P2P – The Indie Uprising and Reemergence of Adventure Games
The indie game scene has been gathering steam over the last few years; smaller development studios are now able to distribute their games on bigger platforms and are able to reach mainstream audiences. Conventions like PAX dedicate locations for indie developers and millions of gamers have played and thoroughly enjoyed their share of indie excellence.
It’s amazing to see the shift within the game industry and consumers; while the Triple-A titles will still sell, more and more gamers are starting to realize that they CAN find indie games that tackle social issues, games that take creative risks, and games that affect them on personal and emotional levels just like their favourite books and films. Fellow JTM writer Jordan Shaw and I recently had a conversation about the indie uprising, the reemergence of adventure games, as well as indie’s impact on the industry.
Jordan Shaw: What do you think about Ouya? Do you think it has the potential to have an impact on the next gen?
Jan Hutchings: As an indie publishing space, I think the OUYA will make an impact in the industry once it releases. How big of an impact thought depends on the state of the industry at that point in time. Though it’s interesting to see that Sony has also started wading through those waters after Journey’s success. OUYA’s pull is that it’s open to everyone so you’ll see a lot of lower budget productions that have high creativity and gameplay experiences that differ from console offerings.
Jordan Shaw: If it winds up like the Xbox Indie market though, God help us. There’s something to be said for at least a modicum of curation. I feel like low-to-medium budget indie games are just starting to hit their stride though – I wonder if this next year will be the year where we see the sales of the next Journey or Papo and Yo actually compete with triple-A titles.
Jan Hutchings: The Xbox Indie Market flopped because Microsoft didn’t exactly know where they stood on the indie front. As well, the Xbox dashboard’s search functionality doesn’t lend itself well for the indie store. It’s hard to find the truly great games without having to wade through the overabundance of crap that permeates the store front. Even the ‘Most Popular’ filter pulls up the countless minecraft and endless running clones before you get to games like Breath of Death, White Noise, and Cthulu Saves The World.
Oh and I think you’re right there, you’ll definitely see a lot more “Triple-A Indie” titles that’ll be looked at comparatively with the big budget titles. Journey and Walking Dead were the first ones, and “Triple-A Indie” titles (that have a premium price of $14.99 – $19.99) will become a standard as the industry moves forward especially in the next-generation where platforms like the PS4 allows developers to self-publish their games onto the digital storefront.
Jordan Shaw: Half of Kotaku’s contenders for best game last year were indies; I think it was a bit of a statement myself, but it does show that the game is starting to change. I love that it’s causing the re-emergence of the adventure game genre. That alone makes me very happy. My wife and I are currently playing through Telltale’s The Walking Dead together – it’s terrific, some of the best gaming experiences I’ve had.
Jan Hutchings: Yeah, Not enough good things can be said about the re-emergence of the adventure genre. I’ve had so much good memories playing horror adventure titles like Missing and Still Live. I can’t forget Scratches because scared the bajeezues out of me. Oh and the fact that there’s multiple ways of playing some of these adventure games and how many of them tailor experiences to your decisions also lengthens the game’s shelf life. Any memorable moments with The Walking Dead?
Jordan Shaw: Hmm, I think some of the decisions that you have to make. My wife isn’t all that decisive a person naturally, and I generally let her use the controller while I offer suggestions. There’s a scene partway through the second chapter where you must choose to save one person or another. The panic in the room was palpable, and really made you feel as if your choice mattered in a deep way.
My wife was sitting there frozen with the controller until I told her my suggestion. In the nick of time she carried it out, but it left both of us feeling drained.. which in this situation was a good thing, I think.
Jan Hutchings: Yeah its been a while where the game’s panic affected people personally. I think The Walking Dead, Papo & Yo, and even Amnesia: The Dark Descent were a few games that had my palms sweating and had me carefully considering my options before making any decisions.
Jordan Shaw: I just hope that other games emerge in the genre which can give similar emotions in different ways, you know? I want to feel the joy I felt playing Curse of Monkey Island for the first time, or the sense of adventure that I used to get from Kings Quest V until I beat it five times.
Jan Hutchings: I think it’s there just like in Far Cry 3 and in Mass Effect (when it’s at it’s best).
Jordan Shaw: Maybe so… I just like the slower pace. I would love a game that is set in a fantasy world, but is mostly exploring and interacting with NPCs, with a little combat on the side. Skyrim is the closest thing for me, but gets the order mixed up – it does combat first, then exploration, then interaction dead last.
Jordan Shaw: Yeah, I know.. but Journey did well in the marketplace, so maybe there’s hope yet.
————– Conversation End ——————–
What’s your take on the independent game scene? Do you think indie games will become a major draw in the future of the game industry?