It’s a spiritual thing. A body thing. A soul thing
Ask any independent developer about Keita Takahashi or his games and they’ll tell you a different story. Capy Games’ Nathan Vella has a running joke with him, for instance, which involves the Katamari Damacy man (and co-designer of this issue’s cover) begging him for a job every time he sees him. Tommy Refenes, co-creator of Super Meat Boy, recalls the night he popped his Katamari cherry; visiting a friend in Amsterdam, he’d sampled some of the local herbal remedies when he sat down to play Takahashi’s bonkers roll-’em-up. He laughed his head off. The next morning, sober as a judge and sceptical, he loaded it up again – and had the exact same reaction.
Takahashi, Vella and Refenes are just some of the independent game makers we spoke to while researching a very different kind of cover story. It is about Takahashi’s new game, Wattam, certainly. Yet it is also about the state of the indie scene more broadly – and how it fits into a wider game industry and a world that, we believe, have never needed small, experimental, meaningful, honourable games more.
The year 2017 was a cracker for videogames, certainly – something we celebrate elsewhere this issue in The Edge Awards. But it ended badly, and left us questioning our own editorial standards. At the positive end, Odyssey and Breath Of The Wild reminded us of what games have to do in order to earn an Edge 10. But in hindsight, were we right to devote valuable magazine space to, say, Star Wars Battlefront II at the preview stage, when the final product turned out so badly? How might we have used that space in Hype to better serve our readers, bringing you word of a game you’d never heard of that we believed you’d be excited about?
It’s a question we’d been thinking about for some time, even before a host of indie luminaries told us that the biggest problem facing them today is simply getting the things they make noticed. We realise we can play a role in fixing that – and so, as educated game-players, can you.