University of Puget Sound graduate and a professor launch video game

Tacoma News TribuneDecember 19, 2013 

The video game "Republique" features a character named Hope who is trapped in a surveillance state.

COURTESY PHOTO

Thursday is a big day for Camouflaj, a video-game company started by University of Puget Sound alumnus Ryan Payton and his business partner Jeffrey Matthews, who is a UPS professor.

The first episode of Camouflaj's game "Republique" is scheduled to launch Thursday, Dec. 19, in the iTunes app store, according to a news release. Unlike many new games, it won't be free. It will cost $4.99 and for now is available only for Apple mobile devices. PC and Mac desktop versions will be released next year.

"We decided to ignore all the doomsday warnings from many of our industry colleagues and we are not going to follow the mobile ‘free-to-play’ trend," Payton said in the release. “We are committed to the premium approach that some of the top games, such as Sword and Sworcery and Infinity Blade, are taking, because it means quality, and it means treating the consumer with respect.”

The game explores the perils of government surveillance in the Internet age, the company says. A new episode will be released every 2-3 months, with the full game featuring about 10-15 hours of play.

Payton and Matthews raised $555,662 from 11,611 people for the game on Kickstarter, the online crowd-funding source. 

UPS students also had a hand in the game's making, the school said. Camouflaj used interns from business and computer science classes, and a student group did research for the company. Payton graduated from UPS in 2003. He founded Camouflaj in late 2011, after working as a producer in Japan on video game Metal Gear Solid 4 and as a Microsoft narrative designer on Halo 4.

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