It’s Not Wrong If They Are Mythological
cover image from FextraLife
We are days away from the Sucker For Love: First Date launch, developed by Akabaka and published by none other than us here at Dread XP. For any new faces, it’s a Dating Sim featuring gods from the darkest fissures of reality and it’s the protagonist’s duty to give them a good ol’ french or destroy the world trying. My supervisor tasked me with getting to the root of why Monsters make such alluring romantic flings for anonymous Twitter account 6 million and 2. God, will I have to bring up Twilight? I’ll try not to, or at least keep it in passing.
Ever since Bloodborne I have seen my fair share of saucy monster art and designs, the question that’s going to persist is why there is such a fixation on monsters? There are a few ideas I’ve hypothesized but it will take some work to figure out how much water they hold.
The Dangerous Mystery
The allure of monsters and spooks of all shapes and sizes can be summed up as the attraction of nature that exceeds our sense of normality. Horror in itself is a great mystery for the audience, The Ring movies pivot their stories around the endangered characters frantically searching for a way out of their personal doomsday clock. By doing so they also release the horror onto the world as a byproduct of their own safety. Bloodborne taps into this story formula as well, the player gets sucked into Yharnam which has been cloaked within a nightmare, the player fights their way deeper into the origin point of the chaos, and while they slay many beasts and otherworld creatures they eventually release the full nature of mutation onto Yharnam in the process of stopping it. Where comfort and normality can breed boredom the haunted world apocalyptic world can feel incredibly textured and rich where things like curses, chants, and hexes hold power over reality and opportunities for exploits are revealed.
Monsters of For Us
The Fromsoft games are full of women that can turn you into a pulpy red smear from Priscilla the Halfbreed, Chaos Witch Quelaag, Vicar Amelia, Dancer of the Boreal Forest, fans seem to be really fond of these womanly goliaths. That’s not to say the boys don’t get their appreciation either, I have seen the art. Their physical appearances create much of the attraction but FromSoft likes their characters to be more than just adored mascots. While most of these monster women are focused on killing the player their physical form is a testament to the misfortune they suffer while their combat ferocity is evidence of their enduring passion. Strong enough to fight to the death against us the player, an undying vessel of power that brings eternal war. Above the cheeky invaders and mindlessly hostile NPC enemies, the bosses of Fromsoft are the player’s executioners, each one is a final vow to the chapter of blood and torment the player fights through. Amongst all the characters the bosses are narrative equals to the player’s journey. As the player is a conduit for the fulminating transformation of the world through the First Flame or the Nightmare Old Ones, these antagonists are just as determined to hold their ground against the waves of entropy.
The semi-humans are just that, part monsters but inherently human in origin and retain their identity in some form.
In the starting area of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Geralt helps some people who live on the outskirts of town. In an exchange with one man, Geralt insists that Lycanthropy is incredibly easy to cure believing the man was cast out of the town for being a werewolf. The man corrects him that he was cast out for loving his lord’s son which leads to his suicide and the recession of the house by the family’s overreaction and rejection.
While this is just a small misunderstanding, many of the monsters Geralt faces in The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt are created through human qualities which mutate people into beasts like werewolves and vampires which respectfully exhibit human lust and ferocity simply elevated. The symbology of these monsters is not as supernatural as their appearance, medical Lycanthropy and children that are raised by wolves are real but are matters of psychology rather than magic transformative curses. Witcher 3 reminds players that though fantastical, people of unconventional form or being are still people. In a Beauty and the Beast tale (one that is featured in Netflix’s The Witcher Season 1), it’s quite rare to find people that are truly depraved and lacking empathy or emotion. Just as often as magical forms occur naturally or through fate cursed forms are often born out of conflicts of varying guilt. Fantasy is a shortcut for writers to divulge the wonders of nature.
The Shape of Water: Unstoppable Force
While rather an unconventional inclusion Guillermo Del Toro’s Shape of Water is a peculiar story that features a romance between a mute woman and an amphibious humanoid set in Cold War America. It’s worth mentioning how present Del Toro’s work has been in monster fantasy but he also uses it to tell an emotional story that’s above sappy werewolf or vampire teen dramas. An interpretation by Alissa Wilkinson’s review at Vox reads the movie as a story about the other and the will of life and nature to transform and bind itself through interpersonal connections.
While humanity at times feels fated to destroy everything it touches life as a force of nature is in itself inevitable as all the different forms of life and possible worlds that exist beyond our sight arise the possibility to conflict and reconcile, to be brought together again against the waves of destruction.
Sometimes it Really is Just About Nuts
Maybe this is what most readers expected when they found this article. Yes, sometimes monsters are just physically appealing and get people’s circulation going. As these creatures are abnormal in physical prowess or anatomy it only makes conclusive sense that many of them are decorated with taught musculature where the imagination can only extrapolate where the tensile force ends. That or observing how hardy monsters store large amounts of energy through voluptuous body mass and dense physical stature.
Ok, that’s about as far as I’m willing to go, Sucker For Love: First Date is launching in a few days and Sucker For Love: Prelude the original is available for free on Steam. Give it a check and stay tuned for big mommy monsters here at Dread XP. Dammit, Sam.