Last fall Halo 4 Creative Director Ryan Payton caused quite a stir after he abruptly left 343 Industries, stating “…after a few years, there came a point where I wasn’t creatively excited about the project anymore.” He quickly founded Camoflaj, a small studio of his own, and got to work on an unannounced project in conjunction with production studio Logan.
Details on Camoflaj’s ambitious first title have finally been revealed. The company is deep in development on Republique, a hybrid stealth/survival horror title planned for iPad and iPhone. Payton expressed to IGN that his goal for the project is to “…treat mobile like any other AAA console.”
Republique’s protagonist is Hope. Payton stressed that it was critical that Hope not be a superhuman heroine, telling IGN “She is non-sexualized; she is not a killer.” Instead, Hope is vulnerable. Players will need to help her run away from danger more often than not, and distract potential threats instead of engaging them head-on.
Many details of Republique’s world are still under wraps, but we do know that the game takes place in an Orwellian potential future, reminiscent of 1984. Orwell’s depiction of a severe surveillance state has inspired more than just the Republique’s setting and style — it also directly feeds the gameplay itself.
Republique’s hook is that gamers don’t actually play as Hope. She has a mind of her own and will move through the game world trying to stay alive and stay hidden even with no input from the player. The player exists as someone else –an anonymous spectator with access to the game world’s ubiquitous surveillance cameras.
To help Hope escape from her pursuers, players tap on objects in the environment, directing her to hide behind a pillar, or under a desk. Players can also tap on certain objects to create distractions, giving Hope a small window to escape. In the short demo shown to IGN, players could tap a computer to “hack” it, diverting the attention of the guards. While players are solving puzzles or otherwise indisposed, Hope will do her best to stay hidden, by shimmying around a pillar to stay out of sight, for example.
This may sound confusing and high-concept, but thanks to the pre-rendered visuals and surveillance camera viewpoints, Republique most resembles old-school Resident Evil games in practice. If the early RE games starred a stealthy young woman instead of combat-ready members of STARS.
Thanks to its smart use of pre-rendered backdrops, Republique uses almost all of the iPad or iPhone’s processing power to pump out extremely impressive character models. Even in this early state, Hope is made up of more than 7500 polygons. Payton is confident that by launch the game’s character models will feature “Metal Gear Solid 4-calibur” specs.
Republique’s early proof-of-concept demo development was funded with personal savings. Camoflaj and Logan have launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project, counting on the generosity of fans to provide the $500,000 funding needed to take this proof-of-concept and turn it into a full-fledged product.