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Indie developer Winter Wolves has issued a press release for their newest game Heirs & Graces, a medieval dating sim featuring four potential bachelors. While Winter Wolves has created a number of sims with dating elements across the spectrum of sexuality, the game is set to be their first exclusively ‘yaoi’ venture, a genre that emphasizes romantic relationships between male characters and is generally aimed at a female audience. It joins a rapidly expanding catalog of over twenty other games available through Winter Wolves, including visual novel Heileen, the award-winning RPG Loren The Amazon Princess, and another RPG with ToA: Seasons of the Wolfpreviously reviewed here at Techraptor. Heirs & Graces puts players in the role of a gay protagonist, playing through the story and raising skills that affect the final outcome through different conversation paths.

Marcel, hero of the story and forgotten Lordling, attempts to observe his father by taking a job as a servant but instead is given a chance to fully realize his nobility if he proves himself worthy. Along the way, players can form a romance with either Borges, Kamal, Vincent or Eloy, an “ex-gladiator turned gardener, a perfectionist butler, a local doctor, or a mischievous elven lord.” The game features multiple endings and outcomes depending on whether or not Marcel romances a partner, who he romances, and whether or not he becomes nobility himself. Dialogue and story are told through hand-drawn artwork and CG stills, though true to the nature of sim games, players will also have to contend with managing a series of daily duties and growing their character’s abilities. Said abilities will function as skill checks that allow for branching game paths.

Currently, Heirs & Graces is available for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. Mobile and Steam releases are expected for later this year, and a free demo of the game can be downloaded on Winter Wolves’ website. The game is priced at $19.99, with the “possibility of a free Steam key later”. A deluxe version is also available on their website featuring the full soundtrack, wallpapers, and additional artwork for $24.99.


Quick Take

While I’ve never played a dating sim myself, the genre has been among those most willing to push boundaries and test the social limits of video games as narrative platform, considering some of the more famous and controversial ones like Corpse Party and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. It’s a great way to consider sexuality given all that the genre has already proven willing to embrace, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see a developer like Winter Wolves exploring the subject through lenses of varying gender, preference and race across their many games.


Nate Gray

Staff Writer

Artist, writer, and avid fan of undesirables the world over.