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Why Indie Games Matter

IndieMonth | 576d ago
User blog

By Tadej Kupčič, Project Director, Programmer

A couple of days ago, I was getting so hyped up and excited for this year's E3, I couldn't even sleep. It's the first E3 after all three major consoles were released and I was hoping for some new IPs (intellectual properties) since now is the best time to announce those. New consoles are more powerful, meaning you can implement mechanics you weren't able to before, and new IPs are perfect for that.

After the shows were over, I was feeling a bit... disappointed. Yes, sure, they showed a couple of great looking sequels and we did get a few new IP announcements, like Bloodborne (which is technically a spiritual sequel to Demon's Souls) that got me pretty excited, even though they didn't show any gameplay. But nothing spectacular, nothing I would go and say damn, I must play this right now! It seems like the whole industry is playing it safe, creating the same old cinematic cover shooters and MOBA clones. Am I just getting old or was it always like that? Am I growing out of gaming, becoming like all the other grown ups who say that everything is going down the toilet?

So I took a look back and saw what games were released one or two years after the launch of last generation of consoles. There were games like Bioshock, Crysis, Stalker, Dead Space, Crackdown, Overlord, Lair, Stranglehold, Witcher, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect and more. All of those are more or less decent games, but they promised something new or exciting. Destroyable environments, being an evil overlord, travelling through space as a space ship commander, becoming a medieval assassin and so on - it was fresh and exciting. Developers were promising new features that would either improve the current gameplay mechanics, create imaginative, amazing new worlds or just try something that hasn't been done before. And even if the game wasn't anything new, it was still made with love and attention to detail, which gave it a special atmosphere.

It seems that I was right. Developers are just playing it safe and sticking to the same dull mechanics and turning game making into nothing more than a straight forward, soulless business. Even worse, each sequel is usually dumbed down and simplistic to cater to lowest common determinator, abandoning the fans in hope of gaining the players of whatever game is the most popular at that moment. And finally, if the game is successful, they shower us with season passes and expensive DLC that should've been in the main game. If the game isn't successful, they blame piracy. I'm unhappy with what AAA games are turning into and every time I mention this to someone, I get spat on and called a hater, an elitist. People just accept this, without thinking what it will do to consumers in the long run.

Now to get to my point - this is why indie games matter. They create games with love, worrying more about the quality of the final product rather than profit. Also, big publishers used to ignore smaller genres that were once popular, like the survival horror genre for example, but now we've proven that those games can indeed make a profit. Not the same kind of profit like Call of Duty, but still enough. It seems like they noticed and now we're receiving quite a handful of AAA horror titles again, like The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation. I'm sure indie game developers are going to continue with innovating gaming - hopefully enough for the mainstream publishers to follow our lead and once again lovingly create amazing, fresh experiences like they once did.

Day 12 | Cowardly Creations

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MrxDeath  +   576d ago
"They create games with love"

and that what the Gamers want !!
i love indie and i support the Dev !!!
and there are a lot of indie that are better than AAA !
randomass171  +   573d ago
Developer passion is almost always a sign of good things to come.
oasdada  +   576d ago
I have to admit recently all or most innovation is seen in indie games imo
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s45gr32  +   576d ago
s45gr32  +   576d ago
You forgot to mentioned that some indie games got published by gamers aka kickstarter projects like Among The Sleep, FTL, Chivalry, etc. You also forgot about modders turning their mods into commercial games like Dear Esther, Natural Selection and of course Dota which started as a map mode for starcraft two. Yup indie game developers are leading the way into new genres like the survival genre the forest, rust, day z, the unproven lands all in bloody alpha at the moment aaaaargh!!!!!😭 crossing fingers for these games to release next year. Oh yeah the return of space sims Star Citizen, No Man's Sky yay , Elite Dangerous and such games. All of these games mentioned coming from indy game developers that got their game published by gamers, going from modder to indy game developer, etc. Go indie, Go Ubisoft what Ubisoft invited me to their E3 party . I don't know mainstream game developers like you said and I highly agree are playing it safe......
oasdada  +   576d ago
Touche ;)
Mokastro  +   576d ago
I think the interview, was really about spirit of developers wiliness to attempting new things,than sticking to the marketable norms. Before indie games got successful support from kickstarter. Game developer probably are dependent on Mainstream publisher's opinion on what the Market will prefer. Which basically killed by Fav point&click adventure genre.

Dota,CS,etc.. modded game that got massively popular and picked up by publishers, says alot about how Publishers don't know what gamers want to play. Cause there were loads & loads of games of the similar genre after this 2 games.

IMO. Sony, Micrsoft and other more Mainstream publisher are just now playing CatchUp, realising they are missing out on the party, which in their opinion games that are not marketable to us.
Mokastro  +   576d ago
Good read. Thank god for Indies and Devs that are willing to revive/reattempt genre's that were deemed "Dead". I thought i would never see another horror, space-sim, or adventure titles in the midst of game releases saturated with cover-Shooters & Sequels.
Derekvinyard13  +   576d ago
All you need is love :-)
MYDEATH21  +   576d ago
I hate people hating on indie games. the devs put put a lot of T.L.C. into these games and all you hear is people crying for AAA rehashed FPSs -__-
SpeedDemon  +   576d ago
I agree, they are playing it safe and will continue to as long as people are buying the games. We see way too many sequels of games and not enough new AAA IP's, I'm not saying people should stop buying them, there is still a lot of game sequels that I enjoy even tho they offer basically the same experience as the game before it had. I wonder just how many Call of Duty and Battlefield games will be made before the larger amount of gamers grow bored with them.
shadowvisa  +   576d ago
mydyingparadiselost  +   576d ago
"It seems like the whole industry is playing it safe, creating the same old cinematic cover shooters and MOBA clones. Am I just getting old or was it always like that? Am I growing out of gaming, becoming like all the other grown ups who say that everything is going down the toilet?"
This is why indie devs are so important and why the AAA industry has lost a lot of support from me. I've seen many genre come and go, many of which I really liked, and replaced by nothing but shooters and F2P micro transactions. I like action games, old school JRPGs, platforming and puzzle solving, reading, games with gorgeous art styles and deep stories, new gameplay mechanics, new takes on old ways of playing, games where the developers get to use their imaginations without worry about PR marketing or season passes or DLC and micro transactions, well thought out level design and games made for and by people that care about games in the way I care about games. The AAA industry, for the most part (and excluding Nintendo) don't seem to want my money anymore but indies do, they're striving to bring back the things I love so much about gaming and I wish every single one of them the best for it.
Monster_Tard  +   576d ago
"hopefully enough for the mainstream publishers to follow our lead and once again lovingly create amazing, fresh experiences like they once did."

