Switchblade Monkeys have announced the fifth playable character for Secret Ponchos, and she looks like a complete change of pace from the gunfighters we've seen so far. February 17, 2014 By Blondlizard Leave a CommentContinuing our look at upcoming PS4 games, we now take a look at one we’re really excited for: Secret Ponchos. Soon to be released by Switchblade Monkeys, Secret Ponchos is set in a town crawling with bandits, murderers and bounty hunters, throwing gorgeous visuals and tense gun battles at you.
For gamers that don’t know about Secret Ponchos, can you tell us more about what we can expect? When did you first get the heads up about being let into the exclusive world of PS4 gaming?
Indie gaming on the PS Vita has really transformed the handheld, so it’s really refreshing to know indie games are headed the Playstation 4 way too. I personally love games developed for the digital model (things like PSN, Steam, XBLA) because you see these really cool games that excel in quality, stylization and originality.
The first thing that strikes us about Secret Ponchos is the stunning artwork and characters – developing these must have been great fun. An important strategy we want to bring that the PC market does awesome is constant Post Launch finetuning and responses to how people play the game. We all have different Mains we use, Its really good that it worked out that way it just happened naturally based on our personalities.
Tony (Character & Environment artist) loves Poncho, Yousuf (that’s me) uses Killer but recently I’m amazed how the Matador is coming together.
A special thanks to Yousuf Mapara from Switchblade Monkeys for taking the time to speak to us, it’s a real pleasure when such awesome developers look after the smaller guys like us!
Chip talks with the developer of Secret Ponchos, an upcoming spaghetti western style isometric shooter. 1280x8001680x10501600x9001440x9001280x10241366x7681920x10801920x1200To install this wallpaper, Right-click on the image and from the pop-menu choose "Set as Background" or "Set as Wallpaper".
Kid Red was a simple ranch hand, orphaned when his family fell prey to the violence of Lonetree. Dual Pistols - Two guns with good range that can be fired alternatively for damage or fired simultaneously to stun (at the cost of range and stamina). Kid Red lights the fuse on a stick of Dynamite and can throw it long distance toward his enemy.
Kid Red’s pistols need to be close range, so if your enemy is keeping you at a distance, use dynamite, which is very effective from afar. Just the facts, please: Developed by Switchblade Monkeys and heading to consoles sometime in the Summer, this online multiplayer shooter combines elements of first-person blasters, brawlers and RPGs to produce something that is, on the surface at least, quite unique. You’ll take control of one of six customisable Outlaws to engage in duels with other players to earn reputation points, with which you can upgrade your skills and weapons. The Outlaws themselves are a mixed bunch, including former ranch-hand turned gunslinger Kid Red, masked desperado The Phantom Poncho and frontier assassin The Killer.
Switchblade Monkeys is comprised of industry professionals who have worked with Blizzard and Radical and have come together in the hope of making something that manages to be great fun and original at the same time – their design ethos is based entirely around what they find fun and enjoyable, so the trite old marketing cliche of “By gamers, for gamers” is actually apt in this instance. Unveiled at PAX East earlier this year, Secret Ponchos turned heads with its bright, cartoonish art style and individuality.

