Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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The ‘Sex Update’ for ‘Cult of the Lamb’ Is a Good Sign for Horny Video Games

The pitch is straightforward: What if this video game had sex? Fortnite needs sex. Among Us needs sex. Every game deserves a sex update, so the meme goes. In November, Cult of the Lamb, Massive Monster’s adorable, animal-themed roguelike about building and maintaining a cult, got in on the action: “We will add sex to the game if we hit 300k followers by the end of the year,” the game’s official account tweeted, in the style of the meme’s pseudo-horny forefathers. Now they’re making good on that promise.

Video games have long served as an amorous playground. Some incorporate sex and romance directly into gameplay, as in BioWare’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect games. Others offer exploitation and titillation, like hiring sex workers in the Grand Theft Auto series. Still more offer mundane, mechanically sound methods: The Sims lets players “woohoo” (within the privacy of a rocking bed) to have babies. As games, and the ways people play them, evolve, players and developers have built entire communities around the delightful idea that games can be harmlessly horny. Taking that one step further to build off a meme, however—that’s where Massive Monster shines.

Released today, Cult of the Lamb’s “Sins of the Flesh” update adds new rituals, weapons, poop (now shiny), and, most importantly, sex to the game. But don’t get it twisted: The game’s creators didn’t do it just to give in to hornyposters on X. Massive Monster had been playing with the idea of “mating” for a while, says creative director Julian Wilton, and had been working on a sins mechanic for months before using it as a way to entice new followers.

“It makes a lot of sense mechanically and is an intuitive motivation for players. But we were interested in making the players care even more for their followers, so having baby followers added a new level of care,” Wilton says. “[Previously] we never went down the path, though, as we thought it would be a can of worms with age ratings.”

A valid concern, and one the team addressed. The game is rated T, so suitable for anyone age 13 and up. Giving it an M, or 17-and-up rating, could’ve lost the game potential players. When Massive Monster announced the update, the company promised the rating wouldn’t change, even though, as Wilton puts it, the “absolute piling on of love and attention” that came after the announcement “definitely made us stop and focus on the potential of what we could get away with if we added in a quick ‘sex update.’”

It follows, then, that other games may seek to follow suit, especially after Baldur’s Gate 3 rode a wave of horniness to become 2023’s game of the year. Does that mean Nintendo will release a Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom DLC where Link links up? No, but “Sins of the Flesh” bodes well for a future where games take a lowercase-M mature view of sex that feels more accurate in the bigger, sometimes mundane picture of people’s lives.

That’s what players are getting in the new Cult of the Lamb update. In keeping with the less puerile, more harmlessly horny idea of sex in games, “Sins of the Flesh” is very tasteful. Two followers enter a tent; it bumps around a bit; the couple leaves with an egg. “Classic birds and bees,” Wilton says. It’s nothing short of what their fan base would expect. “We’re not about to start showing the details of the cultists getting it on,” he adds, “[fans] seem to love that.”

It’s tempting to read into the update’s additions or pull some sort of social commentary about sex and its role in cults, but Wilton is straightforward about its place: “We’re totally not going that deep. We just want everyone to have fun.” Will mankind achieve a futuristic utopia now that Cult of the Lamb has sex? Doubtful, but maybe in the game’s world it can do some good.



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