o t alone
Earlier last month, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was released to rave reviews; the game racked an overwhelmingly positive response from players, and was highly recommended for its beautiful storyline. Despite being a triple-A experience, Hellblade is a completely independent title, self-funded by England-based studio, Ninja Theory.
Developing it was a big, multimilliondollar risk for the studio, but one that meant Ninja Theory held the reins for the them to design Hellblade on their own terms, compared with the approach bigtime publishers would take to churn a bankable product. The result was a work of art that would sell over 100,000 copies
experimental, niche games, indie developers today are growing and taking more of the spotlight, as they make their way onto consoles and PCs, endorsed by publishers like Sony and Microsoft, and facilitated through programs like Steam Direct (previously known as Greenlight). As the cost of triple-A releases from larger, more established publishers skyrocket, blockbuster releases are being produced less frequently, resulting in a with their indie titles.
And it’s getting easier to make a game in today’s world, thanks to advancing tech and the ready availability of software that can get these means done. What most self-published games may not match in visual luster and polish of high-budget titles, however, they often make up in gameplay or style, which helps them distinguish themselves from other entries in the market. Shoestring of making their games more interesting, engaging, and appealing to the player, and the results are entries that draw inspiration from other gaming successes, but break the traditional boundaries that often restrict conventional game design.
crowdfunding solves, with developers turning to platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo for help. The advent of backers, with their wallets at the ready across the globe, gives small enterprises a place to demonstrate their ideas, concepts, and thinking behind their work, securing funding before they even begin. Gone are needs for bank loans and publishers; the title in development is now a shared risk with the public at large.
It may seem that self-publishing is the way to go, but producing and publishing an indie game successfully is not as easy as it sounds. Not everything becomes Hellblade or Minecraft, the latter of which is no doubt one of the gaming world’s biggest, most popular independent releases. After all, the saleability of a title relies on several factors.
backgrounds may help improve a game’s overall look, feel, and sheen, it’s pitching and getting it to the right people that drives awareness and subsequently, sales. Developers also need to be mindful about the kind of experience they’re giving to players, ensuring that they strike a balance between making a statement and something that’s playable, or risk creating shovelware that gamers are just going to overlook.
All in all, indie game development is not for everybody, and there are a building, and marketing their creations to make it successful. It’s true when they say that anyone can make a game, but it’s having the right reason, panache, and drive to bring it all together cohesively to deliver a unique experience that makes one stand out.