Your progress will be stored in your character’s Legacy, so you’ll always know which areas you need to improve in and you’ll have a handy record of your kills, deaths and notoriety. We had the privilege of hooking up with Yousuf Mapara from Switchblade Monkeys to get the full story on Secret Ponchos, and with Yousuf also telling us that some big announcements are being made soon, we’re now even more excited! We focused on pushing both the Stylization, and most of all just making an original style of gameplay combat! Like many other indies we came from the AAA space because we had this built up appetite to take some crazy risks and make something outside of a normal AAA title. Brian Silva and Nick Suttner from Sony Dev relations approached us and asked us about launching on PS4.
Games like Journey, Limbo, Transistor…So we’re excited to see Sony putting momentum behind this gaming space in addition to the AAA market. Besides the art style and theme, the originality of the gameplay is something we are very proud of, and we worked really hard on.
Your balancing work has only just started once you launch the game, and you really need to feel how players use your game and work with that. The Spaghetti Western Genre provides amazing inspiration for dramatic characters, and new mechanics.
Jared (Character artist) loves being crazy and testing Gordo, and Chris & Caley (Music guy and Graphic arts guy) use Kidred the most, as Chris is slowly switching to Deserter as his main.
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Twin Blast deals extra damage, but has slower fire rate and lower range then his regular alternating fire.
An isometric multiplayer shooter with a spaghetti western flavour, Secret Ponchos is one of the most interesting games coming this year and you’ve probably never heard of it.
Each Outlaw has their own play style and weapon loadout, and they’re rocking everything from revolvers and shotguns to bull-whips and dynamite. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the isometric viewpoint would make it too easy to spot your opponent, but developers Switchblade Monkeys have thought of this, too. Each one is unique and carefully designed to not only stand apart from the others, but to also gel as part of Secret Ponchos’ skewed take on the Old West. There are echoes of Gearbox’s exceptional Borderlands, but Secret Ponchos eschews teamwork and crazy lootz in favour of maniacal blasting and fast-paced duels. Given the pedigree of talent behind the game, and judging from nothing other than the screens and trailer, we’re predicting a cult following for Secret Ponchos when it hits consoles in the next few months. As you can see in the clip below, she whirls around the screen with her cape, blinding and wounding anyone who dares get within range of her sword.
AAA titles are awesome for wowing audiences with Scope, I feel Indie titles are excellent at surprising audiences with innovation. The gameplay of Secret Ponchos is really special, and we hope it opens a new door for other combat games. The great thing about this day and age is even after you ship a game, you can continually expand on the experience instead of disappearing for 4 years working on a sequel. Be sure to keep your distance as the "Devil in their pocket' damages everyone within range.

While the finer details of the customisation system are yet to be divulged, it’s likely to be a combination of tweaking your character’s appearance and abilities so that you can tailor your avatar to suit your preferred style and stand out in the crowd of psychotic cowboys.
The setting is actually quite original for this type of game, and there aren’t many isometric shooters of this vein available nowadays. From there we either writeup a worded description of a character and their personality, their back story, and then we would start visual exploration on how they might look, dress, posture, and shapes that make them unique.
The overhead camera approach we took sets it apart from other ‘team shooters’ and it lets us start drawing inspiration and learning from fighting games.
Our plan for Secret Ponchos is to be a perpetual development, where the universe keeps evolving and growing.
If your enemy is not in your character’s cone of vision, whether out of periphery or hidden behind cover, you can’t see them. It’s almost reminiscent of old school classics like Smash TV and Extreme Violence (remember those?
Sometimes when you’re exploring one character, you sketch ideas that inspire other characters, and want to include them into our universe. With an over head camera you see exactly how far you distanced from other players, and you can rely on precision spacing and timing how fighting games launch their attacks. If people love the game, we hope to use that DLC revenue and reinvest it back into keeping Secret Ponchos a growing experience. How scary is that? There will likely be unlockable abilities to help certain characters see round walls or conceal themselves better, but it’s a factor that will keep you on your toes, necessitating the kind of twitch-gameplay usually reserved for the FPS.
I would say one difference between our creative process and a traditional game design process, is that we’re very Art Driven instead of mechanics driven.
It’s unique from other fighting games, because they are typically side view, and are one on one. We have new dangerous Outlaws arriving, and they are really dramatic both style wise and in their mechanics.
So we let the theme, attitude and artwork inspire mechanics, instead of taking the standard game archetypes, and building around those. Secret Ponchos supports aggressive team fights, and you’re doing all sorts of things outside of fighting game genres, such as running around environments taking cover, shooting, and dealing with multiple opponents. God, how old are you?) in that it’s a frantic, excessive blaster aiming to deliver a dose of good, clean, unpretentious fun. I like our backwards approach, because the art leads the mechanics to new roads outside of the norm, and you end up making something unique. Secret Ponchos is just its own type of combat game, and we hope it brings a new type of style to combat genres.

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