Subscribe to the latest updates from the Indie category

Indie Archives

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Xbox One's reveal a few days ago. From vague descriptions of Xbox One's used games policy and the perhaps-exaggerated response to Xbox One's supposedly heavily constrained indie strategy, Microsoft has been getting quite a bit of flak about the unveiling from a significant portion gaming community. However, it may be that some of this criticism is unwarranted, as indie developer James Silva, of Ska Studios, has provided an interesting response to all the ruckus around Xbox One's seemingly regressive indie game-publishing plan. In a blog post on Gamasutra, entitled "We're Indie, we like Microsoft. Too Controversial?" Silva had this to say:

"I wrote this post on our blog a few months ago to express how absolutely weird and unfortunate I thought it was that the trending perception of Microsoft and indies had gotten so bad that silly creative decisions of mine were being taken as Microsoft's ever-burgeoning evilness toward indies, or something. My message was this: we're indie, we make the games we want to make, Microsoft publishes them, and the past five years of this have been great, and it's too bad that that's not super newsworthy, because this whole time it just feels like I must watch, powerless, as Lumbergh keeps taking my red stapler." — James Silva

Over the course of the blog post, Silva also makes a point to be sure he gets across that the meaning of "no self-publishing on Xbox One " is really "that the partner/publisher relationship [between Microsoft and indies] is currently the same [as it was on Xbox 360] but they're exploring ways to improve it."

Perhaps the gaming press as a whole may have jumped the gun a bit too quickly on this one, but what do you think? Has there simply been a misinterpretation on the whole "self-publishing" issue? Or has James Silva just been lucky in his interactions as an indie developer with Microsoft? Sound off in the comments!

In case you haven't heard, the new Xbox One doesn't grant indie developers the ability to self-publish their games. Microsoft has been notorious for lackluster indie relations during the course of the Xbox 360's lifecycle, and many minds in the industry were hoping this would change come time for the new console, now officially labeled "Xbox One." Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

One would think that Nintendo's Dan Adelman, a prominent player in Nintendo's indie relations, is excited that more indie developers would be driven to his employer after Microsoft's big news, but as you can see from the above tweet, Adelman is actually saddened to see that Microsoft isn't going to let indie developers self-publish.

It would appear that Decorous Dude Dan has a bigger heart for indie developers and their market than he cares for the excessive wellbeing of his employer. It's figures like these in the industry, who beget corporate greed for a greater sense of right in the gaming culture, that make me smile every day. Kudos, Dan.

Nyamyam is an indie studio comprised largely of former Rare developers. The studio is currently working on an upcoming game entitled Tengami, a beautiful adventure game with a unique popup-book art direction. Founding member, Jennifer Schneidereit recently sat down to have a chat with Shack News regarding Nyamyam's reasoning behind their choices on Tengami's aesthetic.

In addition to its popup book style, Tengami also took inspiration from the art of Japanese fables. Schneidereit mentions that after choosing to go with a popup book aesthetic, they began researching cultural histories which were rich in paper-making, and eventually settled on the culture of Japan:

"Japan has a long tradition in handmade papers and, since all of us at Nyamyam love traditional Japanese culture, we started to experiment with different Japanese papers until we arrived at the current look of the game."  -- Jennifer Schneidereit

She also points to the willingness of Japanese fables to be dark and their nuanced ideas about good and evil as other contributing factors towards Tengami's gorgeous art direction.

In a recent interview, well known industry figure and director designer on the Gears of War franchise, Cliff Bleszinski, shared his thoughts on the topic of Microsoft's and Sony's dealings with indie developers. He compliments Sony on having "embraced the vibe." But, regarding Microsoft — I guess leaving Epic Games has given Bleszinski the chance to speak his mind — he compares the process of indie development for the Xbox Live Arcade to a "nightmare." Here's the full quote:

"I have a very good relationship with Microsoft, but [there are] a lot of TCRs you'd have to go through ... all the stuff you'd have to go through to get your game on Xbox Live Arcade, or even issue updates on; it was a nightmare ... it feels like Sony's embraced a lot of that vibe thus far, as far as indie games go and whatnot. I feel like Sony's really embraced that vibe, and [the] homebrewed and homegrown movement that's really taken over, and what a cool thing that somebody in his garage made as a mod that is going to go viral tomorrow." — Cliff Bleszinski

This is a pretty commonly held sentiment; my only wish is that people would start pointing out that Nintendo, as well, have been opening up to indie developers.

