Not all heroes wear capes. The protagonis­t of Justin Stander’s hit action game Katana ZERO is a bathrobe-wearing samurai with a penchant for synth-driven ’80s music. Stander’s highly rated, independen­t game has, in less than a year, sold 500,000 copies, generating $5 million in sales—a blockbuste­r in the indie market where the average game makes $16,000. For a 26-yearold, Stander has been at this for a long time. At 16 he released a free Web game, Tower of Heaven. Stander started to develop Katana at McGill University, taking freelance game-design gigs to help fund what he thought would be a two-year project. Instead it took five years. “There were an innumerabl­e amount of days that I woke up, worked, went to sleep, and that was it,” says Stander. He is developing new story lines, game levels and other add-ons to keep Katana, available on PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch, current—and selling. —Kenrick Cai, Matt Perez

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