Whilst the title might sound self-contradictory, the phenomena is now a perfectly valid and real one. A relatively large amount of development leads have been leaving their studios along with their high-up jobs and huge salary, and are seeking out an independent development experience. They're forming smaller studios, making smaller games, but most importantly; making the games that they've wanted to make all along.
One day I'd probably love to delve into what events have coincided to provide the industry with the perfect situation in which to be an 'indie' developer. Just as much as I'd probably love to work out what an 'indie' developer really even is. However, for now, this clear movement towards making these more creative games without the constrictions of big-time publishers is fascinating enough.
Jordon Mechner, Peter Molyneux, David Jaffe, John Watson, Tim Schafer. These once Triple A developers, now making games without the pressure that comes alongside a hundred million dollar budget. They are also just a few examples, out of the hundreds or others, of people who have ditched these large-scale studio environments.
We're in a time now where these innovative, creative, and quite frankly, genius people are saying that they want to make the games they haven't had the freedom to. As well as that, we're in a time where these people have the ability to do something about it. Forming a smaller studio is no longer a ridiculous concept. With the rise of Steam, XBLA, PSN, and probably most notably, the iOS platform; selling smaller games has never been more easy. I, myself, am working with 9 other people on an iOS game. The difficulty and hard-work is still undoubtedly there, but the intensity of publishers constantly requesting updates, and setting deadlines and expectations for sales is gone.
This is one of the most incredible times to be a developer. The avenues are near-infinite, the audience bigger than ever, and the technology the most impressive and intuitive it has ever been. I, for one, could not be happier with this new direction in the games industry. When Peter Molyneux, a hero of mine, is outright saying that he now has the ability to make the game of his dreams; well, that makes me an extremely excited and content young man.