An interview with Yandere Dev

So, just recently I made an interview request with Yandere Dev, the developer of Yandere Simulator. The reason for that was because it interested me how development was coming along and what Yandere Dev’s thoughts on accessibility and representation are. I hope you enjoy this interview!

Yandere Dev’s answers are represented in bold/italic text while my questions are in normal formating. Hope it’s clear.

Hello! Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do, what games you like, your hobbies, etc.?

My name is YandereDev, and I enjoy anime and video games. My favorite games are open-world sandbox games with huge worlds to explore and hundreds of activities to do.

Do you think that Yandere Simulator is a “good game”? (As context, I’ve heard from developers that they are never satisfied with their work. Do you as a developer feel the same. Do you think that your game needs a lot more work to be “good” or do you have other thoughts on this?)

The game isn’t done yet, so I feel that it’s too early to judge it. With that said, I think that I’m disqualified from being allowed to judge the game since I’m too close to it to be able to judge it impartially. I’ll have to let other people tell me whether or not it’s a good game.

I’m always finding new ways to improve the game, but I’m not sure if that’s the same thing as “never being satisfied” with the game. I don’t think I’ll be able to judge how satisfied or dissatisfied I am until after the game is completed.

At this point in time, the primary work that remains to be done is not gameplay-related but simply adding a few more characters so that the story mode can be complete.

What inspired you to create Yandere Simulator?

Before I started developing Yandere Simulator, I had a ton of other game ideas and developed a bunch of simple game prototypes. However, I lacked the models and animations necessary to actually turn those prototypes into finished games, so none of them left the prototype stage. I decided that my next game should be designed around models and animations that I had access to, so I could finally go further than prototyping.

I searched for models in an online store and spotted an “anime schoolgirl” character model. This made me try to imagine a game with an anime schoolgirl for a protagonist. I asked a friend of mine for suggestions, and he proposed a “delinquent simulator”. I tried to imagine the most extreme version of that idea, which made me envision a game about serial killing, instead of mere delinquency. I asked myself what kind of schoolgirl would kill people, and instantly thought of the “yandere” archetype – a character that kills because of jealousy.

I asked a high-traffic message board if they would be interested in a “yandere simulator”, and received a very positive response. All of my previous game ideas had not generated very much interest or excitement, so when I saw people getting hyped about this “yandere simulator” idea, I knew that it had potential to be a successful game. Just one thread about the game was enough to convince me to begin developing it immediately.

How is development coming along? I’ve seen that it’s been in development for seven years. How long do you expect the development to take? 

At the beginning of the game’s development, I was only concerned with one thing – going down the checklist of features that the game required. But, over the course of the game’s development, I observed that people were finding fun and interesting ways to enjoy the game even without an official rival girl to kill. This showed me how much potential there was for Yandere Simulator to bring people far more enjoyment than originally intended. So, I updated my priorities and started expanding the game in multiple different directions. Instead of focusing exclusively on core features and rivals, I filled the game with tons of content, features, and activities that were not part of the initial plan, and I took the time to collaborate with amazing people to make awesome videos for my YouTube channel.

This contributed to Yandere Simulator spending more time in development than I originally anticipated…but, that’s because the game has been evolving into something with much more potential than the game that was initially planned. And…I can’t really see that as a bad thing.

I observed what the community enjoyed, and I adjusted my focus accordingly. Instead of keeping Yandere Simulator locked to one path, I allowed Yandere Simulator to become something that is free to change and evolve whenever I make new observations and discoveries.

When I look in the Yandere Simulator Discord, I see an incredible amount of variety in what people are doing with the game. I see people showing off screenshots they made using Pose Mode. I see people challenging one another with Mission Mode codes. I see people showing off the mods they’re developing. I see people creating custom skins and sharing them. Yandere Simulator started out as “Anime Girl Hitman”, but throughout its development, it evolved into something way better – a platform that offers a wide variety of fun activities and experiences. And I feel happy that I’ve created something that gives people so many different ways to be creative and have fun.

