More popular then ever, we face a difficult time – the Playstation 4(PS4) launch line up has flopped.
AAA(A game which is produced by a major video game company, not an indie(or independent) company) games, which we rely on for a good amount of our entertainment, have let us down. we spend $60 on something that, in the end, has a great chance of disappointing us. we trek on even though we have had our feelings hurt by developers, either them assuming we are to stupid to grasp a plot point, or that we could be entertained by something repeated each time in a game franchise.
Instead of turning to indie, fellow Digibytes writer, Steve Wright, has decided to stand against a revolution in game design.
Indie(Indie games tend to have few developers on the team, however that does not mean a lot of developers = AAA title. An Indie title is, independently published, as the name suggests. They may use Steam or The Humble Bundle to get their name out) games have continued to co-exist alongside our AAA titles for several years. Although they may be increasing popularity, with ‘Indie Game: The Movie’, as well as a few indie games outshining AAA games, we continue to push them to the side over the most simplistic issues, I.E., graphics, art, music, etc. If you were to play a AAA title and find a glitch, you might pass it to the side and say ‘Oh well, mistakes happen.’ it may be mentioned in a review, but it wouldn’t really effect the score. However, present in an indie title, the whole world goes into fits of rage. Never mind the fact that only a few people poured themselves into creating a masterpiece, it all comes down to how much money did you spend while creating this.
Although the indie scene has a more mainstream section, finding themselves on Steam or part of The Humble Bundle, we also have to remember a very important part of this genre: Flash games.
The simple flash game is looked over often by those ‘true’ gamers, as one might say. simple and not always that challenging, if the story isn’t thrown in your face, it is considered bad and therefore not really important. I propose, that, rather then getting upset about a story, we should think about it.
Kongregate, a site that I have spent many hours on, has two games that I wish to bring to the readers attention, but most importantly – Steve’s. The Company of Myself and Don’t Look Back both offer interesting story’s and good game play, although this may not entertain you for 20+ hours while you should be doing your homework, it will provide a quick & easy break for a story that matches up with some of the best AAA titles. (And, just for good props, be sure to check out You Have To Burn The Rope, one of my favourite games on the site. the ending song makes it all.)
Flash games are interesting. They don’t really get reviewed all that often, perhaps it is because the games often won’t be longer then 1 hour, or maybe people just don’t want to go looking for that diamond in the rough. In a society where I have to break up my paragraphs and it is requested(although I ignore this request) to insert pictures all over the place, you would think the 1 hour game would be the most popular. Unfortunately for flash game developers, the gamers have decided that games should be the one thing we pay the most attention to.
For the more serious gamer interested in the indie field, we always have the mainstream indie. Games included are Terraria, Minecraft, Awesomenauts, Super Meat Boy, and Faster Then Light. These games are not hard to find, and have several reviews released. worse comes to worse, most indie games won’t average more then $20 – and if you wait for them to appear in The Humble Bundle, it’ll be more like .20c
These games all feature a common theme: replayability and hours of entertainment. Although they may not rival Skyrim’s 100+ hours of content, they did not have teams of hundreds working on these games, not to mention Skyrim’s reliability on mods to carry the game. Although in fairness Minecraft is a heavily based mod game.
Games like Terraria and Minecraft are striving to bring something back that has, unfortunately, disappeared in recent times. Co-operative game play. Although they may not be bringing back couch co-op, we have to remember that indie console titles disappeared when AAA games were crowned king of the consoles and bullied out any potential for Xbox Live Arcade(XBLA) and Playstation Network(PSN) through expensive updates. I am not saying that some AAA titles have not had good couch co-op, because a good amount of them have, we are moving more towards a online or single player era.
In regards to Flower and Flow claiming to be part of the launch line up, we have to remember that if this was a retro rerelease or a HD version of a game, most people would eat it up. Although these games may not be exclusive to the PS4, That does not mean they are not part of the lineup. it still gives gamers something to play if they so choose.
