Even though Japan is considered the dominant producer of erotic art worldwide, slowly but steadily we see more and more Westerners trying to earn a share of the market. One of the newest teams of people devoted to this effort is Projekt Wolfenstahl, a dynamic duo that enjoys creating lewd images and storylines. During this interview we’ve had the opportunity to talk about the past, new projects, hentai and much more.
Neko-chi (N): Introduce yourselves to us.
Wolfensahl (Wo): Hello, I’m Wolfenstahl, I guess I’m known to some people for being a hentai game developer on the games from Projekt Wolfenstahl as well as the story writer of the Deathblight webcomic. But aside from programming and developing characters and stories, I’m also taking care of our team-members as well as maintaining contact with partners, clients and fanbase. Basically I’m helping out in many ways.
I’m a bit shy when it comes to giving personal information on the internet, but… well, I do love dogs, cats and bears (basically all kinds of animals, especially carnivores). I also love anime like Fairy Tail, Jormungand, Akatsuki no Yona, Magi, etc. When it comes down to food, I guess Asian food is the way to go! This is probably because I’m half-Asian and I have been brought up this way, hahaha. I particularly love sushi and adobo!
Personality wise, a lot of people say that I talk a lot. And I guess they say that I’m a warm and nice person? Oh yes, and that I love to socialize with others! There’s quite a lot of stuff I “love”, right? Hahaha… Well, I think there isn’t much I dislike. Thinking about it, I dislike dishonest people. And that’s it I guess? I’m very tolerant towards others, so there’s nothing I really dislike.
Crescentia (C): Ahoy~ I’m Crescentia and I’m the artist of Projekt Wolfenstahl. I love anime and manga a lot (what a surprise xD) and I try to live from my passion which is drawing. So here I am saying hi! ^v^
(N): On your blog’s first post, back in 2012, you wrote that Projekt Wolfenstahl was something you were already working on for years. What inspired you to come up with and invest on this idea?
(Wo): Phew… that’s a long time ago! It started out as some sort of hobby, we never intended to make something big out of it. In fact, back then I had a regular job and money, and I basically paid for everything. I dreamed of creating games and stories with my characters, possibly for “free” (kinda, well, since I would have been the one to pay for the developement).
But, at one point, everything changed and we needed to rely on the things we created. Honestly I don’t remember when that happened… but it happened somewhere along the way. I think it was when I got kicked out of home? Somewhere around that time. After that I decided it would be best to try to turn our “hobby” into our actual everyday work. Even if this sounds silly to some people, we decided to invest our time into it, so we can build up our future.
(N): What were the biggest challenges you faced at the beginning?
(Wo): The biggest challenge at first was to gain enough “experience” to do what we wanted to do. Basically I had to get better at programming, but we also needed to earn money for our everyday needs. So I had to help out Cres with artworks as much as possible. After we overcame the first obstacles, we needed to expand our fanbase and constantly deliver new stuff. That’s where the webcomic comes in, I believe it helped us a lot in gaining more fans as well as building up some basic monthly income. We still need to work on commissions on a regular basis, especially with all the troubles and expenses 2015 brought us…
(C): For me it was a whole new thing. I did work digitally before, but never to the extend that was necessary for Paperheads, so I wasn’t very efficient at drawing. Everything took extremely long to complete and I had to fight against the frustration that I didn’t have time to draw on paper -which I was more used to back then. Also I faced difficulties with animating the sprites, because I hadn’t done anything like that before. It was very exhausting. Plus the fact that I wasn’t used to drawing for 6-8 hours on a daily basis. Until then I usually drew for about 1-2 hours per day.
(N): Tell us a few words about your creative process; how do you come up with game concepts, what steps follow after the basic structure has been found, the tools/software you use, etc.
(Wo): It depends. Most of the time I’m thinking about what other games lack. Sometimes I’m thinking about what might be exciting but doesn’t exist in a specific game genre yet. Of course it’s pretty much impossible to invent something entirely new. But I usually try to come up with something that is unique in one way or another. Often we have more than one game idea, so we discuss the different possibilities and decide for one of them. Afterwards, we discuss it in detail with our core team members, the planning process usually takes several weeks. Depending on game size, this can take up to 8 weeks with roughly 8 hours of work per day.
That’s a lot of time, but I prefer my projects structured and well planned out. During this time all the details and mechanics, as well as graphics, are all being decided on. Also this helps a lot with cost estimations and identifying potential production problems ahead of time. In the past we didn’t plan well enough, so we often ran into problems later on. But since we switched to planning out things well, we never ran into this problem again. Once this is done, we’re starting the initial project. For most of our projects we’re using Game Maker Studio, but we’ve also been looking at RPG Maker VX Ace and other software.
(N): Why did you decide to work on hentai instead of other, more mainstream and/or easily promoted genres?
(Wo): We started out with hentai games since it’s common that people with less game developement knowledge create hentai games. I don’t mean this in an insulting way! It’s just, if you look at the overall quality, gameplay-wise and often art-wise, it’s more tolerable to start out at an amateur level in this genre. Putting that aside, we’ve been fans of hentai games and we wanted to create such games ourselves. By now we’re not at that level anymore but… trying to get noticed with mainstream games while earning experience is way more difficult. Despite this, we want to create games for a wider audience eventually.
(C): If you are a small fish, it’s easier to get attention in a small pond with other small fishes instead of an ocean full of whales.
(N): It’s time to talk about your games.
Last Demon Hunter (completed)
(Wo): I think this one was a nice experiment. Sometimes I’m wondering how well it might be received if we flesh out the graphics and artworks more. But on the other hand I think it’s better to move on to the rest of our planned projects. On this project I learned a couple new things, programming wise. Some of the gained knowledge can be used in creating our future games, so this is a good thing! Overall I’m satisfied by how this one turned out to be.