I don’t think of Yandere Simulator as “A game that still isn’t finished after 7 years.” Instead, I think of Yandere Simulator as, “A game that has been regularly updated with new features and new content for 7 years.”

Do you plan on releasing it on any platforms like Steam or Epic Games? The Epic Games Store in particular is known for giving funds to developers. Is that something you ever considered?

I’d like to put it on Steam eventually. I’d be happy to strike a deal with the Epic Games Store.

I’ve heard in one of your videos that you’re describing Yandere Sim as a mix of Hitman and the Persona series. How do you plan on combining the disposable characters of the Hitman universe with the character-driven and story-driven aspects of the Persona series? How does this mix of these two vastly different games work?

Each character in the school can be of use to the player in some way. If the player befriends a character, that character can provide some type of service, be used to distract other students or play a role in certain scripted events. If the player kills a student, the player loses all of those advantages. However, a student can also be an obstacle, if they are protecting another character or are present to witness a crime. It’s up to the player to decide whether or not it’s worth it to kill a student and sacrifice the advantages that the student might have brought them.

What are some gameplay elements that are still planned for the future? 

Nearly every gameplay mechanic I wanted to put in the game is already in the game. At this point, only minor adjustments and tweaks remain.

When you’re working on Yandere Sim, what do you enjoy the most? Aka what part of your job is the most fulfilling and satisfying for you? Where do you take joy in your work?

Interacting with the fans is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. It’s where all the joy of the job comes from.

What are your thoughts on accessibility in games?

I’ve always thought that it was very praiseworthy whenever a game developer puts in the extra work and effort to make their game accessible to people who may be dealing with a physical handicap.

How do you try to make Yandere Sim accessible to other people?

I’ve tried my best to make sure that nothing in the game relies on color so that the game can be easily played by the colorblind. With that said, a colorblind friend of mine has still been able to identify places in the game that use color for gameplay, so I still have some work to do in that regard. Aside from that, I haven’t yet had enough discussions with players to determine what could be done to make the game more accessible than it currently is.

How important do you think that accessibility is?

Ignoring accessibility means reducing the number of people who can enjoy your video game.

Will there be options to turn off graphical effects such as bloom, bright lights, colour filters, etc.? Do you think that features like that are important in game design?

These all sound like good ideas.

Will you be able to remap keys? How important do you think will this feature be for the enjoyment of players?

I’ve long wanted to provide the ability to remap keys, but it has proven to be difficult. A lot of players have requested this. I hope that I’ll be able to get it done in the future.

How do you feel about representation in games aka being able to create your character and customise their appearance, skin colour, sex, and gender? 

It’s a feature that I always appreciate having in games.

Do you think that players should be able to select a same-sex senpai? Are there any issues with that? How do you feel about LGTBQIA+ representation in Yandere Sim?

I’d like to offer a same-sex senpai, but it depends on the budget. It requires animations and voice lines, which would have to be paid for.

What is some advice you would give to other developers in regards to accessibility, player representation, and other topics that are important in game development?

I understand that what a game developer can do is limited by their time and their budget. The same expectations cannot be given to two different developers operating with completely different timelines and funding. So, there is no one statement I can give that applies to all game developers.

Over seven years, Yandere Sim has not only faced good press but also a lot of allegations. What is your stance on it? How do you deal with it and what is your advice for other developers when it comes to dealing with critics and bad press?

The first thing you must understand is that public humiliation is a very profitable entertainment industry. You can very easily get millions of views on YouTube simply by making a video where you shame and ridicule someone. It’s even easier to get views if you make a video about a YouTuber with lots of subscribers because YouTube’s algorithm will push your video to each of that person’s followers.

I’ve been targeted by drama YouTubers who make trashy tabloid-style videos where they demonize and vilify me because they know that these videos will get them tons of attention and money. The majority of claims they make about me are heavily exaggerated or outright false, and it’s trivially easy to debunk pretty much everything they say. However, people value entertaining narratives far more than they value truth and reality.

