indie game: the movie - the game

I suppose in a way the title of this post is actually unrelated to what I want to talk about; but let's just ponder what a game about this amazing movie would be like for a second. I'm thinking it's slightly similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, in that you must work on your gamein order for it to ever be in a state for release, however, work on it too much and you will lose your sanity. Obviously, as an indie developer you will most definitely end up working on it too much, and will inevitably go mad.

Anyway; on to what I wanted to talk about. This superbly executed documentary was a beautiful snippet of the highs and lows of indie development. I, myself, have not yet been in a position to commit myself to a several year project. However, I can only imagine what a roller coaster of emotions it could prove to be. I felt an honesty and sincerity in every frame of the film, and the raw passion and real emotions truly came through.

As a besides, I very much felt bad about my skills as a programmer as a result of seeing these massively talented individuals struggle but produce so much amazing content. I adored Super Meat Boy, and have to ashamedly admit that I still have not yet played Fez. Regardless, the people in this look into the life of indie games developers were some of the most awesome people I have had insight to.

I would recommend the film to anybody, and considering the subject matter, that's not something I would have been expecting to say. The two faces behind the production of Indie Game: The Movie; Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky; clearly have a truly outstanding knack for dramatising what I would assume 'undramatisable'. The process is exciting somehow, without being over the top or underplayed.

So I guess I'm saying please watch the film, because after seeing it, despite how depressing games development proved it could be; it made me more thrilled to make games than ever.

the triple a indie developers

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.