They provide a call to action, a reason for the adventuring to begin, as well as a challenge to surmount. Extra Credits recently did a pair of really good videos about villains, which you can watch here and here, in which the EC crew deconstructs the roles that villains play in video games.

However, although individual quest lines have specific villains who will recur, like Borgan and Evanie the Sword-Saint, there isn’t really a Mr. Big setting the plot into motion. Or… is there?

Well, part of it is that I don’t think the Hero needs a villain to motive him to adventure. The Hero has a clear goal and the desire to attain it, plus he works as an adventurer and his primary means of getting income involves solving other people’s problems for money. The only purpose that a villain would serve is mechanical, a big boss to end the adventure with. And there will be one of those, I promise.

The Hero is referred to as such with more than a little irony. After all, said Hero has little problem with abducting women, murdering sentient beings, robbing people’s houses, having sex with women with at best dubious consent, and breaking his word in order to get what he wants. Depending on the player’s choices, the Hero is also plenty capable of brainwashing girls to turn them into mindless slave drones, plainly committing rape, and allowing women who are in his care to be gangraped in order to make a surprise attack.

Most video game heroes commit moral dubious actions- looting the homes of random people, killing scores if not hundreds in pursuit of some quest or another- while still being heralded as the “good guy”. The Hero’s personality was specifically designed to be a person who could commit the various terrible things a JRPG hero does- often without the player considering the moral ramifications of their actions. However, you could easily interpret the so-called “Hero” as a villain instead, and that Harem Collector serves as his origin story.

Regardless of how you choose to view the Hero, I’m pretty comfortable with Harem Collector not having a single, main antagonist. This game is more about the Hero’s rise to power than anything. But for the sequel… let’s just say I’m making a good main villain a priority.

24 Replies to “Wither the Villains?”

  1. I was thinking you could have multiple lightweight narrative villains/factions to help give volume to the story.

    He’s bound to piss off a bunch of people that are more or less on par with each other strength. You could give them each their own purpose and maybe have them collaborate at the end instead of just having one top big cheese.

    Anyway it’s just a thought. I’m pretty satisfied so far, so whatever you decide to do in the end I’m sure to like it 🙂

    1. Like I said, there are a number of recurring villains, they just haven’t had the opportunity to recur yet. Borgan and the demon cult, for instance, has at least 8 more quests’ worth of content coming.

  2. I think the Hero in the Harem Collector is very much as alike Lance in the Lance Quest, which I enjoyed very much. Well, yes, he was largely a lustful, greedy, and selfish person, but what differ him from an Archdemon was his caring and love for those people stayed close to him, which I regarded as a most important virtue.

    1. Oh yeah, for sure. Despite how he treats them at first, I do think the Hero honestly cares for his slaves. Part of the impetus for the manor assault event is because I wanted to show that the Hero is actually a charismatic leader who cares for the people he’s taken into his home.

  3. Ah, I was wondering about this aspect of the game. You do make a good point though, the Hero of the game doesn’t really need any extra motivation for his quest. Having a main villain for him despite the fact that he’s not ultra-renowned in the world of Harem Collector would seem rather off. I mean, you don’t normally go walking down the street one day and see some random guy/girl that you’ve never met before in your life and think “That person is going to be my life-long rival.” So, skipping out on a main villain for the Hero who’s not well-known seems like a good move. I do have a few questions though…

    1.) NoMoshing, just out of curiosity… When you were in the beginning stages of creating Harem Collector, did you originally intend for Gargan to be the main antagonist of the game? I mean, there are a few times when there’s enough tension between the Hero and Gargan (especially in the very beginning of the game) to make him something of a Big Bad. Of course, now that you’ve said Harem Collector doesn’t have a main antagonist this is no longer the case, I was just wondering if that was your plan in the beginning.

    2.) As you said, the Hero doesn’t hesitate to be quite frank about his desires, and he certainly doesn’t hesitate to act on them. This often leads to the Hero taking on more of a villainous role rather than a heroic one. So, my question is… In your next game (we’ll just call it Harem Collector 2 or II since it doesn’t have an official title yet), do you think the Big Bad will in fact be a good guy instead? I mean, you almost always see in video games the Hero being portrayed as a good guy, with the main antagonist being a mega-villain… You know, the Demon King was resently released from his thousand-year and you have to seal him away again before the World is destroyed, something like that. To be completely honest, at times it just gets rather tiresome… You’re always the good guy fighting the bad guy, the good guy wins in the end and learns something new about themselves and/or gets the girl, the end. I’m thinking that maybe since the Hero honestly isn’t a saint, perhaps the Big Bad could be like a mega-paladin of the Church or something, or maybe a rival Hero from another country in the Harem Collector universe who believes in kindness, respect, good-will, and smiting evil and they consider the Hero to be an evil they must smite or something. What I’m trying to say is, the Big Bad doesn’t always have to be well, bad.

    3.) *SPOILERS* In Harem Collector, after you successfully defend your mansion from the Church, there’s a gameplay mechanic which allows you to praise the girls in your harem. What I’m wondering is, will the game remember which girls you praised the last time you went through such a thing and tell you, so that you can avoid praising the same girl two incidents in a row, or will you have to recall which girls you praised by memory? See, I recall there being certain consequences if you praise the same girl multiple times, or if you praise a girl who doesn’t deserve it. In fact, I even remember getting a message on-screen saying that if you praise a girl in your harem who doesn’t deserve it, the other girls in your harem will pick on her or something to that effect. What’s that all about? I mean, are combat-capable girls in your harem who are jealous of said girl going to “accidentally” randomly attack her during battle at times or something? I mean, you probably don’t have that mechanic completely figured out yet, but I am curious. After all, I’ve never seen anything like that in a RPG Maker game before.

