‘Raptor Boyfriend’ proves the absurd dating Sims are here to stay
“Dae was a little picky, too,” Rollins said of Stella’s datable third option, “because she didn’t start out as a fairy. Originally, we weren’t even going to be her. either a datable option, and then we thought, why not? As soon as we made the decision to make her a datable character, that’s when the fairy wings, colors, and outfit came together.
Curious about the writing process, I asked about their unique approach to absurd comedy for this project. “We love absurd comedy,” McNalley said, “but we also felt this project needed some authentic moments. Our kind of rule was that a lot of things were just for jokes, but the deeper things – the kind of feelings or trials and tribulations that teenagers go through – we wanted to play that out completely.
“So it’s like, you can make a joke about a raptor and a skateboard or him having a feathery beard or whatever,” Smith said. “But you can’t joke about her trauma or her personal struggles or her feelings for Stella… That way you keep the things that are absurd, but you don’t joke about the things that can be told to others.
“We played a lot of research dating sims,” Smith said. While the entire team is passionate about visual novels, Rollins has the most direct experience of playing dating sims: Arcade spirits. I liked this one and I think it’s kind of the same feel that we are looking for. A major question that Rollins asks himself when selecting a mock encounter is: “Does the work set me apart?”
“We didn’t come into this area as big fans of the genre,” McNally said. “We kind of wanted to shake it up a bit.” Smith revealed that their inspiration was drawn more from the larger world of visual novels than from the specific subcategory of dating sims. “To be honest, this game didn’t start out as a dating simulation. It was just meant to be an ordinary visual novel, and then we realized it was a love game.
Rocket Adrift is part of Checkers making games, a Toronto-based nonprofit that provides networking opportunities and resources for marginalized game developers, but the global pandemic has made it very difficult to collaborate in person and connect organically with the local community. “We didn’t really find much in the way of a community that cared, in our local sense,” McNally said. “Kind of everything we’ve built, in many ways, has been on the internet and for audiences that come from all over the place.”
“We spent a lot of time working on these characters, not only on the art, but also on the writing and their voices. I think that really shines through in the game, ”McNally said. “There is a lot of visual novels that have a twist or a joke, and they don’t go far enough, but we’ve really tried with this project to make a story to remember.
You might be surprised to learn that Raptor boyfriend isn’t the only teenage dinosaur romance game slated for release in 2021. Carefully avoiding the dating sim moniker, Farewell Volcano High will be released on PlayStation and is described on its official website as “a cinematic narrative game about the end of an era and the beginning of a love story.”
When Farewell Volcano High was announced last June at Sony’s “Future of Gaming” event, it received an overwhelmingly negative reaction from PlayStation fans who weren’t expecting this style of play to be part of the game. next-gen consoles, and developer KO_OP has resorted to disabling comments on its YouTube trailer.
The video game community continues to expand, but vestiges of the hypermasculine past are still present. If ever I am able to acquire one of the the legendary PS5 consoles, Farewell Volcano High won’t be at the top of my gaming queue, but I’m glad Sony is trying to expand its base. For now, I give Dream daddy another play-through on Steam. Sorry, I have to go check my DadBook notifications and practice my jokes before tonight’s block barbecue.
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