If I treat my fans like kings and queens, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev treats his fans bad” is a more entertaining narrative. If I am a competent programmer, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev sucks at code” is a more entertaining narrative. If I am attracted to adult women, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev is a paedophile” is a more entertaining narrative.

In short, I’ve been selected as a human sacrifice for the public humiliation entertainment industry because of my subscriber count. Numerous false narratives and untrue accusations have been made about me because the more scandalous the drama is, the more clicks and views people will get. I have been turned into a punching bag for the Internet to harass and abuse, not because I’m a bad guy, but because I’ve been framed as a bad guy.

It can all be summarized by one very simple statement: Your reputation is determined by what people enjoy saying about you, even if nothing that they are saying is true.

Do you think that the art and the artist should be looked at separately?

Yes.

Among the allegations, some people get upset about the fact that you can take panty shots of high school students. Is that still a mechanic in the game? If so, are there any plans of removing it or is there a reason why it stays/will stay? What are the alternatives for it?

It’s an anime trope. Anyone who gets offended by it is too sensitive. There are many alternatives to the feature, anyway.

Twitch also banned Yandere Sim on their platform. How do you feel about that? Do you think that this is justified? Do you ever believe that the game will be unbanned?

It sucks. It’s not justified at all. There is no content in Yandere Sim that is not present in other games that are not banned on Twitch.

What are your thoughts on (cyber-)bullying? Do you think games should be allowed to endorse topics or don’t you think that it may be a bit problematic?

Actual bullying that occurs in real life – not in the fictional realm of a video game – is unforgivable. Abusing, mistreating, and harassing others is never okay, whether it’s occurring in person or over the Internet.

Now, there are also other things that people bring up from your past that I don’t want to get into detail. How do you feel about that?

Digging into someone’s past to look for dirt on them to shame and humiliate them is deplorable behaviour, and should not be normalized. Every allegation made about me is disprovable.

Does all the negative press affect you mentally? What do you do to deal with this?

As a result of being portrayed as a villain by dishonest YouTubers, my life has been absolutely destroyed. I have been harassed in various ways on a daily basis for the past several years, and the harassment has only grown more intense with the passage of time. It’s safe to assume that I will continue to be harassed every day for the rest of my life and that the severity of the harassment will only continue to intensify. There is no reason for me to have any hope for the future. I don’t even have a future anymore. The harassment isn’t going to stop until I’m dead. Every time I ask myself why I should keep living, I fail to find an answer.

Being harassed on a daily basis for multiple years has made me severely depressed and robbed me of all motivation to work on the game project that I’ve dedicated 7 years of my life to. It’s impossible to be productive while experiencing abuse and mistreatment every hour of the day. The game that I’m developing definitely would have been finished by now if I had never been made the target of a multiple-year-long harassment campaign.

Even when I keep my head down and don’t do anything to attract attention, people constantly invent new reasons to harass me. My life is ruined and can never be repaired. The only thing I wish for is to live in peace, but I am not even allowed to have that.

Do you have any finishing words you’d like to mention to my readers? Do you have any general advice for game developers? If you could redo things, what would you do differently? 

The one piece of advice that I believe is most important is to start with small, simple projects, and gradually work your way up to more complex projects. Definitely do not begin doing anything complicated or ambitious until after you’ve gained a lot of experience with more simple projects.

Any finishing words on Yandere Simulator. Who would you recommend this game to? Where can people check out the game?

It’s for fans of anime and video games. You can check it out at yanderesimulator.com.

So, yeah, that was the interview with Yandere Dev. My opinion on Yandere Simulator changed over time and with me finding out about all these allegations, I wasn’t sure how to approach this interview but I think giving him a platform of sorts where he can talk about his feelings and opinions would be nice. Hope you enjoyed this post!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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