A NEW HOPE FOR INDIES

SHAK­ING UP THE TRA­DI­TIONAL MODEL

PC & Tech Authority - - NEWS - Daniel Wilks

For decades the film and mu­sic in­dus­tries have en­joyed in­de­pen­dent in­vest­ment and pro­duc­tion ser­vices to help in­de­pen­dent artists bring their dreams to fruition, with film pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies such as Troma, IFC and A24 help­ing to pro­duce a huge num­ber of films with­out the re­stric­tions placed on artists by larger stu­dios, and in­de­pen­dent mu­sic pro­duc­ers be­ing a sta­ple of the record­ing in­dus­try since the ad­vent of record­ing. Now, in 2017, the in­de­pen­dent gam­ing world is get­ting the same ser­vice from Good Shep­herd.

FROM DE­VEL­OPER TO PUB­LISHER

Founded in 2011 in Am­s­ter­dam, Nether­lands, Gam­bi­tious Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment, a com­bined crowd­fund­ing por­tal and indie game pub­lisher has so far signed, funded and re­leased 18 games over eight di…ffer­ent gam­ing plat­forms. 12 of th­ese games at­tained prof­itabil­ity within the first twelve months of re­lease, a num­ber of those made profit within the first few months. Rather than rest on its lau­rels and con­tinue busi­ness as usual, Gam­bi­tious has re­branded and changed the role of the busi­ness from crowd-fun­der and pub­lisher to in­vest­ment por­tal and pro­ducer and the name of the com­pany to Good Shep­herd.

“This new wave of indies that De­volver and Gam­bi­tious have worked with to cre­ate new hit fran­chises are even smaller; Hot­line Mi­ami was made by two peo­ple, Reigns by two, Down­well by one, En­ter The Gun­geon by four, Bro­force by six... Small is good, small is cre­ative, small is pow­er­ful! It has al­ways been thus, but I think the in­dus­try did for­get this and get lost in the race to get big in the late 90s and early 00s. We love this time in the in­dus­try more than any time in our ca­reers for the sheer orig­i­nal­ity of games com­ing from such a wide new range of devel­op­ers from all over the world.”, says Mike Wil­son, co-founder of De­volver Dig­i­tal, the largest indie games pub­lisher in oper­a­tion, and Gam­bi­tious/ Good Shep­herd.

THE INDIE EN­ABLER

The main prob­lem with th­ese small teams of devel­op­ers is that it can be di–cult for them to have ac­cess to all of the tal­ent, let alone money they need to com­plete their projects. This is where Good Shep­herd comes in. Rather than sim­ply act­ing as a pub­lisher, the re­branded com­pany will act as a pro­ducer and fa­cil­i­ta­tor for indie de­vel­op­ment teams. “We pro­vide ev­ery­thing a de­vel­oper needs to see their cre­ation through to re­lease and be­yond”, says Wil­son, “from de­vel­op­ment/ com­ple­tion funds, test­ing and lo­cal­i­sa­tion help (we ship most games in nine to 11 lan­guages now), global PR teams, in­dus­try and shows, so­cial me­dia, ads and trailer pro­duc­tion... it goes on. But Good Shep­herd is also ex­cited to help indies with writ­ing, mu­sic, and voice act­ing when­ever pos­si­ble, to help raise the pro­duc­tion val­ues of indie games that can of­ten fall by the way­side due to a lack of re­sources or con­nec­tions”.

CHANG­ING THE GAME FOR THE LIT­TLE GUYS

As with the other en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­tries in which such in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions have ex­isted for years, there are no hard and fast rules for devel­op­ers to at­tract the no­tice of Good Shep­herd. Devel­op­ers can sub­mit their game for con­sid­er­a­tion through the com­pany’s web­site, but Mike Wil­son also says that Good Shep­herd will also be proac­tive in search­ing for de­vel­op­ment teams to foster, which is done by ap­proach­ing teams dis­cov­ered through footage viewed on­line, at game con­ven­tion or rec­om­mended through word of mouth.

The change of fo­cus and name also comes with a rather dras­tic change of scale. Gam­bi­tious for­merly had two o–ces – one in Los An­ge­les and one in Am­s­ter­dam – but will now have a pres­ence in seven di…er­ent time zones. In ad­di­tion to the two ex­ist­ing o–ces, seven new o–ces will be open­ing in Austin Texas, Lon­don, Seattle Wash­ing­ton, Gothen­burg Swe­den, Vic­to­ria Aus­tralia, Har­ris­burg Penn­syl­va­nia and Halifax Nova Sco­tia (Canada). An up­com­ing Rus­sian pres­ence has also been teased.

Good Shep­herd is cur­rently work­ing with devel­op­ers on five games that def­i­nitely re­flect the new global reach of the com­pany. Th­ese are: the Ital­ian pixel ac­tion game mod­elled af­ter the Poliziotteshi (Ital­ian crime films heav­ily in­flu­ences by Dirty Harry) of the 70s, Mi­lanoir; Amer­i­can sto­ry­telling game of hoboes and folk­lore, Where the Wa­ter Tastes like Wine; the French de­vel­oped evil lair sim­u­la­tor, Machi­av­il­lain; Bri­tish Cold War Space Sta­tion mys­tery, Out­reach and a mys­tery game ti­tled Phantom Doc­trine.

“Small is good, small is cre­ative, small is pow­er­ful!”

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