Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim is a dating sim/visual novel released on New Years’ Eve, 2017. In Tusks, the player takes on the role of an orc that joins a group of other orcs as they travel across a semi-historical, semi-mythical Scotland — the player talks to and can form relationships with each of the orcs in the group, finding out more about them, their experiences, and their lives.
Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim can be downloaded at itch.io. The Tusks Tumblr page chronicles some of the experiences of working on Tusks, answers questions from players, and also tracks work similar to Tusks.
Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim focuses on a newly-formed family of gay orcs who are travelling from the annual orcish assembly to the Highlands of a semi-mythical Scotland. Along the way, the player can begin friendships and relationships with the various members of the group, including a selkie a long way away from home, a gentle-giant orcish warrior, and a polyamorous trio of orc chieftains.
Tusks has almost 120,000 words of dialogue, story, interaction and narrative, spread across multiple different routes, exclusive scenes and interactions intended for replayability and personalisation through the game.
- Malgóm, one of the group’s three chiefs, with an unusual power.
- Sithig, a boar-like grise concerned with the sensual and aesthetic.
- Brocgin, an orcish scholar adapted to city life.
- Ror, the second of the group’s three chiefs, and a pragmatic leader.
- Aed, a human whose well-meaning enthusiasm can get out of hand.
- Cennedig, the third of the three chiefs of the group, heading north to ‘find his home’.
- Domnol, an orcish courier, who shows up sometime after the group begin their journey.
- Ggorom, a selkie returning to his home under the sea, near the Outer Hebrides.
- Ferdag, a warrior; effective in a fight, but keen on finding peaceful methods of resolving conflict, too.
Tusks was initially conceived during NaNoRenO 2015, a game jam taking place throughout the month of March where contestants were challenged to develop a visual novel. By the time the jam had finished, Tusks had grown from a short game about interacting with orcs as romantic interests to an expansive narrative exploring outsider status, game tropes, and identity.
Tusks was released on New Years’ Eve 2017, with the full main story. is currently in development, with a free Day One Preview available via itch.io: this preview includes the first 15 minutes of the game, featuring over 21,000 words of dialogue, and introduces the NPC Autonomy feature and eight of the game’s main characters.
There will be further updates to complete individual character stories and for bugfixes and changes.
- Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim on itch.io [Download]
- Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim Blog on Tumblr [Main Blog]
- There’s A Gay Orc Dating Sim, And It’s Surprisingly Smart on Kotaku [Feature]
- “Grrrrrrr, time to date some hot and manly orcs” on Destructoid [Feature]
- “Try gay orc dating with Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim” on Offworld [Feature]
- “I Really Want To Play This Game About Gay Orcs Going On Dates” on Kotaku AU [Feature]
- “Orcs are the Immediate Future of Gay Gaming Culture” on Vice [Interview]
- “Shadow of Mordor has nothing on the orcs in this dating sim” on Venturebeat [Interview]
- “Tusks will tackle the homoerotic limitations we’ve imposed on orc lore” on KillScreen [Interview]
- “Get Ready For Tusks – The Big Gay Orc Dating Sim” on Silicon Era [Feature]
- “New Video Game Sets Out to Prove Mythical Monsters Need (Same-Sex) Love Too” on Advocate [Feature]