Secret Poncho’s is something of an undiscovered gem on the PS4. It’s a multiplayer focussed game (MOBO, if you will) that takes place in the Old West. You go head-to-head against other players in battle to the death in a top-down isometric arena and fight it out with a variety of weapons. It’s a great concept and it works really well, too, but unfortunately it’s more or less dead on Sony’s latest gaming platform.
The developers behind the game, Switchblade Monkeys, recently hosted an AMA over on Reddit where they talked through the trials and tribulations of bringing their game to fruition on both the PS4 and PC, the latter being the best place to play at the moment.
It’s unfortunate that Secret Poncho’s never really took off on PS4, despite it being given out as a free PS Plus game a few months ago. It’s a sentiment shared by the developers, too. Yousuf Mapara of Switchblade monkeys understands the player frustration when it comes to Secret Ponchos. It’s not easy to find an active game on PS4 and with it being pushed as a PS Plus freebie by Sony in return for funding of the game, it just hasn’t reached the dizzying heights the game deserves.
Many have suggested that the asking price is too high for a multiplayer-only game, but Mapara deflects these claims by stating that the team didn’t want to release it free-to-play as microtransactions are just not that pleasant for everyone and that it’s better to pay a one-off fee and get everything from the word go. There are some things that can be bought with real money in the “support the dev” packs, but these can still be earned free by just playing the game.
We’re somewhat inclined to agree with Switchblade on this one; free-to-play has a tendency to translate into pay-to-win, and that’s never fun.
The PC version of Secret Ponchos has gone from strength-to-strength with updates, patches and new additions to game. Unfortunately the PS4 version has remained pretty stagnant since release. That may not always be the case though, as Mapara claims that the team would love to push out a big meaningful update on PS4, but the likelihood of such an update hinges on the success of the PC version. It’s doing alright, but according to the developers it needs to have that critical mass to get the ball moving.
Mapara also gives a bit of insight into what it’s like being an independent video game maker, for those who are thinking of going down the same route. The team worked for around six years on Secret Ponchos and, for the majority of the development time, never paid themselves a living salary, but they did have some support from Sony by way of funding and covering the cost of licensing fees and external hires. Mapara goes on to say that Sony was a pleasure to work with and the indie-centric support was a real help during development.
However, that support is now gone and Secret Poncho’s has officially launched on PC earlier this month after spending an age and a day in Early Access. While the PC community will continue to grow by the day, we can’t really see the PS4 version getting a second wind anytime soon. Having said that, there is the possibility that the two communities could collide somewhere down the line. When asked whether cross-play between the PS4 version of Secret Ponchos and the PC release would be possible, Mapara states that it would be awesome to have to the two communities playing together, but it would depend heavily on the success of the PC version to bring around such an overhaul.
We’d be all over that like flies on poop. Honestly, Secret Ponchos is a great little game, but it’s died a slow and painful death on PS4. Here’s hoping the PC version will bring about a second coming for Switchblade’s labour of love.