Don't Starve, developed by Klei Entertainment, is an indie survival game available on PC for $14.99. Players step into the shoes of Wilson, a gentlemen scientist whom a demon has transported to a "mysterious wilderness world." Don't Starve is all about learning how to use the environment to your advantage in order to survive and, eventually, escape. The game also features an interesting art style, which is sort of a blend between Tim Burton and a cartoon.

Several days ago Jamie Cheng, one of the game's team members, was asked on Twitter whether or not there were any plans to bring Klei's PC game Don't Starve to either the 3DS or PSVita. Cheng responded that, though there are currently no concrete plans to do so, he'd "love to." And, given Nintendo's and Sony's recent attitudes toward indies, a 3DS or PSVita release of Don't Starve could very easily become a reality; let's hope it does.

Would you like to see Don't Starve make its way to either handheld platform?

Over the past few years, Sony has been steadily garnering a reputation for its indie-friendly policies. Reports from indie developers consistently surface regarding working with Sony, and just about every single one is positive. And fortunately, that trend shows absolutely no signs of stopping; just the other day Sony was showing off a slew of promising indie titles via its PlayStation Blog: Rymdkapsel (pictured to the left), Hohokum, Doki-Doki Universe, and Counter Spy.

Head past the jump for details and quotes regarding all four of the unique indie titles!

UPDATE: The Kickstarter page for Pixel Press is now live. Head on over and check the project out for yourself!

Have you ever wanted to create a platformer, but didn't know how to start? If you love developing video game levels but don't quite understand the coding behind it, then Pixel Press is exactly what you're looking for. Inspired by games like Metroid and Super Mario Bros., Pixel Press is a simple platformer based on one idea: user-created levels. Pixel Press comes with custom-built grid paper on which players can draw unique levels to play through. If you aren't a fan of drawing, the Pixel Press will still allow you to access the online community and play levels created by countless other users.

Not only will you be able to easily design these games levels, but Pixel Press will allow you create custom graphics and sound, making the levels entirely your own, and developers Robin Rath & Josh Stevens hope to include a "big block" mode for younger designers. This is the game you've spent your whole life not knowing how badly you've wanted it. Peruse the official website and their FAQ to learn all about it!

Pixel Press is coming to iOS devices in Q3 2013, so be sure to keep a look out on the App Store, and be sure to head over to Kickstarter when the project launches on May 7th to show your support. To get a better understanding, check out a video after the jump!

For those who are not aware, the Humble Bundle is a program that (in general) offers independent titles for any price that someone could offer. Yes, that's right, ANY price. Many people have used this to get fantastic games like Braid, Limbo, and the film Indie Game: The Movie for a total of 1 Cent. Recently, however, they have begun to offer large publishers the ability to follow their business model and distribute their games through the Humble Bundle. THQ had done that with the Darksiders franchise a while ago, and Double Fine is now offering some of its games for a low price.

The games on offer, in this case, are Costume Quest, Stacking, Psychonauts, and Brütal Legend. The last game in that list, Brütal Legend, is being offered only to those who pay the above-average price of donation. (At the current time of writing, that price is $7.97) With these games, they are offering their soundtrack AND, if you donate over $1, the Steam keys. They also allow infinite DRM-free downloads of the games themselves for any price. With games like Psychonauts being so under-rated and rare, there is not much of a better deal then this to get it.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in adventure games, and I certainly will be taking advantage of it. What about you? And if you are getting it, what are you going to donate?

Welcome to Boon Hill. There is no goal. There is no winner. There are no enemies to fight. There is no danger to be found... And it looks incredible.

Boon Hill is a game about imagination, about stories, and about atmosphere. In Boon Hill, players walk through a graveyard reading names and epitaphs, trying to construct stories out of the little information that lies there, and "thinking about who there people were and will never be again." Though Boon Hill completely defies what many may think of as a video game, it is exactly this creative inspiration that makes Boon Hill so appealing.

