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.