August 8, 2013 by thedavidryan
Independent games are currently enjoying somewhat of a popularity wave at the minute. Some of the recent top titles in the gaming community have been developed by smaller ‘indie’ teams across the world. What these companies may lack in financial support, size or security, they more than make up for in charm and originality.
Fans of rinse and repeat yearly titles, such as Call of Duty or Assassins Creed, have become increasingly uninterested by the same titles from years previous and are steadily turning towards the Playstation Store or Xbox Marketplace in search of something a little bit different.
So what is it about independent games and independent developers that has seen an increase in downloadable games over the last few years?
While it is undeniable that the Call of Duty franchise is a juggernaut in the gaming community, they have hardly ever been praised for their innovative storytelling and unique gameplay experiences. While this may sound like a criticism, it isn’t. The formula works extremely well and Call of Duty games sell an astonishing amount of units each year.
However, unless you’re an online ‘bro gamer’, it is only so long before you become tired of kill streaks and headshots. That is where indie games come in.
Independent games are some of the most creative and a unique games on the market, and this is largely thanks to their diminutive size. Unlike huge corporate developers such as EA, Activision or Ubisoft, indie developers have the freedom to design and create any game they want, for as long as they want, without having to answer to any corporate suits upstairs. While this process obviously has its downsides, such as lack of financial support, the model offers more opportunity to create much more pioneering games.
Hugely successful indie titles such as Journey or The Unfinished Swan would have had a great deal of difficulty getting off the ground with larger developers, but thanks to often self-financing smaller teams, these wonderful experiences have been realised and released onto the gaming world with great acclaim.
The price of games is getting more expensive, and with the next generation of consoles due out later this year, all of the next gen games will see a price increase of up to £60! It is no surprise then that gamers are checking out the drastically cheaper indie options.
Some of the most well-known independent games such as Super Meat Boy or Guacamelee! are available to download for as little as 1,200 credits or £10 respectively. Obviously you pay for what you get, and while these games are significantly shorter in length than usual £40 games, they certainly make up for that with bucketful’s of charm, creativity and amusement.
As mentioned at the start of this article, many of today’s critically praised games have come from small independent teams. Super Meat Boy for example has a Meta Critic score of 90/100, whereas Journey received a Meta Critic score of 92/100. Compare that with the most recent Assassins Creed game which received a Meta Critic score of 84/100 on the Xbox 360 and you can see which games were received better by reviewers.
The fact that you can find some of the most highly praised games in history for such a small fee is a testament to the independent games community. Add in the fact that you know these games weren’t created by faceless brands, but instead were created by individuals who spent long days and nights pouring their hearts into their ideas to create a truly special experience.
Are you a fan or indie games? Or do you think larger games have the greater appeal? Let me know in the comments below.
David is a huge fan of gaming and enjoys discussing and writing about his favourite subject both here and on his Twitter @TheDavidRyan.