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning Evanie the Sword-Saint in your post, I had forgotten what her name was and had called her Purple-Hair the Sword-Saint in one of my earlier comments. Anyway, I’m sure she must hold a grudge against the Hero since you put her in her place in combat during one of the many quests in the game. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the future, since it seems like the Hero and her might be at each others throats throughout the game. Anyway, as always thanks for all the hard work and consideration you’ve put into the game so far. Also, I can honestly say that by reading your blog posts I have learned much, much more about the depth of video games. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about how to create good stories in video games, character archetypes, the Big Bad of video games, and so on than I had before I started reading your blog. It’s great stuff, without a doubt. I look forward to reading more of your blog entries in the future.

    1. 1) Gargan’s role in the story will be made very clear in the December update, until then, you’ll have to wait, sorry.
      2) Rance already did a “good guy version of the clearly not-good protagonist” with Kentarou, and while I don’t mind at all stealing ideas from paying homage to the Rance series, I don’t know if I want to do that, specifically. The way I’d put it, if the Hero is chaotic neutral/neutral evil (depending on your interpretation), then the main villain of HC2 will be a lawful neutral reflection of him.
      3) Right now, the game doesn’t remember who you picked. I don’t know if there will be many other opportunities to single out some of your slaves from a crowd yet, so I’m not sure if it’ll ever be implemented (in which case I’ll remove the tutorial messages that refer to it, of course). The general idea is that if you “unfairly” praise a girl multiple times, there will be a scene where that girl is “taken down a peg” by her fellow harem-mates. But like I said, there might not be an opportunity to do that more than once.

      Anyway, if you want to learn more about game design, I highly recommend checking out Extra Credits on Youtube and a book called “Designing Games” by Tynan Sylvester.

  4. I do kind of see the main ‘hero’ as the villain… and I also believe he doesn’t really need a MAIN villain. Frankly, the various people that get in his way as he attempts to fulfill his dreams work plenty well as conflict centers, he doesn’t need an artificial big bad to make us hate his guts. We hate the guts of anyone getting in the Hero’s way and making us actually work for our harem.

    Our villains are the good guys and other bad guys out to get what they want… it’s kind of as a villain story should be in a way. That is just my view however. It is also my view that the Harem Collector game is incredible. I am highly appreciative of it, and look forward to any and all upcoming updates as they arrive.

  5. Well, whether there is a “villain” or not, i love this game to pieces. I have to say, you did a good job portraying a very driven Chaotic Neutral character with the Hero, and I enjoy listening to all his random comments, my favorite one so far being, “One day I am going to find out whats behind this door and either f**k it or steal it.” One question though: Do you actually intend for him to gain all 151 girls like this and also give them Love quests? If so, dude, you are one crazy mother, on top of being my new favorite game dev

    1. Hahaha, thanks. I’ll try my best to be worthy of your favour.

      But yes, 151 girls with quests and all else would be pretty crazy for a single game. Back in the days of yore I outlined my plan for the series- tl;dr: There are five planned games with ~30 girls apiece, each game taking place in a different part of the world.

  6. NO BIG BADDIE?? HOW DARE YOU??

    Actually, I’m not sure HC NEEDS a main villain. The MC hardly fits the role of a hero – it seems about half of the women he collars are against their will or coerced. Plus, there are minor villains/conflicts already. Unless you plan on changing things drastically, a *main bad guy* almost seems to go against the train of thought for HC! The hero’s out to have a good time and not much else. Rather hard to have a main villain when the premise is *have lots of sex and collect as many women as possible to have sex*!

    One question on a few things that have changed. There used to be a guy that was plastered next to the church in Eastfort, he’s not there now. Not a huge issue but he had a dark seed with him, has the dark seed gone elsewhere? Also, do you intend to have some reason to visit the dwarves (like collaring a hot dwarf babe!) and visiting the *freezing castle*?

    Must admit I’m surprised on the amount of spoofing you have done! I’ve caught a few final fantasy bits (Hiden Goeske is a FF 2 password, and 6:10:50 is a FF 6 puzzle solution) pokemon, Breath of Fire 2, Michael Jackson… I’m just waiting for an Earthbound reference (since they spoofed so many things themselves)!

    1. Yes, you will get to visit the dwarven nation in a sequel- a far-flung sequel, but I intend to make them all happen.
      The frozen castle was part of a quest I didn’t finish in time for the October update. It’s all finished now, though, and will be in the December update.
      Hiden Goseke isn’t from FF2, unless Square put it in a remake… it’s actually from one of the greatest PC RPG series of all time. Know your roots!
      I’m pretty sure I’ve spoofed Earthbound somewhere. Can’t say for sure, though.

      1. It is in a remake (FF 1 and 2, for the PSX) but I feel shamed not remembering it from where it originated, more so because I enjoy the series! Although, I think that was edited out in the remake, I don’t recall seeing it on the VGA-remake. However, it makes far more sense that you’ve done it this way, since the orc is somewhat similar!

        One question: will we be able to collar an elf babe in the next update?

        1. I hope to be finally introducing the elf village, elf party member, etc, next update, but it depends on where the art is at by mid-November. If there is another delay on art, I’m going to do Doll’s love quest instead.

  7. Well here goes: Do you have any more space for a volunteer scene/story writer in the game? I’ve been told I write well, but I will let you be the judge. So if you at all interested, you have my E-mail, send me a writing assignment, I will write it and mail it back to you. I have a lot of free time on my hands lately and helping a great game is time well spent in my book.

    1. I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think I need an additional writer at this time. Kakurine is pretty much everything I could possibly ask for in a volunteer writer. Thanks anyway!

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