Secret Ponchos creator: 'Sony treats us like we're first-party'
Back in 2013, GameZone saw a neat little western-themed twin-stick shooter known by the name Secret Ponchos. You've probably heard of it by now, as it has quickly become one of the premiere indie games Sony has featured at various events like E3; but, back then it was just a small little indie game with no release date and no platforms to call home.
And Sony did, showing Switchblade Monkeys the kind of support indies would dream of.
"It feels like one of those weekend TV movies where the homeless guy wins the lotto ticket or something," Secret Ponchos creator Yousuf Mapara told me of Sony's support. "For us, as an indie developer, to be on stage of a press conference at E3 -- showing our game -- it was just really exciting."
"Sony's been, not just to us, but to all indies very open armed and welcoming. They've done a great job in sort of raising the industry bar, pushing indies to the forefront. It's been amazing," he said.
What's most amazing is the story of how Secret Ponchos wound up on PS4. As I mentioned, the team was only aiming to get Secret Ponchos on to PSN or Xbox LIVE, but had no real confirmed platforms. It wasn't until Adam Boyes, VP of Publisher & Developer Relations at PlayStation, saw the game at PAX Prime 2012 and the attention it was getting from fans at the show, walked up to the Secret Ponchos booth, and simply asked "how can we get this game on PS4?"
"I didn't even recognize him," Yousuf recalled. "He was just dressed in really casual clothes walking the show floor." From there, the rest is history. Sony offered Switchblade Monkeys financial assistance as well as access to PS4 dev kits -- a good investment considering Secret Ponchos has been one of the poster boys for Sony's push to bring indie games to the forefront of gaming. At E3, it was one of eight games brought on stage during Sony's press conference.
"They treat us like we're first-party," Yousuf told me.
Perhaps one of the greater benefits for developing for PS4 is the freedom indie developers have to explore other platforms. As you're probably aware, Secret Ponchos is also coming to PC now. In fact, it'll actually arrive on PC via Steam Early Access before it even hits the PS4. And ya know what? Sony is okay with that.
"We talked to Sony about it to see what they felt and they were really supporting," said Yousuf. "They felt it would lead to a better game if we iterate for a few months in beta."
So Secret Ponchos will launch first in PC Early Access this summer (about 6 to 8 weeks from now), "and then in fall the PSN version will be that much better with all that tuning in balancing," Yousuf said.
You can check out GameZone's full interview with Secret Ponchos creator Yousuf Mapara here.