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Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is a stealth and action video game released in 2013 for the Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The PC versions of Monaco were developed and published by Pocketwatch Games while the Xbox 360 version was published by Majesco Entertainment.

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
Poster for Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
Promotional poster in the style of a film poster
Developer(s) Pocketwatch Games
Publisher(s) Pocketwatch Games (PC)
Majesco Entertainment (X360)
Designer(s) Andy Schatz
Andy Nguyen
Artist(s) Adam deGrandis
Ben Swinden
Composer(s) Austin Wintory
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, Linux
Release
  • Windows
  • April 24, 2013
  • Xbox 360
  • May 10, 2013
  • Mac OS X
  • July 3, 2013
  • Linux
  • October 21, 2013
Genre(s) Action, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, cooperative

Separate from the game's single-player mode, Monaco's cooperative mode allows up to four players to partake in heists and robberies in different locations. Players choose one of eight characters, each of which has a unique and beneficial skill. The story consists of four acts: the first three follow characters' recollections of prior experiences, and the final act is from the perspective of the police.

Development of Monaco began while Andy Schatz, the lead developer, was working for TKO Software, before he founded his own independent company Pocketwatch Games. After discussions with Schatz, the soundtrack was composed by American composer Austin Wintory. Andy Nguyen, whom Schatz met while he was looking for playtesters, helped with the development of Monaco as a level designer and producer, as well as working in booths. Majesco Entertainment handled the release of the Xbox 360 version after Microsoft Game Studios had turned down the game twice.

The game was positively received by reviewers and won two awards at the 2010 Independent Games Festival. Reviewers praised the cooperative gameplay highly but said that the single-player was less fun because there was less to do. Many comparisons were made between Monaco and other media, most commonly the 1960 heist film Oceans 11. Reviewers liked the art style and said that its minimalistic design suited its gameplay.

Contents

GameplayEdit

 
Players can work together to pull off heists in many locations.

Monaco is a stealth–action game played in a top-down perspective. The game features both single-player and cooperative modes and allows up to four players to partake in heists and robberies in locations including nightclubs, mansions, and yachts.[1] There are eight characters, each with different traits and advantages. The Locksmith, the Cleaner, the Lookout, and the Pickpocket are available immediately, while the Mole, the Gentleman, the Redhead, and the Hacker must be unlocked by completing levels.[2][3] The Locksmith can open doors twice as fast as the other characters; the Cleaner can put guards to sleep; the Lookout is able to see enemies who are not in the player's direct line of sight; the Pickpocket owns a monkey which runs around collecting coins; the Mole can dig holes through walls and takes less time to open vents; the Gentleman has the ability to temporarily change his appearance, making the player less detectable to enemies; the Redhead can charm enemies into not attacking and make characters follow her; and the Hacker has the ability to upload computer viruses to security systems, resulting in them shutting off temporarily.[4][5]

There are many items that can be picked up including smoke bombs and C4 explosives,[6] as well as many different types of guns including a shotgun and a machine gun.[7] The gun's ammo is limited and is replenished by collecting ten coins which are scattered around the map. In the cooperative mode, the player who collects the coins is the only person whose gun receives more ammo.[8][9] Levels can be completed in many different ways based on which characters the player or players choose.[10] When playing in single-player mode, once a character is unlocked, it can be used to play through any level.[2] In cooperative mode, players work together to complete the levels. If one of the players dies, another must revive them before finishing the level.[9]

PlotEdit

Act one depicts the Locksmith being questioned by Inspector Voltaire, and his recollection of his recent actions with the Pickpocket, the Cleaner, and Lookout. They discuss their imminent deportation from prison in Monaco and escape on a truck alongside another inmate, the Mole. While stealing passports and money to get smuggled out of the country, they meet the Gentleman, who says he is under house arrest but leave. They attempt to depart from a harbor after disarming his booby-trapped yacht, and while doing so, The Gentleman receives a phone call from a man named Davide, after which the boat detonates. After getting help at a hospital, the thieves help the Gentleman dispose of evidence from a previous heist and rescue his girlfriend, the Redhead. They steal various valuables, including diamonds and artwork, and hire the Hacker. While attempting to steal from a casino, they are caught by the police and brought back to prison.

