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StudioFOW is Making a Game, and it Might Change the Industry

  • Space exploration, dogfights, and tactical RPG combat.
  • Unprecedented quality for its genre.
  • Made in Unreal 4.

In November of 2018, Steam approved the first 100% uncensored adult game on its platform. Since then, dozens of adult titles have been approved, while others have been rejected. So the fact that StudioFOW has decided to add one more such title to Steam’s ranks would normally be of little note, except for two unique points… their project has so far managed to raise nearly $500,000 in crowdfunding, and its gameplay actually looks legit.

Gameplay is to porn games as plot is to porn movies, or at least it was until Subverse. I can sense your doubt, but allow me to explain. The three core components of Subverse’s gameplay are Mass Effect style galaxy exploration, space dogfight shoot-em-ups, and top-down tactical RPG combat. Take a look at the examples below and ask yourself this–if you came across these gifs without having heard anything about Subverse at all, would you assume it was a porn game?

Exploration takes place throughout the Prodigium Galaxy, spanning five sectors full of hundreds of planets, space stations, and interactive objects. You pilot the Mary Celeste, a hijacked military stealth fighter, and traverse through Prodigium’s Warp Gates in search of loot and resources to upgrade your combat capabilities.

As a stealth fighter, the Mary Celeste can hold her own in hostile ship-to-ship engagements. This piloting section of the game invokes an old school spacer shoot-em-up vibe. Notice the defense drones deployed by the enemy craft as the Mary Celeste strafes away from its projectiles, and check out the multiple weapon types on display–rapid fire lasers and a charged blast. One of the red projectiles also clearly impacts an asteroid, possibly indicating that pilots will have to dodge/destroy space debris as well as enemy ships.

On foot, combat takes the form of a turn-based RPG on a tactical grid. Your soldiers are genetically engineered hybrid monsters known as Manticores. You can grow them in the laboratory of the Mary Celeste from any rare DNA samples you manage to collect in your adventures. These soldiers will fight alongside your recruitable “waifus,” each with their own skill sets and ultimate abilities.

See what I mean? The available footage for this game looks more competent and refined than a lot of non-porn indie titles, and it’s not even in early access yet. Subverse is built with the Unreal engine and owes its construction to a team of core StudioFOW animators, talented artists such as Dzung Phung Dinh, and Unreal 4 programmers.

Then, of course, there’s the sex. It wouldn’t be an adult title without it. But if you want to learn more about that, you’ll have to check out the Kickstarter. Originally launched with a goal of $130,665, Subverse has managed to raise almost four times that amount. Even in the time that it’s taken to write this article, donations have been pouring in by the hundreds. There are 22 days left on its campaign, at which point who knows how much will have been raised. Having hit every single one of their stretch goals and then some, the developers now think future goals “should be BIG things at BIG intervals :). 10th Waifu at 600-750k! Female Protag option at 750k-1,000,000!”

If the funding so far is any indication of the future success of the game, it’s undoubtedly going to be making some ripples in the industry. Mainstream videogame journalism does not take kindly to material that falls outside its delicate sensibilities. With entire careers having been built on getting angry at skimpy outfits, a harem of space waifus will have keyboards across the globe clattering in thunderous fury. So be prepared to be told in no uncertain terms how disgusting, problematic, and outright dangerous Subverse is, and how deplorable its consumers are.

Be prepared for that outrage to gloss over how tightly designed this game is, and to obscure the most important question raised by its existence: If a bunch of perverts can put something together of this quality under the puritanical scrutiny of game’s media, what excuse do “normal” studios have to produce anything of lesser quality? Indeed, the very nature of this game challenges public assumptions about what it means to be an adult game. It could very well spur a new trend among developers, and possibly spawn a new genre.

Early access launches on Steam in summer of this year. You can keep up with development through the aforementioned Kickstarter, Discord, and Twitter.

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