This article is part of the ongoing series, “Our Ship It Journal”. Written by the team directly involved, the series looks at the full, uncut journey of creating an independent game studio.
So, what do you do? Indie Games?
As soon as you get started with a new game, the market asks you to label yourself: Indie, AA, AAA, super-unicorn-AAA?
And that's stupid, because it’s never about how you see yourself. We all know that in the end only the game matters and it can only be seen as good or bad.
But with all this yada-yada, you still have to answer it in order to guide people to ‘file you’ with a label that you feel comfortable with. So what would you choose?
How to CALL ourselves?
At the first glance, behind the left door were the typical indie developers who are trying to experiment in their spare time, on shoestring budgets, with crazy mechanics and retro graphics that bring back the good old times.
Behind the right door were the typical AAA blockbusters, with hyper-budgets and years of work with thousands of developers, which are taking most of the market but still playing safe, every year, with their franchises.
But Indie Games are not just about Super Meat Boy, Fez or Limbo as AAA games are not only about Assassin's Creed, GTA V or Call of Duty type of game. There is a fine line between these two.
So what's in between?
Here stand the developers who seek to create high quality games which cannot be made on an indie budget (without great sacrifices in terms of quality or content), yet don’t have huge marketing power, because of the self-publishing. Small/mid-sized or AA-games—whatever you call them these days—create memorable experiences and they push the industry forward, connecting to the players in a meaningful way.
Even without the spectacle of a blockbuster, these type of games have a heart and soul. They will never stop to impress.
We chose to build our studio and create our games in a way that refines the existing norms and stereotypes.
For some, the Indie/AA is used as a weapon while to others it’s just a reason to dismiss a game outright.
For us it's a reminder that we have the freedom and the fulfilling responsibility to make incredible things happen.