NO MAN'S SKY
INFINITE. EPIC. INDIE. THE INSIDE STORY
If you’ve been following conversations on gaming’s fringes lately, you may have noticed calls for the abolition of the word ‘indie’. It’s a label that has been slyly co-opted by marketing departments, the arguments go, its value as a meaningful adjective eroded to the point that we need to find a replacement. A key issue seems to be the difficulty involved in defining what ‘indie’ means in 2014. Is it something to do with the size of the team? The team’s artistic approach? The way the team distributes its work? No, no and no. Perspectives like these are too narrow to be of any practical use. But how about this? Being indie means not having to answer to anyone but yourself. Finding a 100-per-cent bulletproof definition is impossible, but whether you’re a 300-person operation like Valve or a one-man band like Terry Cavanagh, whether you’re making a balls-out FPS or a meditative puzzler, whether you’re chancing your arm via Steam or giving away games for free, this one feels sturdier than most.
The reality is that sometimes we need shorthand like ‘indie’ for things like magazine covers, when we’re trying to emphasise, within a limited amount of space, a central aspect of a game like No Man’s Sky. And let’s be really clear, that’s all this is: shorthand. We’re not attempting to force something into a box that may not be the right shape or size.
The work of indie creators is a recurrent theme in this issue. In Hype, we visit The Chinese Room to take our first steps into the mysterious world of Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, and in our features section we talk to the studio’s fellow pioneers in this new genre. Elsewhere, we spend some hands-on time with cover game No Man’s Sky, and also catch up with Martin Kenwright, the ex-Evolution Studios man who cut loose from Sony five years ago and is now making a comeback on his own terms. Then there is our look into the world of console ROM hackers, a group that couldn’t be operating any farther outside of the establishment’s walls.
OK, that’s ‘indie’ sorted, then. Now, about ‘triple-A’…