Developers Go Indie, Everyone Wins
Wired have posted interviews from three games industry veterans/teams who have left big publishers to go indie and are making it work. Includes: Jamie Cheng (Shank), Jake Kazdal (Skulls of the Shogun) & Sean Murray (Joe Danger). We don't agree with everything the article has to say but it's still an interesting read.
"A game like Shank would never have been made as a full retail game. We’re not hitting some lowest common denominator, we’re not trying to please everybody — we’re just trying to do what we’re passionate about."
"The stereotypical image of an indie gamemaker is an iconoclast who prizes art over commerce, or perhaps a kid with no formal training working in his parents’ house, cobbling together a genius new game idea using pirated software and raw talent."
Most people probably see indie game developers exactly as described and it was probably once true, but we are in a new era of indie game development. For one, who needs pirated software when all you need to make games is available for free (Blender, Unity, Gimp, Sculptris and many many more) =D
"But that’s not what the new crop of indies are. They’re veterans of the triple-A game biz with decades of experience behind them. They’ve worked for the biggest companies and had a hand in some of the industry’s biggest blockbusters. They could work on anything, but they’ve found creative fulfillment splitting off into a tiny crew and doing their own thing. They’re using everything they’ve learned working on big-budget epics and applying it to small, downloadable games."
- Jamie Cheng
"I definitely wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for the 10 or 15 years that I’ve been doing game design. We’re all veterans at this point and we’ve learned the hard lessons of game development at the big companies. I wouldn’t say to you just coming out of college that you shouldn’t go get a job at a real studio."
- Jake Kazdal
"Indies will quite often paint a bad picture of working in the industry, or maybe that you’re tainted for doing it or whatever. For us, I got to work with some amazingly talented people at Criterion. That’s such a beneficial thing. [When working in the industry] You get into this mentality that it takes 50 people to do anything. When people say, ‘Should I work in the industry first?,’ I say they should. But if you want to do your own thing, you need to keep that alive, because it can become very hard to break away."
- Sean Murray
Having a background in the industry can no doubt be helpful but great games come from experts and novices alike (Portal for example). Indie is indie, it's all about doing what you want, sometimes pushing the boundaries and sometimes trying to make a living out of what you love. It's always about the love of games. Some of the best games we've seen lately were actually made by students
. And some of the coolest mechanics seem to always come out of game jams
. Everybody has their part, all you really have to do is join in =)
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