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République Interview

Interview

In the final days of République‘s Kickstarter campaign, we’ve interviewed Camouflaj’s Ryan Payton about pitching one of the most ambitious projects on iOS.

What is your vision for the future of AAA development on iOS?

We are in the early infancy stages of iOS as a platform. It’s my belief that we’re going to see a lot more games like République with high production values and game designs that utilize the strengths of touch input. The only thing that’s holding everybody back is tangible successes that they can point to and justify the cost of making these games. Infinity Blade was a big step for our industry, and I hope République can help contribute to this idea as well.

What is the story behind the collaboration with Logan on République?

I’ve been friends with the head of Logan, Alexei Tylevich, ever since we worked on the opening movie for Metal Gear Solid 4. I owned the production of that project from the Kojima Productions side and it allowed me to work creatively with Alexei, which was just a lot of fun. After I left Japan, he and I promised that we would work on another game project in the future. Once I left the Halo 4 project, we both knew it was the perfect time to develop a game together. République is a result of our creative synergy, strong friendship, and mutual trust and respect as creators.

Part of what seems crucial about République is the way it uses the phone in a familiar context. What role does this play in the game’s design?

Our aim is to immerse the player in the world of République right from the very beginning of the game, which is why we’re currently not considering an opening movie, credits roll or main menu. Designing the gameplay and the story around the idea that players are entering the world through their iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac is a critical part of that. Some have suggested that République is like an ARG, which I think is a fair point, although I’ve never experienced a great ARG. République will be a great game.

Given the nature of that design, how will those elements be translated to PC?

We’re dedicating a large chunk of development time to make sure the PC and Mac versions of République are designed specifically for the desktop. We’re really excited about how that will change up the core gameplay loop, as players will have multiple windows open on their monitors and will be tracking multiple things at once, almost RTS-like. Internally, we’re calling it “Alt-Tab Gameplay.” I want to be careful about over-promising features for the PC/Mac version, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to be putting a lot of effort into it and ensure that it’s a very special experience.

Considering the themes of privacy and paranoia over control, what’s the importance of delivering the title on devices that are sometimes in conflict with these concepts?

That’s an excellent question! My aim with the story and themes of the game is to not be preachy about my personal thoughts about surveillance, legislation like SOPA, room 421A, the fourth amendment, and so on. Instead, I want to give players the power of Big Brother and let them decide if they think others (particularly big companies and governments) should have that power.

République seems to take place in some kind of Orwellian dystopia. What’s the inspiration for choosing this setting?

The moment the idea of viewing the world through surveillance cameras popped into my head I got excited about setting the game in a Orwellian-inspired world. This was an easy sell to Alexei as he’s just as crazy about 1984, We, Brave New World and other works as I am. I think we’re both surprised that there hasn’t been any movies and games about 1984 in recent years.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

We’re in the final week of our Kickstarter campaign and could really use your help in reaching our goal. We’re asking for a lot of money, but all that money will allow us to maintain creative control and ownership over our IP. That would be a great win for Camouflaj and Logan, but it would also be best for the player as that’ll allow us to make the game we want to make, tell the story we really want to tell and not have to worry about some suit telling us otherwise.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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