The Importance of the Independent Developer

Ever since Sony announced that the indie game community would be a top priority for the Playstation 4 and the Vita, I’ve seen many who have praised and criticized this platform. Some believe that the addition of any game, whether it is a triple-A title or an indie project, can only be a positive while others believe that Sony is using the independent scene as a crutch to support its lackluster launch line-up and that indie games are a weak substitute. I think it’s important though, before any sort of judgement is made or continued, to take a second to realize the importance of the independent game developer and how supporting them can drastically improve our gaming future.

When critiquing and assessing these independent developers and their projects, we have to remember that these designers might possibly be the triple-A studios of the future. Most present triple-A studios started out as independent developers where many had a limited number of people working on the project and had to fund their games out of their own pockets; they worked their way up and found producers and consoles to help them get started. Sony and Microsoft should understand that by allowing development teams the access to spread their games, they’re effectively spurring the next generation of studios. Take a look at two extremely successful studios now: Naughty Dog and Bungie. Both started out very young and very inexperienced, yet through hard work making game after game they found a fit for their design sense and convinced Sony and Microsoft to produce their projects. And that’s what these independent games are now; they’re practice. Sure they may not carry the polish or grandeur of a triple-A title, but they’re a stepping stone to that eventual goal. This is why Sony and Microsoft (and the gamers) need to show the independent community that they’re willing to allow these indie games to be accessed by as many people as possible, so that they can learn from feedback, both positive and negative, to improve.

One of my favorite indie games.

One of my favorite indie games. Thank you Playdead.

If we ignore these independent games for superfluous reasons, such as sub par graphics, the belief that without a big budget there isn’t quality or some controversy surrounding the development cycle, we’re only hurting the future of gaming for ourselves. While we’re going through a bit of a console war here, these indie games that make me realize why I fell in love with gaming and why it’s important to first identify oneself as a gamer rather than as belonging to one side: the sense of passion felt through the game. Developers, indie or triple-A, put their heart and soul into their projects and we should respect that amount of dedication to a creative task.

Written and edited by Tim Atwood
Chief Editor at The Pixel Pen Review

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