Video: Playing spaghetti westerns with Secret Ponchos

UPDATE: PS4 release pushed to autumn but free for PS Plus subs.

UPDATE 25/06 10.15AM BST: I've spoken to developer Switchblade Monkeys and the release of Secret Ponchos on PS4 has been pushed back to the autumn.

"Currently there is not an exact launch date announced," said creative director Yousuf Mapara, "but if we had to estimate we are targeting Fall 2014 for release. It's really about when we feel the game is super solid and ready for the public."

I asked again about whether Secret Ponchos will still be free when it launches to PlayStation Plus members, as was originally intended, and the answer is still "yes".

"Yes, for one month the game will be featured as a PlayStation Plus title! We are very excited because PlayStation Plus will put the game in the hands of a large community of gamers, and for a multiplayer game the community population is key!

"We have not set a price yet for outside of Playstation Plus," he added, " but it will be in that [£10] digital price point range."

He said the game runs "beautifully" on PS4, at 1080p60, and is being optimised to stick to it. The PC build is relatively earlier in development and will gain proper graphics options as well as optimisations for less powerful PCs as time goes on.

The full Secret Ponchos game will support up to eight players. There will be head-to-head duels, 2vs2, 4vs4 and free-for-alls for eight.

Two-player split-screen play is functioning on PS4, I was told, and will be ported "soon" to the Early Access build.

The only class missing from the Early Access build is the Matador, an outlaw that doesn't have a gun. She will be patched in.

"We hope to keep supporting the game and expanding the character line-up post launch," Mapara added, "so we will have some very exciting expansion characters making their way after the game hits the shelves on PS4."

The Team Domination mode is now in the Early Access build (but wasn't when I recorded the video below). It's 2v2 at the moment but 4v4 will be added.

There's also a strict Deathmatch mode - not free-for-all - that does away with power-ups and doesn't let you respawn. "This mode is excellent because its a very tactical 'last man standing' mode," said Mapara, "and we are hoping to also rotate this in during the course of the Early Access testing."

ORIGINAL STORY 18/06 12PM BST: Back at E3 last year, Sony won indie kudos by revealing nine games self-publishing on PS4. One of those was Secret Ponchos, a stylised online multiplayer spaghetti western game. Imagine that three-way showdown at the end of Sergio Leone's seminal The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and you're some way there. Now mix with a dose of Tim Burton.

Small new studio Switchblade Monkeys is behind it, was courted by Sony to launch first on PS4 and went for it. But it's not out on PS4 yet and it is on PC - a version announced much later - albeit in Early Access form.

When it arrives on PS4 it should be as a free PS Plus game - that was the plan - but we still don't know when that will be, although the suggestion is soon (it was originally planned for April). I'm trying to find these things out for certain.

Also, how the PS4 version will differ from the PC version I'm getting to grips with here, I don't know. I do say some silly things in the video such as 'unveiled at the PlayStation Meeting' - no it wasn't, Bertie, it was unveiled at E3 - and I completely forgot it was supposed to be free to PS Plus subscribers.

Nevertheless, here's me getting to grips with a stylish and entertaining little beast.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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