Inspector Voltaire then begins to interview the Pickpocket and says the Locksmith has already told him everything, but the Pickpocket remembers the events differently. His recollection is that the Hacker, the Redhead, and the Gentleman were also on the getaway truck. The Gentleman was in legal turmoil for money-related issues, so, after escaping, the thieves retrieve the money. This intrigued Inspector Voltaire as he believed the money was being used to smuggle them out the country, but it was actually used to smuggle weapons. The Pickpocket reveals that, while smuggling, they purposefully blew up the boat to distract Interpol. Though Inspector Voltaire is unaware, the Gentleman is in fact also Davide, and the thieves had adjusted the evidence of Davide's "murder". After confessing all of this to Inspector Voltaire, the Pickpocket reveals that he was a spy sent by Interpol. His alibi ends by saying the Gentleman has assumed Davide's identity and that if Inspector Voltaire attempts to confirm the story, the Gentleman will know one of his accomplices is a spy.

Inspector Voltaire then interrogates the Lookout about the background on the thieves in exchange for asylum. The first thief he asks about is the Mole, who she says has already been caught. She then tells him about herself and says she steals because of "a moral debt".[11] When discussing why the Locksmith disregards the law, she recalls a time when they went to Las Vegas and he got caught counting cards in blackjack and they broke his hand. This made him believe the world was in debt to him, too. When discussing the Pickpocket, she informs Inspector Voltaire that he used to be rich before he got arrested. She informs him that the Hacker had also been in trouble before, specifically when he was caught trespassing in Interpol's headquarters. She says the Gentleman garnered the nickname "The Rat" because he was responsible for calling the police and getting everyone put back in jail.[12] The Lookout tells Inspector Voltaire that the Redhead used to be called the Blonde and attempted to burgle the Gentleman's house but was caught, and they soon fell in love. The final thief she tells him about is the Cleaner, who she says is acting on behalf of his disabled brother. After disclosing this information, they begin discussing asylum.

The final act is based around Inspector Voltaire and Candide, a constable. Both are informed that the Locksmith, the Lookout, the Pickpocket, and the Hacker have escaped prison. The two officers attempt to catch the thieves again but fail. In the end, they meet the Gentleman and it is revealed that Candide works for him. Candide poisons Inspector Voltaire and the Mole disposes of the body.

Development and releaseEdit

 
Andy Schatz displaying Monaco at the Game Developers Conference in 2010

The idea for Monaco was first prototyped when Andy Schatz was working for TKO Software, a video game development company based in Santa Cruz, California. The game was originally inspired by the top-down minimap in the Hitman series and was described by Schatz as being similar to Jason Rohrer's 2014 video game The Castle Doctrine during Monaco's early stages of development.[1][13] His original plans were to develop and release Monaco as an Xbox Live Indie Games title. He said that when he was talking to people about it at this stage, he described it as "The Sims meets Diablo meets Hitman". The development at TKO was done in three weeks while the company solicited paying work. Schatz later left TKO and founded his own independent company, Pocketwatch Games.[13] After Pocketwatch Games experimented with simulation games, such as with 2006 Independent Games Festival finalist Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa, Schatz prototyped an early version of Monaco using Microsoft XNA to see if it worked on the Xbox 360 after fifteen weeks of development. This prototype won the IGF award for "Excellence in Design".[1] Shortly after this event, Valve Corporation approached Schatz and offered to get the game on the Steam distribution platform.[1]

 
Andy Schatz accepting the award at the 2010 Independent Games Festival for "Excellence in Design" after fifteen weeks of development