Boon Hill is about inferred stories, about the connections people have that continue even after they die. The graveyard tells many tales woven by those who've long since passed on: stories of love, life, sorrow, and joy, told over generations.  — Matthew Ritter

Head past the jump for tons of extra information, including screenshots, projected platforms, and more!

Nyamyam, a studio formed by several former Rare employees, has just announced that their game, Tengami, will be launching on the Wii U eShop after its initial iPad release this summer. Nyamyam currently hopes to release the Wii U version in early 2014.

Here's the studio's official announcement quote:

Last year we asked on Twitter whether you would like to see Tengami on the Wii U. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that we began the process of bringing Tengami on the Wii U to life. It is with great pleasure that I can finally announce Nyamyam is now an authorized Nintendo developer. On top of that Wii U dev kits arrived this morning and we are thrilled to be starting development soon. Our sincerest gratitude goes out to everyone who encouraged us to pursue Tengami on the Wii U. It is because of your support that Tengami is coming to the Wii U. Thank you!

A few quotes from the post-announcement interview with two of the team's members after the jump!

Another Castle is an upcoming indie platformer inspired by several classic games. What you see here is an early alpha build of Another Castle, showing off several gameplay concepts and the general air of the game. The developer, Uncade, is hoping for a summer 2014 release on PC, while the rest of us hope other platforms will follow. As you can see, it's shaping up to be a gorgeous experience. Are you considering buying Another Castle?

         

Rising indie developer AckkStudios is developing an upcoming game called Two Brothers, an action RPG designed to feel like a classic Game Boy game. We at Gamnesia had the chance to speak to Andrew Allanson, who served as the producer and leading composer and on the game's staff, about a wide variety of subjects. Areas of focus in this interview including the design of the game, challenges introducing gamers to Two Brothers' new ideas, and the relationship between plot and gameplay. Read the full interview to see why you should be as excited as we are excited about Two Brothers.

Power to the indies! Dan Adelman, Nintendo's liason with indie developers for the Nintendo eShop, recently made his way to Gamasutra for an interview detailing why and how Nintendo's recent strives to make developing for Wii U as "frictionless" as possible for indie developers can really make a difference. There are dozens of reasons why indie developers would like the Wii U, Adelman explains, among which are the following:

  1. As more and more developers work from home, Nintendo no longer requires developers to have a separate office space to obtain a development license.

  2. "Anyone from any country" can release their games on the North American and European eShops—developers are not required to have an address in a territory in which they wish to release their games.

  3. Developers set their own prices for games, their own times for sales, and can update and patch their games whenever they so desire.

  4. Nintendo is providing Unity 4 Pro to developers at no extra cost, meaning if a developer has a Wii U dev kit and is already building a game in Unity, porting (both ways) will be easy as pie.

There are plenty of other ways that Nintendo is trying to ease the transition for indie developers, as Adelman explains in greater detail in the original interview. Hopefully with this easy indie platform, we'll be seeing a lot more out of the eShop soon.

AckkStudios has been working for a while on their GameBoy-styled RPG, Two Brothers. Two Brothers, the story of an inventor seeking to bring color to a monochromatic world, is coming some time this year to the Wii U eShop, alongside iOS, Xbox 360, and several other platforms. Two Brothers is nearing completion, however, and as all developers do, AckkStudios is planning to begin work—or resume it, rather—on a brand new game codenamed Project Y2K. AckkStudios began work on the game before Two Brothers' development had even begun, and it was put on hold in order to finish the smaller, retro-styled project.

Project Y2K is a 3D RPG in development exclusively for the Wii U. The story, which has now been completely finalized, takes place in the year 1999, beginning on January first at exactly 12:02 AM. Project Y2K also has a completed graphics and gameplay engine, which you can get a glimpse of to the left, as well as plenty of concept art. In addition to all this information, the original blog post and its teasers contain hashtags such as "#Space," "#Fourth Dimension," "#Double Slit Experiment," and "#WomanMadeofPlastic." Another teaser also shows off a demo of the game's soundtrack, with the caption, "viewing Earth from far away..."

I don't know what exactly this is shaping up to be, but I know that like it. What do you think of all this?