Wicked Paradise will be a playable Californication, says creator Jeroen Van Der Bosch

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Strange as it may seem, sex has not conquered video games yet. While the more expensive often choose to not even broach the subject, the size of the underground market of sex games can’t be barely compared to the porn movie industry.  The main difficulty is the inability to break the barrier between the screen and the player, and create something that manages to involve all senses. And it does not look ridiculous. Needless to say, with Oculus Rift sex games may no longer be just an 80s cyberpunk movies invention. This is the mission of Jeroen Van Der Bosch, CEO of Wicked Paradise, working on a game by the same name only for Oculus Rift. But do not think that his goal lies in hormon-ridden teenagers. Wicked Paradise will be a much more sophisticated experience. Because if sex is a game, where is the fun of winning without challenge?

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Which point of the development has been reached by Wicked Paradise as of now?

We are in pre-production phase now, we are taking our time with it since it’s a crucial stage for developing something that hasn’t been done before. There are many “unknowns” we are trying to solve. It’s dificult, but exciting at the same time.

From a game design point of view, what makes a game truly “arousing”? I remember for example many sensual scenes in games like Heavy Rain, but they were really goofy and not sexy at all, not to mention sex video games from the Nineties.

It’s all about immersion and storyline. If you can create an emotional connection between the player and the characters in Wicked Paradise, make the player really care about the virtual characters they are about to have a passionate adventure with, that makes it all feel much more real and convincing.

What about the women and the men you will interact with inside the game? How do you take a 3D character render and make it feel sexually desirable?

We are actually using a technique called Body Doubles, where we use high tech equipment used in Hollywood movies such as Avatar to create an exact digital replica of a real life actor. Then we work our magic and polish the models to correct tiny mistakes from the scanner and make adjustments to make them fit better to the storyline. After that, it’s all about the animation, making sure their facial expressions and body language are convincing enough to the players brain.

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And from a technological point of view, which are the main hindrances that have to be overcome? I suspect that feeling sick doesn’t make a very great of a sexual experience.

We aren’t too worried about motion sickness, since that seem to happen mostly with fast moving omni directional games such as shootergames etc… Our Wicked Paradise titles are much more slow paced and we haven’t had much problems with motion sickness so far.  Thanks God, because being sick and aroused at the same time is not something we are aiming for! 🙂

I suppose that, as in real life, mood is everything. What kind of 3D setting we will get and how will you work to make it truly convincing and able to convey sexiness towards the player?

It’s a combination of many things, you need to convincingly move across uncanny valley, not only for your model quality but especially for all the animations. But also sound, correct skinshaders, lighting etc… It’s a tricky balance but working with veterans from the gaming industry is making this within our reach.

Can you describe a typical game situation of Wicked Paradise? It will be like in porn movies, that all of a sudden you get people having sex with each other or players will get a more sophisticated experience?

There is nothing passionate about starting a game and suddenly having sex with total strangers in random places. So, it definitely will not be like porn movies. It will be  more like a mature TV series with a rich storyline and characters like Game of Thrones and with a lot of passion and excitement like Californication, but without censorship.

We will get challenges, just like some quirky japanese games, and even a bit of story, or we will also be able to get down right into the action?

The Wicked Paradise experiences will be very heavy storyline driven, with adventure game like elements. You don’t just dive into the action, you have to earn it. Just like in real life 😉

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I suppose the word “multiplayer” gets a whole new meaning in the context of a sex game. Will the game let people literally play with each other over the Internet?

That’s not our goal for the first version of Wicked Paradise, but multiplayer is something we will eventually work towards. I think we need to let VR mature a couple of years before we have hardware that is compelling enough to take it to the multiplayer level (haptics etc…)

Do you also see a “darker side” in the game you’re creating? We’ve seen in a lot of dystopian movies and books people getting estranged from reality and living in virtual worlds there they could get everything they want, sex included. Do you fear that people will take VR sex too much seriously?

This is the beautiful thing about sex: no matter how amazing we make our Wicked Paradise experiences, they will never be as good as real sex! 🙂 But, in real life, wild passionate sex for many people is not easy to come by. While the wild world of Wicked Paradise is just a button click away… So I see it more as a great way to entertain yourself and experience something that makes you happy.

One last question: can you tell as a feature of your game that has never been announced until now? Even a little hint of what we will get it’s enough.

It’s too early to make announcements like that, we still have a long way ahead of us. But we are making progress every day and we are very stoked with the level of immersion we are already able to achieve! People will be amazed when they try it out, I can promise you that! 🙂