Gamers’ Republic

Gamers’ Republic is a monthly magazine primarily devoted to console games, as well as anime and other “hardcore” topics. (PC games got occasional coverage.) It was the second magazine launched by Dave Halverson (after GameFan), and its name and design were inspired by The Designers Republic, the creative team behind the visual look of the Wipeout series.

History

Dave Halverson, David Hodgson and a fair amount of other GameFan staff left its publisher, Metropolis Media, in late 1997. The circumstances behind this exodus are murky, but it was likely caused by growing friction within GameFan’s staff and between Metropolis’ business leaders.

Halverson’s new company, Millennium Publications, was set up to be both a magazine publisher and a producer of strategy guides, not unlike DoubleJump Books today. Gamers’ Republic was their magazine, and in approach it was a somewhat more mainstream version of GameFan — the same sort of in-depth coverage of a narrow band of games, but with a more professional look and less blatant fanboyism (although Halverson’s personality still dictacted the house style a great deal).

The magazine had its own website at gamersrepublic.com that updated regularly, although it never had the manpower to be a serious contender online. A translated version was also published in Italy.

Like GameFan before it, Gamers’ Republic ran into trouble keeping up a regular schedule or a harmonious staff environment. Outfits like Prima Publishing and Versus Books were virtually monopolizing the strategy-guide marketplace by this point, and the only big-name guide Millennium published was for Konami’s Metal Gear Solid. In early 1999, most of Millennium’s senior staff (including Hodgson, co-publisher Dave Rau, design head Greg Han, and editors Dave Rees, Dan Jevons, and Ryan Lockhart) left en masse after a falling-out with Halverson; the majority of them would end up at Computec Media and form the core team that launched the Incite magazines.

More internal dissension came in late 1999, about the time an issue with Acclaim’s South Park Rally on the cover was due. The cover (which reportedly stemmed from a deal Millennium had with Acclaim following their unpublished Turok 2 strategy guide) wasn’t exactly the sort of thing a “hardcore” magazine usually publishes, which led to long delays in the creative process. These delays coincided with the departure of the publisher, PR manager and circulation head at once, leading to the magazine skipping its February 2000 issue. (The South Park Rally cover still found publication in Italy.)

The March issue that followed had Working Designs’ Arc the Lad Collection as a feature exclusive, although the cover art was essentially identical to a spread on Arc the Lad II printed in GameFan a couple years previous. One of the designers left soon afterward.

This high staff turnover, coupled with a lack of money, caused Millennium to be in financial trouble by 2001. The final issue was published in August, after a last-ditch redesign that ended up foreshadowing much of Play’s style.

Halverson and crew, unfazed by the failure of Millennium, quickly built up another publisher and would launch Play in time for the 2001 holiday season.