When Andy Schatz pitched the game to Microsoft Game Studios, it was turned down. Schatz responded, saying "they were crazy", and asked if he could repitch the game; they agreed to let him do so. He worked on it for another year to make it more marketable before repitching it and getting turned down again. After these events, Schatz got the impression that the game was not going to be released on the Xbox 360. This disappointed him, as he felt the platform's ease of working with and strong marketplace, as well as the prevalence of headsets for it would have made the Xbox 360 the perfect platform the game. Schatz considered releasing the game on PlayStation 3, but that never came to fruition.[13] Empty Clip Studios was brought onto the project in order to port the game to the RapidFire engine, so that the game could be released on the PlayStation 3, but the port was never finished.[13] In order to publish the game on Xbox Live, Schatz partnered with video game publishing company Majesco Entertainment.[1][14]

Schatz met Andy Nguyen while looking for playtesters in 2011. Schatz described Nguyen as a man he "clicked with" who made an energizing work environment and as a result,[13] Nguyen was hired to work in festival booths and to sell the company's merchandise at events. Nguyen did not know how to program, but he eventually became a level designer and producer for Monaco.[1] During its development, Nguyen quit his job at Citibank to devote more time to the game and Pocketwatch Games.[1]

The soundtrack for Monaco was composed by Grammy-nominated Austin Wintory, who had previously worked as the composer for games such as Flow and Journey. The original soundtrack and a remixed album called Gentleman's Private Collection were released on April 24, 2013. The soundtrack incorporates pianos and drums into what Christian Donlan (Eurogamer) thought was one of Wintory's best works yet.[15] Schatz was originally using licensed music but reached out to Wintory with the idea of replacing some of it with original pieces. Wintory subsequently persuaded him that a complete original soundtrack was warranted.[16] When Wintory was approached by Schatz, he was excited by the request because it involved using humorous "old-timey piano", opining "when else am I ever going to be asked to write anything remotely like this?"[16] Gentleman's Private Collection contains remixes of the original soundtrack by other composers, including Peter Hollens, Tina Guo who played the violin in the Journey soundtrack, and Chipzel who composed the soundtrack for Super Hexagon.[17] The full soundtrack and Gentleman's Private Collection were released onto Wintory's Bandcamp microsite.[18][19]

Monaco was released onto Microsoft Windows on April 24, 2013. The Xbox 360 version was delayed and ended up being released on May 10.[20][21] The Mac and Linux versions were released on July 3 and October 21, 2013, respectively.[22][23] Since the official release, Pocketwatch Games has updated the game to include more levels and minigames, including two campaign entries: "Origins"[24] and "Fin", the final chapter released to allow the developers to focus on Tooth and Tail.[25]

ReceptionEdit

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic PC: 83/100[36]
X360: 81/100[37]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer X360: 8.75/10[26]
Giant Bomb      [2]
IGN 9/10[3]
Polygon 7/10[27]
GameFront PC: 95/100[28]
Digital Spy PC:      [29]
Metro PC: 8/10[30]
VentureBeat PC: 80/100[31]
The Escapist X360:      [9]
Eurogamer Italy PC: 7/10[32]
Eurogamer Sweden PC: 8/10[33]
Awards
Publication Award
Independent Games Festival Seumas McNally Grand Prize[34]
Independent Games Festival Excellence in Design[1]
Destructoid Best 2013 co-op multiplayer[35]
Edit on wikidata  

Monaco was positively received by critics, garnering "generally favorable reviews" for both the PC and Xbox 360 releases.[36][37] Despite praise, the Xbox 360 release sold poorly and Andy Schatz believed this was due to the weak demo, the delayed release, and the bugs in the multiplayer mode.[38]

