At this point, seeing a sex game on the Steam charts isn’t particularly noteworthy — there’s clearly a huge market out there that is hungry for adult games. But Love Esquire isn’t quite like most erotic games sold on Steam.
The visual novel, which was released earlier this week following a successful Kickstarter in 2018, follows a lowly squire who is trying to lose his virginity. The game has a mixture of RPG elements, as well as management sim mechanics that scaffold a story-heavy title where the player can romance five different characters. The idea is that by raising your stats and becoming more powerful, you’ll be more attractive to the women around you — and perhaps eventually, you’ll be able to bed them.
Curiously, Love Esquire was made by Yangyang Mobile, a small indie developer based out of the Philippines, where there are strict anti-pornography laws. No surprise, then, that while the game is heavily suggestive — footage shows explicit scenes that are cut off, and the store description warns that there are panty and breast shots — there’s no full-on nudity.
Then again, this is the case for plenty of games on Steam. Developers release sex games, but the actual sex will be hidden away in an easily-accessible patch. Yangyang Mobile did not return a request for comment, but it’s interesting that the store page notes that the game is moddable in a way that implies, while the developer won’t go there, it can’t stop players who want to.
Right on cue, today the game’s news feed was updated with an announcement surrounding the explicit content.
“We had to remove some [cutscenes] to avoid being classified as an ‘adult only’ game,” Yangyang Mobile wrote, noting that a patch is now available on Love Esquire’s Steam workshop page. This developer-created patch is more suggestive than explicit, Yangyang says, “because our country’s laws prohibit us from doing a full-blown [sex] patch.”
But a super fan known as Teófilo, who donated to the Kickstarter, recently created an uncensored mod of those same cutscenes. (You can find it in Love Esquire’s workshop by searching “Hip To Be Squire Uncensored.”) Which is to say — this studio got around harsh laws by relying on a fan mod.
“When you’re playing the game and experiencing man’s greatest pleasure, you’ll know who to thank!” reads Yangyang Mobile’s news post on Steam.
As of this writing, Love Esquire has an overall “positive” rating on Steam, where it is currently outselling titles such as Rust and Skyrim.