Republique looks to take iOS games to a whole new level
The former creative director of Halo 4 has unveiled Republique, a "big, different and risky" game for iOS devices that tells a 1984-esque tale of a woman named Hope and her bid for freedom from the clutches of an all-seeing totalitarian nation that's not on any map.
Mobile games tend to be viewed as light-weight, casual fare; the sort of thing people play when they can't play "real" games. But Republique seems determined to change all that. The "stealth survival" hybrid game is set in a dystopian surveillance state straight out of the nightmares of George Orwell, from which a girl named Hope is desperately trying to escape. Contacting you via a stolen mobile phone, she begs you to "become her eyes" and guide her to freedom.
But Hope isn't a stereotypical videogame heroine: she's a "believable, non-sexualized female lead" struggling to survive. She's not going to kill her way to freedom, in other words, so the name of the game is to keep her alive and away from danger by creating distractions and diversions and giving her the opportunity to slip away from potential threats. Players will tap on the screen to hack computers, slam doors, turn off lights and otherwise distract the guards who are hunting for her, and also direct Hope to hide when necessary, although she'll do her best to stay out of sight on her own when left unattended.
Backgrounds are pre-rendered, which not only results in some very impressive backdrops but also allows more processing power to be devoted to rendering highly-detailed character models. Even more important are the game's storytelling goals: Republique will be an intense action game but the focus is on a meaningful explorations of "heavy topics" like liberty and the perils of a Big Brother society.
The game is planned to be four to six hours in length with plenty of exploring to be done, real-time cinematics, full voiceovers and even motion-captured animation, features usually reserved for console and PC games. The developers are currently trying to raise funds on Kickstarter, and as such are offering some pretty unique editions as bonuses. Some editions will include physical copies of the "Republique Journal," a real-life replica of the seditious book discovered by Hope in the game, with hand-drawn maps, newspaper clippings from the outside world and more, while the special Collector's Edition will also include a hollowed-out copy of the "Overseer's Manifesto," much like the one Hope uses to hide her contraband.
You don't see many iOS games get this sort of attention, but the official announcement trailer looks sharp. And with development being handled by veterans of games like Halo, Metal Gear Solid and F.E.A.R., plus the team that made the live-action Skyrim television ads, Republique looks like it might just change a few perceptions about what mobile gaming can do.