I hope so too.
beepbopadoobop  +   576d ago
Indie devs are definitely needed to keep pushing the types of games we dont often see
dictionary  +   576d ago
I cowardly buy their product
LukeFair  +   576d ago
I agree on what you said. AAA games nowadays are becoming too mainstream, restricted to the same gameplay mechanics just to earn safe cash. There are few big studios that experiment innovations lately and that is why i'm partially hating this generation. Only Japanese games studios are the ones that still put some innovation (and craziness too) in their games, that's why I love them!
KingKelloggTheWH  +   576d ago
Indie games will become bigger as Engines get better at making games easier.

Soon Games like Uncharted will be made by indie teams, interesting times are ahead.
Pachitaku  +   576d ago
horror survival meets pixel graphic.
I'm so excited for this game, the design is catching me really hard c:

I'm happy to see the gameplay soon~
LightDiego  +   576d ago
For a lot of people, No Mans Sky was the best game of the E3, an indie game. Great games always coming from indie developers, they are saving the industry.
XtraTrstrL  +   576d ago
We need the great indies to continue to grow their teams to the point they are as big as AAA, but still stay indie. The publishers are always the one's doing the crap to rip us off through rushed buggy games to day-1 $ DLC and other nonsense.
cowardlycreations  +   575d ago
That's our plan!
XtraTrstrL  +   575d ago
Awesome! It'll make it that much easier to back you without hesitation in the future. (As long as it's always a good game to go with your good will towards gaming consumers.) ;)
BiggCMan  +   576d ago
Because they keep the creativity flowing!!
coolbeans  +   576d ago
I can understand where he's coming from when listing the ambitions early 7th gen new IP's had. From a heavier emphasis on storytelling, even if so often of the oft-voiced "oil and water" variety (cutscene/gameplay/cutscene), to the world design it felt like there was more enthusiasm for that.

That's not to say stuff is terrible now--heck, I purchased an Xbox One already, only that the excitement of "new" is more parceled out between lower and higher budget stuff (heavily in favor of lower).
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KrazyBomb  +   576d ago
I definitely agree with indies being center stage right now in pushing innovation; I think it might take another year or two for the AAA companies to try to push innovation again before sinking back into the safe zone. Not that I mind the indies though; the games are cheap, fun, and interesting. Not to mention made with the utmost care.
Darklurkr23  +   576d ago
Indies are always for those "Artsy" types. A lot of indies I'm just looking at like ".......what?" Then some of them are lke Omgomgogm sooo good. But everyone needs their games
cowardlycreations  +   575d ago
Nothing wrong with diversity.
rambi80  +   576d ago
The success of the indie developers is a direct response by consumers to attempts at homogenizing the gaming landscape by the bigger players in the industry.

Nice to see genres revived.
ichizon  +   576d ago
Both the AAA industry and indie developers make good and bad games. Indie games are always interesting to check out because they might not follow a tried and true formula, whereas AAA games will probably be mostly the same as something else, but with a couple of cool new mechanics.

I think Cave Story was amongst the first modern indies to hit our hearts by making something nostalgic but still fresh. There are a ton of free indie games on the web, but the craving for fresh games caused more of them to come out of hiding and try to have higher production values. With publishers like Atlus, NIS and now Sony being interested in "indies" along with Steam's Greenlight, indie development has taken off completely.

Money grubbing and low quality clones are becoming a huge issue though, even giving indies a bad rep, I'd say. How many Flash and RPG Maker games are out there today. At least Unity brings more versatility to accessible indie development. I hope the industry (Greenlight, Early Access and such) manages to clean itself up before it's too late. Indie devs have far too good a reputation right now to let it go to waste for the future generation.
TreFord  +   576d ago
Indie games make the world go round
dota2champion  +   576d ago
Indie developers bring out the more creative stuff. They also tend to bring back some of the dead genres of gaming.
talkalot80  +   576d ago
Omg the 1st Dead Space was amazing. When I was playing it reminded me of playing the first resident evil years ago. I was thinking about the feeling it gave me yesterday, odd I just read this article. Also I JUST saw that alien game, looks awesome. Survival horror & puzzles for the win!
Pirinos  +   576d ago
Indie games ftw
Virtua_Awesome  +   575d ago
I can definitely see where you're coming from. This years E3, for the most part, didn't really have a lot of new IPs. To me though, there was one new IP that truly got me excited as a gamer: Splatoon. That game was just so darn fun looking :)

Indie devs really are the ones truly innovating and taking risks these days though, no doubt about that. Indies will probably end up saving the AAA game industry... because the AAA industry will probably just end up copying all the fun, new ideas that indies come up with.
jpepsi24  +   575d ago
i wish i could play more indie games
grashopper  +   575d ago
Glad to see someone keeping survival horror alive.
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