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Video Game / Sub Rosa

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It's the 1980's. Corporate espionage is at an all time high. Information is currency, and shady corporations will do anything to obtain it. That's where you come in- you're an average corporate spy, keen on rising up the ladder of success and earning cold, hard, cash. Through cooperation with your teammates, you must complete your missions by any means necessary.

Sub Rosa is a multiplayer First-Person Shooter for PC with a corporate espionage flavor. The main gameplay hook is that there are three teams (each representing a different corporation) who are each given a mission at the beginning of a round. They are then allowed to complete this mission any way they see fit, with the main catch that it's possible for all three teams to win depending on the scenario. Generally, the goal is collect a disk hidden somewhere on the map. It's either out in the game world as a dead drop, being carted around by an A.I driver, or, most likely, one of the other teams already has it. By using a phone, a player can call a member of the other team and negotiate a drop point for exchanging the goods. Any number of elements can influence these deals, however. Betrayals, ambushes, secret deals and more are all possible and rewarded through clever planning.


Other unique gameplay mechanics include:

  • Completely physics based movement. Your character moves about differently depending on how fast you're going, being able to switch between a quick sprint, a slow-ish walk, and a nearly immobile aiming stance. You can dive through windows, hop over counters, slide over car hoods, and more.
  • Deliberately difficult mechanics. Aiming and firing a gun is much harder than in just about any other game, as your gun is a physical element of your character model while equipped. As a result, actually hitting people can be much more difficult than it seems. Driving is also quite hard, and the game uses a dual-hand system for holding items that can be a bit of a hassle in stressful situations.
  • Randomized missions. Every round, the mission will be different. Sometimes, two corps need to bargain money with a third who has a disk, and sometimes a dead drop will be placed on the map for the three corps to fight over.
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  • Localized voice chat. Pressing the push-to-talk key allows everyone around you to hear you speak, meaning whispering, yelling, and talking normally all effect volume as they normally would. There are also text versions of all of these, with the text being able to be seen through walls depending on how close you are to the source. Each team is also given a cell phone with which they may call the other teams.

The original version of Sub Rosa was created during a 7 Day FPS Game Jam in 2012. It entered Steam Early Access later that year, and remains in development as of 2019. Due to a range of issues, the game has become unlisted from normal searches on Steam, and can only be found through a direct link here.

No relation to the American metal band.

Tropes present in this game:

  • The '80s: Cell phones are the size of bricks, cars are massive and loud, and everyone's either got great hair, or really weird hair.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: You can slide and shoot while diving ala Max Payne, but it'll likely get you shot up by people who are actually aiming their guns.
  • Breather Episode: Limo rounds serve as this, as most of the time it devolves into a simple race to take down the limo and get the disk. The limo may also be carrying two or even three disks, meaning everyone gets a chance to work together and get what they need, since the disk they're assigned to get is the only one they can profit from.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Hell no they're not. Cell phones are one of the most crucial tools a corp team has with them, as it allows for communication with the other teams. This allows corps to plan and coordinate across the map, and can be used to set up betrayals and double-crossings.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Many game mechanics are deliberately difficult to incentivize negotiation over running and gunning. This includes something as simple as firing and reloading a gun, which is almost as complicated as in Receiver. note  Getting skilled at quickly reloading is crucial in a firefight, and learning how the aiming system works makes getting headshots much easier.
    • There almost needs to be an entire section on this page discussing how hard it is to properly aim your gun. Due to the fact that it's your actual character model aiming the gun, the crosshair isn't completely representative of your actual cone of fire. When aiming, most guns will fire up and slightly to the right of the middle of the crosshair, and firing off a few rounds will send the gun kicking straight up with powerful recoil. This means that even the slightest movement can greatly offset your aim. Mastering this can put you at a massive advantage over other players, who fumble around with their firearms while you line up headshots.
  • Emergent Gameplay: This is ultimately what makes the game so fun- the element of randomness and player creativity. The map is big, there are numerous places to do deals, and numerous ways to complete your mission. It's entirely possible for your entire team to die and still not technically "lose" the round by depositing your funds into your safe before heading out, allowing you not to lose all the money you would originally by going ahead with a deal. The ability to call other teams on the cell phone and coordinate makes every match tense, as you ultimately don't know who's plotting with who- everyone may be at each other's throats, or everyone can walk away alive.
  • Mega-Corp: Who you work for.
  • Ragdoll Physics: It's almost sad how easy it is to flail about and fall down a flight of stairs if you're not careful. The game actually integrates this into gameplay, with movement affecting everything from aiming to balance.


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