Out with old, in with the new
Next month a new generation of consoles and games will inhabit our countries and cultures around the world. The attention to indie games has increased in the last couple of years. So much so, that the head of Sony, Jack Tretton thinks a few of the best games will come from independent studios. He says “they come out with a game that maybe doesn’t have $100 million, 300-person team polish but is absolute genius.” It seems consumers agree, with the astronomical success of Minecraft recently selling 12 million units.
Financially, indie titles are high risk, with low-cost; this allows for more innovation. Indie studio’s typically release a game digitally, saving even more money versus shipping a physical product. Considering all the benefits, it’s no wonder both Sony and Microsoft are aggressively pursuing the indie market. The independent studio setup is so appealing even Ubisoft, a AAA publisher and studio, has their hands in the indie pool.
More and more AAA studios are shutting down. Last week, Marin 2K of the recent XCOM: The Bureau: Declassified closed it’s doors for good. EA had to re-evaluate it’s staff, a.k.a layoffs. With all these mass closings, very talented developers are braving the new world of independent development. This is a trend that’s been happening the last couple of years. So, I took a poll with two of my favorite Facebook groups, Podcast Beyond and Podcast Unlocked, to see what indie games they’re looking forward to.
The Results Are In
Transistor is being developed by SuperGiant Games, who recently released a critical and monetary success Bastion. In this adventure you inhabit Red, a singer who has come in contact with Transistor, a powerful and intelligent sword. A group called “The Process” pursue Red in a free-run game with turn-based fighting sequences. This game should be a huge hit in 2014 and will release on both Xboxs, both Playstations (including Vita), and PC.
Red Barrel Games created Outlast. It’s about a Free-lance writer, Miles, who’s incapable of using weapons or fighting, aside from a few scripted sequences. His adventure takes place in an insane asylum in some mysterious hills. Outlast hit PC on September 4th, but comes to the Playstation 4 in 2014.
The Witness is designed, by Jonathan Blow, the same guy who made the multi-million unit selling Braid. The Witness‘s enviroment sets you on a beautiful island. The unnamed character will solve a series of puzzles while walking around in the first-person point of view. This game seems reminiscent of Myst. Mr. Blow will release his game to PC and Playstation 4 some time in 2014.
Valiant Hearts uses the same engine as the recent Rayman Legends and looks stunning. This game takes place in WWI and follows a handful of soldiers and the one thing they have in common, a dog. Ubisoft Montpellier is creating this puzzle/adventure and will release to all platforms in 2014. Yet another unique title I’m looking forward to.
5. Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy is a platformer with rogue-like elements to it. Meaning: generation after generation of attempting to reach and kill these 4 bosses, you acquire new skills and abilities. The developing studio, Cellar Door Games, has already seen a release on PC, and will arrive to the Playstation Network (PSN) for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita in 2014.
Back in the day
There’s a reason games like Mario, PAC-man, and Metroid stick out in our minds. These game are full of innovation and a genuine passion for the product being made. Indie games are such high quality any more it’s almost hard to tell the difference when speaking of sales numbers. Things like Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), PSN, and Valve’s Steam service are really making it easy for these games to get noticed.
Microsoft’s Marc Whitten says about the next-gen console: “There’s no longer a section for arcade or a section for indie or things like that. We want all the content to be available on the store on equal footing…”
Don’t be “that” guy…
I know I’ve been enjoying the last decade of increasingly great indie games. If you’ve been brushing them off to the side or dismissing then you’re definitely denying yourself some of the best experiences gaming currently has to offer. Just take a look at the 2012’s Game of the Year in most circles – The Walking Dead, a point and click adventure made by an independent studio walked away with that award.
What indie games are you looking forward to? What indie titles have you enjoyed up to this point? Sound off in the comments below and let me know.