(C): A small and nice experiment. Graphic wise we were able to experiment a bit more with the variations in the CGs since they are all sketches. And I’m curious if coloured artworks would get more people interested in this particular game, but on the other hand the way the CGs from LDH are done, it would be a hellish amount of work to flesh them out, because of the many variations in the scenes, so I prefer them to stay sketches. It’d be better to work on other projects that are more wanted from our supporters.
(Wo): Sometimes I really want to finish this project but the truth is this is most likely not going to happen. Cres’s art style has simply progressed too far, the contrast in skill level would be too great, and instead of remaking all the CGs we could do an all new game. I’d also need to redo all the programming, as well as all the levels and stuff. Basically starting from square one again. Furthermore, the game is already being viewed as a game that has no pixel sprite hentai, which was a huge let-down for a lot of people. From my own experience I know that once you view a game as a huge let-down, you won’t come back to check it again, since in the back of your mind it’s labeled as something unenjoyable. All these led us to the decision that we can’t continue on with Geisterhand, sadly.
(C): Compared to Paperheads a big step forward CG wise. Sprite wise I had to learn how to do pixel animations of which I think…..I’m not good in^^” I mean they aren’t that bad, for a newbie they are probably good, but they are far away from how I would like them to look. But they saved us working time and that way we made sure that those issues Paperheads had wouldn’t occur again. I think I still have to improve a lot on pixel animations.
(Wo): Phew… well honestly, I’m pretty much dissatisfied with this game. It was our first project and we did lots and lots of mistakes, as we had no experience and we didn’t plan ahead before we started working. The software we used at the time was a bit flawed, or rather, we didn’t realize its limits. The consequences were, in my opinion, devastating. We had to remove content from the already finished game, since it wouldn’t start up on some people’s computers, because of the way the software handled data. In the end we realized that we’ve been using too many and too large graphics and CGs. With today’s experience I can say for sure that removing CGs from the game was the only possible way to fix this issue. Back then we nearly gave up, but Kyrieru (another hentai game developer) helped us out and I’d say he played a major role in making the end result playable. Without his help, only a small number of people would have been able to play the game. I can’t say this enough: Thank you very much, Kyrieru! To sum things up, these frustrations makes me dislike Paperheads… but to be honest, at least it was a valuable experience. We learned a lot out of it and never repeated those mistakes from the past again. We also won’t be using the same software in the future.
(C): That’s one big brick wall that we did overcome somehow xD
Today I can’t even look at most of the CGs I did without screaming, because the quality is so much different from what I can do today. I’m absolutely not happy with it anymore, and I sometimes wish I could just wipe this game away, but on the other hand it was my first experience in creating graphics for games and I learned a lot from it. Especially when it comes to drawing digitally. Because of Paperheads we discovered some techniques to make the drawing process more efficient. So even if I don’t like the game anymore, it was a very important lesson. In the end I’m glad that we took this pretty ugly first step into game development. It was like a baptism of fire for me.
Deathblight Apocalypse (work on progress)
(Wo): I’m very excited about this game, and I think this will become one of the major projects we’ll be working on for the next couple years, most likely. Even though it’s already playable, there’s just 1 enemy and no hentai content in the game yet. We want to expand on this in the next couple months, most likely we’ll be giving early demo versions to our patrons on Patreon for feedback and content suggestions. But we’ll hold back a public release until there is enough content. I think a good first impression is very important, so I don’t want to release anything to the general public too early.
(C): I have to admit that I’m not sure what I can say here. I did the first graphics a while after I got my carpal tunnel problem and I haven’t worked on it for a long time now. So I wonder if I should redo the existing graphics or not. Well… I at least should rework the buildings for the background. They look flat °3° Besides that, I can’t say much about that game.
(N): On a recent online poll of popularity Paperheads 2 lost to Deathblight Apocalypse. Even so, is a sequel to Paperheads still in your future plans?
(Wo): It certainly is! At this point we can’t say when or how, but we certainly want to create a game similar to Paperheads. Most likely it will follow a similar theme/setting, but it might feature new or even entirely different heroines. Yes, heroines, as there will most likely be more than one playable character. Other than that, Paperheads 2 will of course be improved on the gameplay as well as the graphical level. Some things that made no sense or were simply no fun will be thrown out, and new things might find their way into the game. And of course, this time around we will be planning out things before starting work on the game! So the end result will be a lot better than the first one.
(N): Let’s focus a bit on another project you’re currently publishing, a webcomic called Deathblight. What is its premise and what makes it different to your games?
(Wo): Well, the webcomic basically tells the background story to some of our more important characters. You could say that the Deathblight-universe is consisting of all the characters and games we created so far. It’s like one big world in which all the characters inhabit. Well, the most confusing part would be the different timelines and dimensions but… let’s not talk about that now. In the webcomic we decided to focus on Ferania and her friends, who are a group of demon-hunters, living in a medieval fantasy world. Since it’s difficult to tell stories in games, we decided to have a webcomic do that instead. As it moves on, it will basically cover all the characters’ personalities, backgrounds etc. All the things that can’t be conveyed through a game without cluttering it with wall of texts. At first it started out to be some sort of extra content for our loyal supporters and fans. But it somehow grew larger than we first expected it to be, and now it’s probably the most important of our products.
(C): We started the webcomic because some of our fans asked for it. First it was just something like a small goodie, but it turned out to be a very important project. The difference to our games is that we are able to show relationships, personality and backgrounds of our characters way better than in our games.