Interview with Nicolau Chaud, Mind Behind Polymorphous Perversity

Nicolau Chaud: you may know him from ‘controversial’ games like Beautiful Escape and the recently revealed Polymorphous Perversity. There’s plenty of talk surrounding his games, but how much do you know about the mind behind them? Well, Nightmare Mode got a chance to ask Nicolau some questions, and what follows is the exchange. Enjoy!

Why do you make games?

I guess you could say it’s my form of artistic expression. Like painting, or music. I guess it’s also my escape vault for the craziest parts of my mind. I’m getting older, there are a few things I can’t do in real life anymore.

How does your background inform the games you make? What are your influences?

Well… I’ve been in the field of Psychology for over 10 years now, and it’s been the major influence in my games. Not any psychological theories in particular, just a way of viewing things I take from studying psychology and dealing with people all the time. Other than that, my biggest influence is movies. I take a lot of ideas and concepts directly from movies (ctrl+c / ctrl+v). And I also like taking direct inspiration from real life in some instances (especially characterization).

Art is communication at it’s highest level. In your games, what do you often try to communicate?

I don’t know if there’s a common element I try to communicate. My games are very different from each other. I guess all they have in common is that they come from unusual ideas. I often try to communicate to players the notion that “the worst of people is in you too”. I know it’s too pretentious, and that was probably not the best way to phrase it. But that’s something Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, Polymorphous Perversity and the Portuguese-only Alvorada do Mal have in common.

Why use RPG maker?

Because it’s the one I’m most familiar with, basically. The time it would take me to learn another engine/language, I’d rather spend it making an RPG Maker game.

What are you working on now? (I ask since you said the concept/ideas have changed).

I’m only working on Polymorphous Perversity right now. I’m stuck on some conceptual issues, so I’m doing mostly graphics and mapping right now, while I think about the rest. But I definitely don’t want to overthink this game. The whole idea of this game was that it should be fun to make, not taken too seriously, simple graphic style and “first thing that pops in my mind” kind of dialog. Something inspired on Space Funeral.

What do you think about how sex is approached in games? What place does sex have in games?

I don’t play many mainstream games, but my impression is that sex is NOT approached in games. Even when it’s present. And I guess it happens because, if you approach sex in a game, it becomes a sex game. There’s a “rape” torture device in Beautiful Escape that you’ll probably use only once in the game, and it’s definitely not the meanest torture device, but it was enough for people to call it “the rape game”. I’ve seen videos of sex scenes in GTA, and I think it’s nice that they were present (since all the other forbidden stuff was there), but it was hardly sexual. By that, I mean I don’t think players could get a “sex vibe” out of GTA sex like they get a “muder vibe” out of GTA murders. It’s just too crude and stripped of meaning. The whole idea behind Polymorphous Perversity is that sex is just a drive, it’s not directly related to any actions or forms. There’s a scene I love at the movie “One Hour Photo”, in which Robin Williams is a creepy stalker and he invades the house of a family he’s been observing, and he takes a dump on the family’s toilet. I think that was a very sexual moment, and the fact that people fail to understand that is exactly what explains why “strange behavior” like that happens, and it’s also the reason why I’m making the game. Sex is instinctive, it’s universal, but at the same time it’s purely cultural and idiosyncratic.

Were you upset by the reaction to Marvel Brothel?

I was, actually. At first I was just happy it got popular. Really happy. But after some time, I noticed that 90% of the people talking about the game hadn’t even played it, they just like the words “Marvel” and “Brothel” coming together, and among the other 10%, only a small amount of people actually cared about it as a game. But that’s ok. It’s not like I don’t enjoy the hype, and at least it got people to play the game.