Zoe Quinn, the developer behind Depression Quest, has been working on a secret game for quite some time. On her Twitter account, Quinn has posted photos of men wearing unicorn heads and other odd costumes specifically for the game, but never alluded to what the project might actually end up looking like.
Today, Quinn revealed that her long-awaited game was an FMV (full motion video) dating simulator inspired by the notorious erotica novels penned by the elusive author, Chuck Tingle. The characters that appear in the game, Quinn said in a VICE documentary, are based on the strange, satirical depictions Tingle uses of the men and women that routinely appear on the cover of erotica novels.
To understand Quinn’s partnership with Tingle, it’s essential that the literary figure who seemingly emerged out of thin air is properly understood. Tingle, who sells e-books exclusively on Amazon, refers to himself as a doctor of holistic massage with a PhD from DeVry University. He’s also a Tae Kwon Do grandmaster, according to his Twitter account, and most recently, a recipient of a Hugo Award. No one knows who Chuck Tingle really is, but when Quinn reached out to the author of books like Space Raptor: Butt Invasion and Buttageddon to see if he wanted to collaborate on the game, he readily agreed.
Quinn told VICE that Tingle would routinely send suggestions for how certain characters should look and how they should behave that she and her producers worked into the game. Quinn had already decided that she wanted to make an FMV game, citing the 1992 game Night Trap as a source of inspiration for the game. Taking the goofy aspects that FMV games carry with them and studying Tingle’s characters that appear on the cover of his novels, Quinn set out with her team to make the dating simulator that players will be able to get their hands on in the future.
In footage of the game that you can see in the documentary, actors sporting animal head masks and wearing an assortment of undergarments are almost holographic in appearance; they sit behind the desk of what appears to be an office building while speech bubbles appear beside them. There’s not too much more of the game that can be seen in the video, and what can be seen is from the early stages of development, but on her blog, Quinn said that more information would be rolling out soon.
Although Quinn didn’t say in the video when the game would be released, she tweeted that it would definitely be "less than two years" before it would be available to play.