Camouflaj’s acclaimed debut draws influence from PS one classics
Howdy folks! This is Paul from Camouflaj. I’m really excited to announce that Republique will be coming to PS4 in the spring!
Some of you might remember Republique from our hairbreadth success on Kickstarter a few years back. Now, after many years of development, the five-episode Republique saga is finally ready for launch. The upcoming PS4 version will coincide with the completion of the fifth and final episode so all PS4 players will be able to experience Republique in a complete, long-form fashion.
For those of you not familiar with Republique, it’s a story-driven stealth action game heavily inspired by the 32-bit era. At the start of the game, players form a partnership with Hope, a young woman trapped inside a secret totalitarian nation called Metamorphosis. From there, players hack into surveillance cameras and guide Hope to freedom over the course of the five-part campaign.
Every episode introduces new enemies, environments, puzzles and thematic elements, all feeding into a heavy commentary on privacy and security in the internet age.
You might be surprised to read this, but the decision to bring Republique to PS4 was not an easy one. As many of you already know, our team here at Camouflaj puts a lot of thought into input methods and what that means for the player’s role in the story. With the mobile release, we laboured over a “one touch” control scheme, and then with the desktop release, we transformed the game into a hotkey-friendly mouse and keyboard experience.
From there, we knew that transitioning Republique to a true console experience is the natural next evolution of the game, but one huge barrier stood in our way: how the heck would the game control with a DualShock 4?
Everything started with a secret prototype that Ryan, one of our designers, was quietly working on with Paulo, a programmer friend from Brazil. Ignoring suggestions that the game should play like a console RTS (with players issuing simple commands for Hope) or that we shift the game into an over-the-shoulder action game, Paulo and Ryan set out to give players complete control over Hope, much in the fashion of our favourite 32-bit games like Metal Gear Solid, Parasite Eve and Deep Fear. After about a month of experimentation, it was revealed to the team.
Even in its rough state, the DualShock 4 prototype demonstrated the potential of a PS4 version of Republique. From there, we entered into a partnership with GungHo Online Entertainment and began work in earnest on rebuilding Republique into a true PS4 experience. Underneath all the excitement in the studio about our partnership with GungHo and the PS4 version, it’s impossible to deny that there was an undercurrent of anxiety about whether we could really pull this off…
The turning point for the project was PAX Prime. Thanks to GungHo, Republique had a huge presence at the show with 20 playable PS4 stations on display at their big purple booth. Not only was it a relief to see players seamlessly control the game with DualShock 4, but it was a rare opportunity to connect with fans of the game.
While dodging questions about release dates and hardcore story questions, we had a transformative experience at PAX. Thanks to our dev partners at Darkwind Media, we arrived with a work-in-progress build that demonstrated our controller-friendly Hope actions and intuitive button UI for OMNI View. PAX was the turning point for the project, and gave us the confidence we needed to drive towards the finish line.
I don’t want to get too technical, but I do want to point out a few key components that fuel the PS4 version. Firstly, we built a cover system from scratch with new, motion-captured animations. The fixed camera perspectives — which were my biggest concern initially — ended up being a huge asset. The analogue controls flow naturally from one perspective to the next without impeding player movement, a trick we learned from playing a lot of old school Devil May Cry.
We also spent many late nights with the Darkwind crew figuring out how to translate our “touch-friendly” OMNI hacking controls to DualShock 4. After prototyping a half dozen or so schemes, we landed on a button-focused solution powered by a bunch of under-the-hood game logic. (Please don’t ask me to explain how it works.)
With the release of Republique rapidly approaching, it’s a thrill that we’re able to crash the party on PlayStation Blog today and announce that not only is GungHo releasing the game both digitally on PlayStation Store and physically in retailers, but that both versions will have access to new and original outfits for Hope.
These outfits not only look great, but also unlock unique gameplay features that transform the way you’ll experience the game in subsequent playthroughs (Internally, we’re seeing average first playthroughs last between 10 to 15 hours). Even if you’re familiar with Republique — heck, especially if you are — we’re hopeful that its remarkable transformation on PS4 is going to surprise you. We were also very fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with Sony Computer Entertainment in the making of a unique outfit paying homage to Gravity Rush as additional exclusive content for the PS4 version.
In closing, I just want to say that bringing Republique to PS4 really feels like a homecoming. We think we’ve got something special on our hands, especially for players itching for a game heavily inspired by classic 32-bit survival horror and stealth action games of the inaugural PlayStation era.
Whether you’re a fan of those games or not, Republique’s hard-hitting story and voiceover performances from industry legends like Jennifer Hale, David Hayter and Dwight Schultz really stand on their own, all held together by Rena Strober’s breakthrough performance as Hope.
I think I can speak for the Camouflaj and Darkwind teams when I say we’re ecstatic to be sharing Republique with a whole new audience on PS4. Thanks so much for reading this, and Keep Hope Alive!