Neon White is marketed as a game made ‘for fans, by fans’. Spend any amount of time with this smooth-as-silk anime-inspired fast-running FPS game, and you’ll understand what developer Angel Matrix means. For those who have yet to dig deeper, lead developer Ben Esposito tells The Loadout that his definition of a “freak” is someone who appreciates “the rough edges of video games: the weird, unloved, unhinged content that is part of the game.” video game”. history.”
Of course, when that answer is given, it’s only natural that we ask Esposito about the fruitier elements of Neon White. After all, its visual novel-style story is filled with plenty of one-liners that have already booked many gamers a long break in horny jail.
The ‘hornification’ of games is not new, of course; We certainly can’t complain about the influx of beauties across the gender spectrum that we’ve seen in recent years. Neon White’s own players aren’t alone in the kink klink, and are joined by those who have fallen victim to the blatantly obscene shenanigans of recent titles like Hades and Resident Evil Village, though the latter, as Esposito recalls, was a happy 9 ‘ 6” tall crash where I wish Capcom had leaned more.
“I’m not trying to criticize the game in general,” Esposito emphasizes, “it’s [Capcom] I had a concept with Lady Dimitrescu that was really exciting for a lot of people: As a character, she’s really great conceptually. She’s public knowledge that she wasn’t necessarily expecting that particular look. [tall vampire lady that can step on you] It would be the most exciting thing for everyone – they’re trying to cast what I think are actually quite interesting characters.
— Geo! (@MrGeop) June 22, 2022
“But when you play with that level of emotion, you think, ‘Oh, there wasn’t enough, they didn’t push hard enough.’ It’s tasteful, but I would have loved to see a version that engaged more with those types of characters.“
For Neon White’s own characters, who are all about their respective archetypes, Esposito credits co-director and wife Geneva Hodgson for their designs. “In the beginning we were talking about the characters,” says Esposito, “and something we really wanted to do, and some people use this as a criticism of Neon White, was to explore and enjoy the archetypes themselves.
“We found that, especially in indie games, there’s this desire to see common archetypes subverted. And we see them over and over again, to the point where we don’t really think subverting them is that interesting anymore, because it’s really their own formula.”
After searching for references, drawing on characters from various media, Esposito says that he and Hodgson found it difficult to pin down perfect examples of, say, the ‘cute but psycho’ character that became Violet. So, it was decided that the team would strive to “totally nail down and create the classic version of that particular archetype that people know about, but might not actually have a hero character.”
The result is a vibrant, and mostly raunchy, cast of celestial wanderers that players have instantly taken a liking to, to the point that many have even created their own neon characters.
I think the general tone [across the team] it is that it is very comforting to see people understand the very particular things that we were looking for”, says Esposito. “So when someone creates their own neon character, Geneva designed this universe so that they have a very clear modular path to creating their own that feels like part of this universe.”
For more on our chat with Ben Esposito, keep your eyes peeled on the site for the next few days. Neon White is out now for PC and Nintendo Switch.