Upon hearing the news of Zombie Cow's pee-pee and hoo-hah themed game, Privates, we clearly wanted to know more. What are these "vaginas" and "penises" they're talking about? So we got ourselves a chat with project lead Dan Marshall to find out the details on their STI-busting project. We exclusively reveal what the game's about, how it will play, and what disgusting items lie in Zombie Cow's search history.
RPS: So right now all we know is it's something in 3D, and set inside people's bottom-areas. But what kind of game is it?
Dan Marshall: The game itself is pretty standard platformer mechanics, though more Gunstar Heroes than Sonic.
RPS: Platform! Go on, tell us more.
DM: You play as Jack, the chisel-jawed captain of a group of ragtag useless no-hopers known as Foxtrot Squad. Top brass have decided they’re just too useless, so they’re sending them on missions with a veteran like you in the hopes that they’ll either shape up and prove their worth, or die horribly. Either way, they’ll stop being such a drain on the system. You’re followed about at all times by up to three Privates who, bless ‘em, will do their best to help you out wherever they can, flailing wildly and shooting bullets in vaguely the right direction, but as I said they’re not the smartest bunch of marines. That’s genuinely by design, not to save time coding complicated AI routines. You need to look after them and keep them alive as your top priority, because you won’t make it past the harder enemies without them. If they all peg it your mission’s over.
RPS: But was it really to save time coding complicated AI routines?
DM: Just getting the little bastards to follow you about is enough of a headache – oh how I wish we could spend time on the AI routines to make them smarter! Sadly all the voice over’s been done now so they HAVE to stay stupid or the whole game won’t work. (I should point out: they’re all actually very clever. They’re just not very good soldiers, there’s a difference.) So the whole game’s a sort of tweed uniform-wearing piss take of all these Space Marine/ Warfare games – they’re doing all the same sort of stuff that the Gears of War crew get up to (running around, shooting, not much else), but from a very British perspective.
RPS: But this is all taking place inside our pants, right?
DM: It’s five levels, each of which is probably 10-15 minutes or so long, so it’s a little game for a lazy Sunday afternoon. So yes, two of the levels are set in vaginas. One’s in the mouth and down the throat, one’s on someone’s bollocks and one’s inside someone’s cavernous bottom area. If anyone’s getting a bit squeamish, they’re all actually more representative of those areas, it’s not like we’ve taken the level design right out of a biology text book, for example. It’s much more abstract and cartoonish than all that – I’m pretty sure real vaginas don’t have toll booths outside and little lights running along the ceiling.
The bum level actually looks a little bit like delicious chocolate cake.
RPS: It seems dangerously close to having a serious point.
DM: So, although it’s little men with condom hats on, there’s a solid foundation to what you’re doing. All the enemies are genuine sexual infections, and all of which embody the sort of symptoms you’d get if you actually caught them off someone. We’ve got all your ‘most popular’ sexual infections covered, and you’ll need to use the right weapons to take them out – Anti-Viral for viruses, Anti-Bacterial for bacteria etc. Each of the guns is unique and totally awesome. You can order your Privates to cover certain enemy types while you take out the others, or you can deal with one threat at a time as a team. Your choice. We’ve got the likes of Chlamydia and Herpes, and one or two you probably haven’t heard of but should pay attention to. All the baddies are anthropomorphised, cartoonish takes on infections - Syphilis has got a little hat on, for example, which I don’t think is what really happens in real life.
RPS: For how long have you taken an interest in STIs?
DM: Since forever! STIs are totally the new Pokemons! It helped when Channel 4 were happy to give me some money to indulge my Sexually Transmitted Interests, admittedly. It’s not all STIs, though. There’s also a lot of sperm flying about, for example. They’re brilliant, just kicking about doing their thing, trying to find their way. They’re like a flock of swimming cows – they’re not vicious particularly, but you don’t want to get in their way.
RPS: Researching this must have been... interesting. Have your eyes seen things you wish they could never unsee? Tell us disgusting things.
DM: Absolutely. My Google search history is eclectic, horrific and embarrassing all at once. If my ISP are snooping on me, they’re presumably pretty concerned about my well-being. There was one image that stands out, of a man who had a hole right through his willy because of something he’d picked up. Right through! You could see right through to the floor! Andy, the artist, was constantly getting sent stuff he desperately didn’t want to look at. Blisters in all sorts of places. Things that ooze and seep. Things that has gone wholly inappropriate and unusual colours. Nasty stuff.
RPS: Having worked on this game, are you now more or less afraid of people's holes?
DM: I’m exactly the same about peoples’ holes as I ever was, but working on Privates has certainly opened my eyes. If the person you’re sexing has EVER slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone who’s slept with someone... who’s got something, you’re in trouble. And that’s a pretty sobering thought since I stopped copy-pasting there when really I could have gone on and on. It’s just not worth the risk for the sake of putting on a condom really, is it?
RPS: Which is best: viruses or infections?
DM: This question is a trick question, right?
Privates is due to arrive on PC over the Summer, and will be completely free!