We had the wonderful opportunity to interview DEVGRU-P Corporation, the folks behind several hilarious visual novels.
We talked up their latest outing – the gender-bend visual novel focused on the Nazi high command during the World War II era – Mein Waifu is the Fuhrer, which is currently live on Kickstarter.
You can find our entire interview below:
Niche Gamer: For those not familiar with your work – could you go over how your studio began?
DEVGRU-P: Sure, DEVGRU-P really started with the creation of Panzermadels, since the game was a joint effort we wanted to put all of our work under a team name. A lot of people think it’s pronounced, “DEVGRU P”, but it’s actually like, “DEVGROUP”. It’s a pun on the name DEVGRU, better known as Seal Team Six.
All of your in-house developed titles seem to satirize bad times in history or war, was this intentional? Or maybe the easiest thing to poke at, and get noticed?
I don’t know anything about being a Japanese high school student, but I do know way too much about World War II. We’re all history buffs, so it sort of came with the territory. We don’t really tackle these subjects for notoriety, but because we’re interested in these times and places.
Take Stay! Stay! DPRK, it’s a fascinating country, not a good one mind you, but an interesting one. It’s a place very few people know anything about, which was part of the humor of making the game essentially a guided tour through the country. Our games are both fun and… in the mildest sense of the word, educational?
I have to ask – with all the interest in military themes, someone has to be a military vet, or related to one, or at least a huge military otaku?
One of our former team members was involved in cryptologic linguistics for the Marine Corps or something like that, but the rest of us are just military otaku with way too much free time and a love for firearms.
You seem to be focused on satirizing controversial topics. Were you ever concerned with outrage or viewers totally missing the humor? Maybe the DPRK coming after you?
We actually got some threatening messages when we were working on Stay! Stay! DPRK claiming to be from some DPRK-affiliated group, but we mostly wrote them off as a joke. To be fair we did ship a bunch of copies of the game to North Korean embassies around the world in the hopes they’d lodge a diplomatic complaint over our parody game, which would have been the world’s best free marketing.
So I can’t really say we’re entirely blameless in kicking up trouble, but all our games are parodies. We’ve actually gotten a number of messages of support from Jewish fans of our upcoming game, Mein Waifu is the Fuhrer. I think it’s sort of an absurd thing to get mad over, there are so many more useful things to put your mind to than getting mad about a parody visual novel asking for $8,000 on Kickstarter…
In Mein Waifu is the Fuhrer, you went whole hog and gender-bent the Nazi command. Can you explain how this dynamic feels compared to your previous outings, which seem to have lightly touched upon actual historical/real life individuals?
In some ways it’s easier because we’re not trying to anthropomorphize things and give them traits (who’s to say Panzer IV would have liked anime?). But on the other hand we have a clearer historical framework to operate within, which can limit some of the jokes we can do. I think overall though, if you got a laugh out of Panzermadels, you’ll find this one twice as funny.
How did you go about researching the various Nazi commanders, and obviously Hitler himself? To make the best anime girl Hitler, of course.
I grew up watching World War II documentaries and reading books on the subject so it didn’t really take a lot of work. The most interesting time in history to me is the Kampfzeit (1919-1933), so I have a pretty solid understanding of them as people, beyond just the war.
Some key historical tidbits are already hinted at in the first screenshots – like Goring’s infamous girth. Will other things being touched upon, like Hitler’s art career?
Oh yes, I don’t think you could do a parody of Hitler and not flex on her/his, I don’t even know at this point, either way, flex on their art career. The whole game is based around parodying them as historical figures so all of these details will come up throughout the story and in the jokes.
The moment we put our article for the game up, people began asking for a gender-bent VN for Imperial Japan. Could this be considered, or is it a bit redundant?
I’d be a bit more hesitant to tackle that one, Hirohito/Emperor Showa only died a couple of years before, and his children are still alive. Unlike Hitler or Mussolini, his actual responsibility in the war is less clear so I don’t think it’s warranted to the same degree as Mussolini or Kim Jong Un.
How are you approaching the h-scenes, considering Steam’s nebulous policy on adult content?
We do all our H-content as a download off our own website. Some of our fans really just enjoy the historical comedy and don’t care about H-content, so we like to give them the option to just play the game without that stuff, and then give the option to add it in for those people who really… really… want to romance the Fuhrer. Valve has always been pretty easy to work with for us, and we don’t do anything questionable when it comes to the ages of our characters.
While you’ve shipped successful Kickstarter-funded games before, the platform has left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. Does your team project having self-funded projects in the future?
Kickstarter isn’t just a fundraising platform to us, it’s a way to work with our fans and backers and get their feedback on what sort of games they want developed. Based on the results so far, people really want more historical waifu parody games, so as long as people keep enjoying them, we’ll keep making them.
I wouldn’t enjoy developing games nearly as much if we didn’t have such a great community. Actually, many of our team members come out of that community, from writers, to developers we work with.
In general though, I think Kickstarter is a wonderful platform that’s been unfortunately misused by some people for overambitious projects they couldn’t handle, or flat out scams. Fortunately, we have a strong track record of developing successful games and we know how much work goes into them, so our backers don’t have to worry about the usual problems that leave them feeling burned.
Have you attempted other genres outside of visual novels? Or would you like to explore that someday?
We’re actually working, semi-secretly, on a Panzermadels mobile game, it will still have some visual novel elements, but it’s based around assembling a force of tank girls and leading them into battle. That’s all I can reveal for now, but it’s going to be one of our most ambitious projects ever!
Did you always foresee DEVGRU-P as a publisher as well as a developer?
DEVGRU-P just naturally progressed that way. We want to make games that make people laugh, publishing is just another way for us to bring good games to the market, far beyond the number that we could produce in-house.
How has that aspect been in terms of working with other VN developers as the publisher?
It’s been great for us so far. We’ve been fortunate to partner with some excellent developers, like DS-Sans, to bring his upcoming game “Chemically Bonded” to market. We’re pretty selective when it comes to who we work with, that was something we learned pretty quickly.
Do you have anything to say for the backers of Mein Waifu is the Fuhrer, and to potential backers?
I’m getting myself permanently banned from most of Europe for this joke, so show a little appreciation and chip a couple bucks our way before the Kickstarter ends <3
Niche Gamer regularly interviews developers on a variety of subjects—if you’re a developer and want to chat with us, please contact us!