Vblank Entertainment Inc.
games   contact   store       twitter  facebook

Surprise! Retro City Rampage: DX is out now for PSP, and it's FREE for all PS4, PS3 & PS Vita owners! This makes it a momentous 4X Cross Buy !

Surprise, again!  Due to the overwhelming requests, the PS4 retail version is being re-released, with brand new cover and disc art! The first 3,000 copies of this new version are individually numbered, and include a PSP manual and retail display set, commemorating the new PSP version.

Pre-orders are NOW OPEN. It's region free and ships worldwide.

Head over to the Vblank Store to grab it!

PSP, WHAT?!

The PSP port surprisingly dates back to '09. It was shelved in favor of the PS Vita version, but after the success of the PS4, PS Vita and MS-DOS retail releases, the dream of having the game on UMD suddenly seemed viable. I started finishing it up as a side project, but unfortunately, UMD production halted without warning and made that impossible.

Despite the news, I decided to release it anyway; digitally, for free to owners of the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita versions. Plus, UMD or not, it's still getting a special PSP retail display set, included with the first 3,000 copies of the new PS4 Retail Version! In addition to those, you can download the UMD disc label digitally, here, and see what could've been.

The PSP was one of the first platforms I worked on after entering the industry, and RCR:DX's PSP version is my opportunity to give it a nice send off. The handheld will always hold a place in my heart, both as a gamer and as a developer.

With UMD production discontinued and the PS Store on PSP closed, Retro City Rampage: DX will likely mark the final PSP game ever released, but it can still be downloaded onto your PSP via your download list, or via USB using your PS3 or PC.

 

RETAIL MOVING FORWARD, A WIN-WIN

Retro City Rampage's 2014 PS4 retail version was an incredible success, but unfortunately many of you missed it! So, due to the overwhelming requests, it's being re-released!

This re-release boasts brand new cover art, disc art and a manual, easily distinguishing it from the original. Owners of the 2014 copy can rest easy, knowing it remains as rare as it always was.

This time around, it will have an open print run to ensure that fans won't miss their chance again, for the foreseeable future. To reward the dedicated fans and collectors who pre-order it right away though, the first 3,000 copies boast a gold cover variant and special bonuses!

The first 3,000 copies are individually numbered and will include:

  • a PS4 retail version with a gold logo cover variant
     
  • a PSP display case & manual
     
  • Digital copies for PC, Mac, Linux & MS-DOS
    (Steam Key)

Don't miss future retail releases!
Get product alerts CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

The new PS4 retail version can be pre-orderd from the official Vblank Store right now!

You can alsograb the PSP version on the PlayStation Store right now*!

(PSP version out now in North America, next week in Europe)


INDIE RETAIL SELF-PUBLISHING

Self-publishing a PS4 retail game was one of the highlights of my career. From working through the ranks at other game studios, to starting my own, to becoming a retail publisher, it felt both so earned and so rewarding.

In 2014, after over a year of speaking with Sony off and on about the idea, I was finally ready to test the waters. I had no idea how many to produce or how quickly it would sell out, but was ready to find out! Some thought I was crazy for doing it at all, while others recommended printing half as many to be safe. I know this sounds crazy in hindsight, but remember that there was no precedent. At the time, the consensus was that I was crazy for doing it at all, not crazy for printing so few! I chose a number that I was comfortable with, since it was all out of pocket, and crossed my fingers. I told myself that even if I didn't quite break even, having a physical copy in my hands would make it worth it. Of course, they sold out right away and the rest is history, but it really was a huge risk at the time.

One barrier at the time was surprisingly the ESRB rating. Retail ratings add a significant per-unit cost when it comes to small print runs. Luckily, Rocco at the ESRB revealed that it could be printed without one, since I was selling it directly online. Armed with this knowledge, Sony still needed to adjust some internal processes, since they'd never released anything unrated before, but Brian Silva and the team took care that! Retail self-publishing became one step easier!

All that was left was to decide on how to ship them all out. Knowing the dread of packing a couple thousand boxes myself, I reached out to Fangamer to do that for me, and it was ready to go!

There I was, a one man shop, self-publishing a game from start to finish! It was amazing! The gates were open, and other indies would follow suit, to the joy of collectors and fans everywhere.

THE PSP SEMI-PHYSICAL EDITION

I followed up the initial PS4 retail version with a PS Vita one, already knowing what I wanted number three to be. While the next logical step for an ordinary publisher would've been to target other big platforms, I chose to go in a different direction. The success of the game itself has given me the means to set time aside for true passion projects; projects which may have little or no financial return. Mad science projects. "Just because I can" projects. So for round three, I fulfilled another dream and produced an MS-DOS floppy disk version!