Indie developers, although given a bad name through some pretty bad titles, are helping to move the industry forward in ways we cannot imagine. providing engaging storys, storys that actually make you think rather then explaining everything to you, will provide more hours of imagination going crazy then any current AAA title could with the spelt out plotlines. the last thing AAA titles need for this to be an all out obvious experience is neon signs to point the way.
Indie developers are also helping to move things forward through The Humble Bundle, which ranks on par with Extra Life. although gamers have a reputation for being lazy, living in there parents basement and not having any money, through these two events we can help raise money for charity, something we probably should of started a long time ago. (On the subject of Extra Life, you can still donate to me. Shameless advertising here.)
Although Steve argues in his article that Independent developers will be overthrowing the AAA market, the indie genre is not a place to make money – and it certainly isn’t a place to develop bad games(although this has been done as well). Indie games have, on occasion, taken the limelight away from a AAA game. However, if the game is better, why is this such a problem? Indie and AAA games are still both a type of game, they aren’t a separate species simply because one has a more professional team. By saying this, Steve is saying he would rather have a product developed by a large company that may not be as good, then a product developed by a smaller more independent company. I sense a Walmart shopper!
One of my favourite quotes in the article,
“I’m not saying that we should care less about the quality of our indie games – that would be ridiculous, but I do believe that the quantity of these games produced needs to be reduced, because they could potentially affect the sales figures of more expensive games like Killzone, which – in the end – are what our industry relies on.”
it begs the question, how on earth are you not suggesting that we should care less about the quality of indie games? The reason you see so many indie games is because there are a lot more indie developers then publishing companys. Killzone: Shadow fall has received quite a few bad reviews. although you could argue that this is ‘Just one game’ the matter of the fact is, it isn’t. we have seen an increasing number of poorly reviewed games when critics begin to get their act together and actually care about giving reviews. We often see the bad reviews overshadowed or we simply choose to ignore them, as we enjoy the game franchise regardless of ratings(which their is nothing wrong with)
In Steve’s article he also argues that the industry relys on AAA games to succeed.
I believe, on the other hand, that it does nothing of the sort. We rely on the consoles we are given, on the people who push the industry forward, not just a simply AAA title. if we choose to say this then we are suggesting that games like Super Meat Boy, Faster Then Light, Terraria, Minecraft, all of these well done games have had no effect on the market and are worthless in the end, when in fact Minecraft has had a huge influence on a genre of building and killing things.
Creating a AAA game does not give all of the money back to those who created the consoles. unless it is a first party game. games are not cheap to make, we have seen this recently. and they will continue to increase in price. we may wish to decrease this price but it just will not happen.
By stating that games like Need for Speed, Gears of War and LittleBigPlanet give you a unique experience one that cannot be copied by Indie games (which, Steve, is heavily implying) you are showing an incredibly strong bias towards the AAA community. The indie community has something to prove and they have already proven it. Although they may, again, provide those storys that force you into thinking, are you really that much against it? I quite enjoy exercising my brain once in awhile.
I am not really sure if Steve quite realizes that he is infact part of the independent crowd, or indie crowd, at this moment in time. Indie is not exclusive for the gaming industry but in fact applies almost everywhere in life. at this moment in time, with a staff of under 20, unrecognised on the internet, and working to become recognized, we could easily be seen as a independent(indie) site.
Sony offering a chance for independent games is nothing more then us trying to get the word out via N4G or other promotional means. we are, at this time, what Steve likes to hate on.
Fortunately for us, this is a good thing. Indie developers have a chance to say something else through there works, and often times are not held back by the ‘upper management’. We reach out to people on any platform needed, and in the end, when we have made a satisfying article, we can pat ourselves on the back and say job well done(until next week).
Perhaps your bias should be explored a little more, Steve. you need to learn to appreciate the younger and less mature crowd that is independent. We may not be a walmart yet, but one day we will shine on the internet with enough perseverance.
Indie games if given the chance will have more of an impact on the industry then AAA titles in a place that it matters, quality.