The cooperative mode, one of the leading selling points of the game, was highly lauded by reviewers. Marty Sliva (IGN), for instance, regarded it as being one of the best co-op experiences he'd had in a while. He continued to state that due to the gameplay mechanics, it was one of the most unique and addictive games released in 2013.[3] Jeff Grubb (VentureBeat) echoed Sliva's praise, noting the game's ability to be both an arcade and a strategic game.[31] James Murff (GameFront) said the mode had good replayability.[28] Despite the almost universal praise for the cooperative mode, reviewers did not express the same admiration for the single-player mode. Grubb, a reviewer who adulated the cooperative gameplay, noted the game should be skipped if there were no plans on playing it cooperatively.[31] Scott Nichols (Digital Spy) wrote similar, though less explicit statements, and remarked that while the game contained lots of content to discover, it is best done cooperatively.[29] Danielle Riendeau (Polygon) considered the single-player mode unfinished and that it needed work.[27] Roger Hargreaves (Metro) differed from the many other reviewers and proclaimed that while preferred the cooperative modes, he called single-player surprisingly compelling.[30]

Contrary to the mentions of good replayability, some reviewers criticised the repetitiveness of the levels. Francesco Serino (Eurogamer) criticised the variation between levels and said it wasn't too long before he was seeing similar levels because of the game's simplicity. He said that the levels are usually well made but are too often made for certain characters, which adds more gameplay because of the time it takes to discover the best strategies to complete a level.[32] Alex Navarro (Giant Bomb) proposed a similar viewpoint, stating some of the later levelsturned into "tedious exercises in trial-and-error".[2] Anton Bjurvald said that he fell in love with the simplicity of the graphics and liked the majority of the gameplay but said that it seemed like the game's artificial intelligence was made too easy to fool.[33]

Reviewers compared Monaco to other games and films. The most common comparison was to the 1960 heist film Oceans 11. Scott Nichols compared it to Oceans 11 because "with its ensemble cast, daring break-ins and carefully laid plans, it has all the makings of an interactive heist flick".[29] Anton Bjurvald (Eurogamer) also compared the game to Oceans 11.[33] Roger Hargreaves mentioned that he felt like the game was "Ocean’s Eleven meets Pac-Man and Metal Gear Solid". He compared it to Pac-Man because of the maze-like levels.[30]

Monaco sold enough copies for Andy Schatz to have "no complaints".[39] By March 2014, the game had sold over 750,000 copies[40] and by September, it had reached 1 million.[41]

AwardsEdit

In early 2010, fifteen weeks into the development of Monaco, the game won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize award at the 2010 Independent Games Festival, as well as the Excellence in Design award.[1] Monaco won Destructoid's Best of 2013 Co-op Multiplayer award[35] against titles like Diablo III, Guacamelee!, and Payday 2.[42] It was also a finalist in the 2010 Indie Game Challenge under the professional category.[43][44]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c d Navarro, Alex (April 24, 2013). "Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine Review". Giant Bomb. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Sliva, Marty (April 24, 2013). "Monaco: What's Yours is Mine Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ Hancock, Patrick (April 26, 2013). "Monaco: Tips and Tricks". Destructoid. Archived from the original on July 6, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
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  11. ^ Pocketwatch Games. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine. Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, Linux. Pocketwatch Games. Level/area: Origins: Prologue: The Lookout. The Lookout: 'But the soldiers came and took everything. There's a moral debt that's owed to me. The way I see it is the law doesn't apply until I'm paid back in full' 
  12. ^ Pocketwatch Games. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine. Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, Linux. Pocketwatch Games. Level/area: Origins: Prologue: The Gentleman. The Lookout: 'The Hacker knew how to put us in touch with The Rat once we were out.' Inspector Voltaire: 'The Rat?' The Lookout: 'The one who called the cops on us. The man responsible for putting us back in here. You probably know him as the Gentleman.' 
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    Timestamps:
    • Comparison to old-timey piano music: 0:40.
    • Andy Schatz originally wanting to use licensed music: 0:50.
    • Quote of "when else am I ever going to be asked to write anything remotely like this?": 2:56.
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External linksEdit