With those off my bucket list, RCR on bluray, cartridge, and a floppy disk, my next dream was to release a UMD PSP version. This was special to me for several reasons. First and foremost, fans would finally get a chance to play the mysterious unreleased port; it wouldn't just be collecting dust on my hard drive. Secondly, its physical media is no ordinary disc, nor a cartridge; it's a unique medium that we'll never see again. Finally, some of the first commercial games I worked on were PSP titles, so it would be a sentimental "full circle" milestone for me. However, much like Google's "20% time", there was still the 80% "real work" that I needed to get back to, my next game, Shakedown: Hawaii. So, it went onto the to-do list for later.

I made the promise to all of you that if the UMD factory was still running after Shakedown: Hawaii was done, I'd wrap up RCR's PSP version and make it a reality. My fingers were crossed, but an email finally came, notifying me that UMD production was ceasing. I dropped everything and went to work immediately, trying to wrap up the port and send it off, while Brian and Shane at Sony rushed around on my behalf trying to get the deadline extended… but it was too late. The moment that email had come in, the doors were already closed. I went back to working on Shakedown… but that near finished PSP port just sitting there, still lingered on my mind.

I started thinking about other options. Even without the UMD, maybe the PSP cover art and a manual could still be printed? Maybe if there were a new PS4 retail release, it could simply be packed in as a bonus item? And there we had it! RCR would not only see the light of day on PSP, but it would still kinda-sorta have a semi-physical edition too!

I can't thank Sony enough, because I know how they busy are with all of the tent pole games in their pipeline. It's one thing for me to devote my own time to these mad science projects, but for them to generously help out was greatly appreciated.

CARE AND ATTENTION, WITH EACH PORT

With each new port, I discover new ways to improve the game. They're never mere carbon copies, and the improvements often make their way back over to the other platforms. Whether it's discovering ways to improve the lock-on targeting, or optimizing it to run on lower spec hardware, it ever evolves for the better.

I've previously spoken about how I rolled the MS-DOS optimizations back into the 3DS version via an update, but the constant iteration benefits not just performance, but also gameplay.

At its core, RCR supports two shooting control options. There's a single fire button which locks onto the nearest target you're facing, and a twin stick option for controllers with a right stick. Unfortunately, the PSP lacks a second stick, so I could only include the former. Luckily though, I'd recently tweaked the game to play well on touch screen devices, and one such tweak involved implementing a new targeting system. The new system improved auto-aim and lock-on to compensate for the fact that touch screens are less precise than joysticks. I quickly realized though, that the more generous auto-aim actually benefited the game on all platforms -- especially PSP. So, despite the missing right stick, shooting with a single fire button on PSP is still very effective. Swimming controls are also tighter now, thanks to tweaks made for touch devices too.

Although PSP screens were a huge step forward for the time, you might remember that first gen ones had significant ghosting issues. Games with colorful palettes and minimal use of black played well with the screen, while those with a heavy use of black and lots of motion fared rather poorly. RCR's cartoony style makes heavy use of black outlines, so it didn't fare well right off the bat. However, I tuned the black levels down to a very dark grey instead, and the ghosting became minimal. Best of all, players would have a hard time noticing it was changed at all on real PSP screens, unless they knew to look.

SCALPERS vs FANS & THE PS4 RE-RELEASE

The 2014 PS4 retail version sold out so quickly that many fans missed it, and worse, many copies wound up in the hands of scalpers. I'd greatly underestimated demand, but also wanted to keep my word that it would be a single printing. My initial solution was to follow it up with a physical PS Vita copy -- that way, everyone would have a second chance to own a physical copy and the PS4 one would remain unaffected. I increased the print run, and it initially looked like I'd estimated well -- everyone got their copy and everyone was happy... at first.

In the time since, Retro City Rampage's fan base has grown, as have the requests for a reprint. Many new fans weren't even aware of the retail version when it was released.

The current state of scalping is out of control. The price of the PS4 and PS Vita versions are exorbitant. Most fans are unable to afford a copy, while the rest feel ripped off. To add insult to injury, even those who received complementary gift copies succumbed to the temptation to sell theirs! (Watch out for copies with holes punched in the UPC code, those are them!)

Keeping fans happy is my number one priority, but this is a scenario where I can't please everyone. One side wanted a reprint, the other wanted their PS4 copy to retain its holy grail status.

In an effort to meet in the middle, I chose to do a reprint, but with brand new cover art, created specifically for it. The original print run is still just as rare as it always was, but fans still wanting a physical copy will no longer need to buy one from a scalper.

I'm going to leave the door open on the size of the print run this time, but to give something extra to the dedicated fans and collectors who pre-order right away. The first 3,000 units will be individually numbered, boast a gold logo variant, include the PSP display set, and digital copies of the game.

Pre-orders open on Friday, so be sure to subscribe to product alerts so you don't miss it!


Brian Provinciano
Developer of Retro City Rampage