The Role and Importance of Indie Titles in the Gaming IndustryFeb 14, 2021 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate In the last few years, we’ve seen many indie titles shine, rivaling even those created by triple-A studios. These games play an impactful role in the industry today, and here’s why:
Today, many indie studios deliver titles that provide gaming experiences rivaling those made by gigantic ones funded by billion-dollar publishing companies. This may sound rather farfetched, but it’s true. Titles like Celeste, Hades, Stardew Valley, Cuphead, and Hollow Knight are prime examples of indie success stories. We can say the same about countless mobile games that somehow raked in millions of players.
These games today play a crucial role in the industry. In a way, they shake things up a bit and changed user perception in recent years. Instead of being rather simplistic gameplay, they deliver compelling stories and new ideas to the mix. They’re not just a prominent part of the gaming pie, but they’re undoubtedly game-changers.
Well, here are a few reasons:
They foster fresh ideas and innovation with no corporate meddling
Boardroom/corporate decisions today highly influence triple-A. Sure, we understand it’s a business, but putting off innovation by going with the same old gameplay mechanics won’t leave any room for various franchises to grow. We’re sure there were many shelved creative decisions, like new progression mechanics, developers had to replace with loot boxes because executives prioritize money, not the gameplay.
Meanwhile, indie games provide fresh, innovative, outside-the-box ideas with zero to little corporate decisions. They’re passion projects, and most of the time, developers want to see their vision of what the game should be through. For us gamers, it’s always refreshing to play a title that provides an avant-garde aspect we’ve never seen before.
Two outstanding examples include:
- Cuphead’s art style.Every frame in Cuphead is hand-drawn, and it follows an early 20th-century cartoon aesthetic that was totally new at the time.
- Hades’ death mechanic. Who knew that repeatedly dying and starting over again can be made into a fantastic gameplay mechanic? In Hades, you die all over again and repeat various levels, but the replayability is extremely fun, thanks to the many weapons and boon combinations you can try out.
By providing something new and creative, indies give their peers blueprints to work with, thus helping the industry grow while giving players something new to dive into.
They tell impactful stories
One of the best things about indie games is they tell new stories, especially ones that are down-to-earth and out of the box. For example, What Remains of Edith Finch undoubtedly had one of the best stories I had the privilege of going through. Despite being just a two-three hour game, it compressed several themes, including depression and dealing with the loss of family members.
Meanwhile, Hades’ fun take on Greek mythology and family was nothing short of impressive, and Celeste’s themes of perseverance and depression are inspiring.
They are getting people into gaming
If you think about it, the majority of mobile games today can be classified as indies. Without them, people who own smartphones won’t have options except for premium titles. Note that casual players won’t spend a cent to buy a game but is open to download a free one. For example, it’s hard to imagine middle-aged women purchasing a $10 copy of Candy Crush. In short, we can safely say indies turned the gaming industry over its heels and got millions of people to play on their smartphones.
Indies provide great value
Today’s full-priced games are at least $60, while in the new consoles, it’ll go as high as $70. Yes, they’re quite expensive, and not everybody can afford them. Casual players and budget gamers may only end up buying a few of them in a single year due to financial constraints.
With that in mind, this is where indie games step in. Many of them are priced at $20 and below, while others go for free. Although they are relatively shorter and simpler experiences compared to large-scale triple-A titles, they’re perfect for an audience that wants a game wherein they can dive into quickly, pass the time, and, most of all, have lots of fun. They don’t wish to 60-hour games with comprehensive mechanics that will require days of dedication to master.
They are a reality check for bigger studios
If a 20-man indie studio can deliver a game like Hades, there’s no reason why gigantic studios with support from major publishers can commit to the same level of quality. Small developers like Supergiant Games and Mediatonic can make games like Hades and Fall Guys, so more prominent developers will have to strive harder, innovate, and deliver better experiences.
Overall, the importance of indie games and studios in the gaming industry cannot be understated. Not only do they provide fresh ideas and new gameplay mechanics, but they also tell impactful, down-to-earth stories and get people into games. Moreover, they provide free and cheap options for budget gamers. Most importantly, they provide outstanding titles that can make the entire industry aim higher.