Indie Horror Games: The Tester Series?
Did Indie Horror Games Serve More of a Purpose than just Entertainment?
Ever since the introduction of Slender: The Eight Pages game, the indie game marketplace has been flooded with first person horror-genre games. It was clear that once the Slender achieved an almost cult-like following, people realized that their own horror style game ideas could very easily become popular; there was now a clear desire for this type of game. Not only that, but this form of game was very easy to create, using game engines such as Unity3D and UDK.
However, now we see that although many indie horror games are coming, AAA titles are starting to get pumped out of studios with budgets FAR beyond that of an indie studio. Seeing this trend made me think that these indie horror games are almost the beta phase of new game genre concepts. This may allow gamers like myself to predict what may come down the pipeline from larger studios.
So What Kind of Titles Are We Looking at Now?
Well, thanks to E3, there are a number of survival-suspense and survival-horror games coming soon. One game that really caught my eye was Outlast. The style is a first person camera view, without the ability to fight the evil that is chasing you. I'm very excited about this game and I can't help but imagine that it was likely influenced by many of the popular indie games that have been coming out. After all, before this FPS horror indie craze, there were very few mainstream horror games in general willing to take risks. Sure you could look at Dead Space, but the vast majority of the games at the time were still time tested styles.
So Why Do I Care?
I guess what I am getting at with showing the connection between popular indie game mechanics, and the big studios following suit, is that indie games play a very important part in the video game evolution chain. Whether or not the developers at indie studios or big name studios realize, the indie community is incredibly important.
Because indie develops tend to have far less to lose if their game is a flop, they are much more willing to try something new and exciting that hasn't been seen by many. The best part about video games is that virtually anything can be done, because the developers are essentially gods of their own world.
However, if the indie community was less inclined to explore new and innovative mechanics, many of the large budget video games would be very lack luster. Certainly game giants such as EA or Blizzard would argue that they lead innovation in the next gen games. But their innovation stands on the shoulders of the indie games that tried the mechanics and ideas before them.
My message is that every gamer, casual or hardcore, should keep a close eye on the indie development scene. These games often point to what is coming next. By playing these new and innovative games, you are shaping the evolution of gaming. Although games like Son of Nor, or Paranormal, may not have the newest cutting edge graphics, but the mechanics and game styles that they experiment with are changing how we game and allow us a blurred glimpse into what may be in store for our community at large.
Indie for life!