PAX Prime 2013 Secret Ponchos

Published on September 12th, 2013 | by Zach (beezn) Beason


Secret Ponchos – A PAX Prime 2013 Interview With Chris Gillrie

During the ever glorious event called PAX, we were able to talk with Chris Gillrie – Sound Designer of Secret Ponchos about its roots and it’s future beyond the PlayStation 4.

TGL: Hi, your name, please.

CG: My name is Chris Gillrie. I’m the sound designer for Secret Ponchos.

TGL: And you’re all based out of Vancouver?

CG: Vancouver is where most of the team is, but we have team members all across Canada and a couple in the US as well.

TGL: It seems like every game developer I have talked to comes from Canada.

CG: Yeah. It all originated back when the dollar was so different, right? The film industry and the video game industry took advantage of that, because it was cheaper to produce games there [Canada]. They give a lot of tax credits there, too.

TGL: I guess that makes up for the fact that you’re hosed on book prices.

CG: (Laughs) Yeah!

TGL: So, Secret Ponchos. Awesome, fun game. Is it only coming out on the PS4?

CG: It will be out on PS4 as our exclusive console release and after that, we are gonna try to do a PC version. So, if we can get enough community support to get us on Steam Greenlight, or something like that, we’d love to do that.

TGL: I don’t think I have seen a situation where that hasn’t occurred.

CG: Yeah. It’s just that we only have enough resources to do one thing at a time right now. So, focus on this for the PS4, and then as soon as that is done we’ll get started on the PC version.

TGL: What drew you to the “Wild West” stylings that Secret Ponchos shows off?

CG: Yousef [Yousef Mapara, President of Switchblade Monkeys] and I, we used to play a ton of Soul Calibur online, and we just loved playing that game online. The soundtrack though, after months and months of hearing the same thing online, we started to put the Spaghetti Western soundtrack to it. We just found that it was so epic. The music just changes so much, it made the fights feel really intense. So we were like, how can we put those things together? How can we have a fighting combat game and put it in that spaghetti western environment?

TGL: How did you choose the type of characters to be in the game?

CG: Well, that’s a good question. We started with Killer. I don’t know if you’ve played against him, he was our initial character design. He’s the guy with the hunting knife and the pistol.

TGL: Yeah!

CG: We had this idea that it was going to be a bunch of outlaws, and it was all based on a bounty system. They all kind of have a background story as to why they’re hunting other people down. So we had the idea of the classic old guy who had been though everything, and he’s just so good at what he does. And, he actually does things to heighten his bounty. So, he’ll go and cause disturbances just to get people after him, and then kill them just to collect their bounties. Then our second character, Kid Red. The little guy. We had the back story that this ranch level that you play is supposed to be his ranch that was burned down by Phantom Poncho. And, so everybody kind of has a little bit of a story like that. We just started to build them. We knew we sort of needed the different classes; the bigger guy, the slower guy. Jose [Lopez], the concept artist, we just worked with him to come up with these characters.

TGL: It’s a unique art style, I really enjoyed it myself. It’s organic.

CG: Yeah, it feels really cool. We’re really happy to have him on the team.

TGL: Is it only PVP, or will there be any PVE or any single player?

CG: We’ll have a basic [one], like Street Fighter, when you can play an AI character or a horde mode. But that will be mostly for tutorial purposes. We’re mainly focusing on having it as an online battle. Personally, I don’t like playing Soul Caliber against the computer. I want to play against someone…

TGL: Someone who can get angry and throw the controller at you.

CG: Yeah! No matter how good the AI is, they always have the one kind of tactic that they’re gonna do. But, with a human player, you never know what they’re going to do.

TGL: Any future DLC plans?

CG: Oh, definitely, yeah. Since we’re such a small team, we’re just launching with six or eight maps and six characters, but we already have more characters in development. So, as soon as we launch we’ll have DLC characters and arenas to download.

TGL: I’m going to go out on a limb that there’s going to be a femme fatale, type of character.

CG: She’s on the poster, we actually have two female characters. It’s really unfortunate that we couldn’t get them out at PAX, because we’d love to have some female characters. She’s actually a matador, and her mechanics are entirely different in that she doesn’t even have a gun. She just has a sword and a cape.

TGL: Oh, nice!

CG: Yeah. So, it just adds a whole new element. But, we couldn’t quite get her balanced to show her here at PAX, so we left her out for this last time.

TGL: Do you have any other projects that you’re currently working on, or spitballing after this?

CG: No, we are solely working on this. We just have to focus and just really get this PS4 launch done. Then that frees us up to really get those DLC characters to come out and expanded so it’s even more fun. You don’t want to be limited by learning all six characters and then not being able to move on from there, right?

TGL: True. So, is this a launch day release on the PS4?

CG: No, it will be Q1 2014. So, shortly after the beginning of the New Year.

TGL: Any guess on the price, yet?

CG: I believe it’s going to be $15, but that’s not a hard number. And also, we’ll be giving the game away for free for one month, to all PlayStation Plus members.

TGL: Oh, sweet!

CG: Yeah. We really liked that idea because it will instantly expand the community. Nobody wants to logon to the lobby, and not have anybody to fight. So by getting it into so many people’s hands at the beginning, there should be a really good group of players online when you’re ready to play.

TGL: Awesome. Thank you very much.

CG: Yeah, no problem!

We at The Geek Link want to thank Chris Gillrie and the rest of the team at Switchblade Monkeys Studio for talking with us and look forward to the release of Secret Ponchos.

Thoughts on Secret Ponchos? The PS4? The amount of game developers from Canada? Post them in the comments below!

Take a look at all of our other PAX coverage here!

About the Author

I suppose that I'm what happens when you give a kid a 25 gallon tub of Lego and a lot of free time. I play games, I take things apart, and I build things (not as successfully as I took them apart). On occasion I have been known to put pen to paper and write about games, movies, comics, basically a whole bunch of stuff.

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