Indie nowadays is somewhat incorrect to call it that, because there are large studios (more than a hundred employees) like Double Fine and Obsidian, which are technically called indie, because of their projects on Kickstarter and the like. And there are studios with 1-5 developers making games for mobile devices.
A small note.
What is an AAA game? The “AAA” designation does not refer to the quality or rating of the game. The main meaning of this term is in the development budget. Any AAA game has a budget of millions of dollars and sales must reach hundreds of thousands of copies for a return on investment.
At first glance, it may seem that the indie developer community consists exclusively of self-taught people with an unconventional view of game design, who simultaneously smile at luck, talent and innate hard work.
Below you will find a few stories of game designers who came to indie in a slightly different way. Initially, they preferred to move up the classic career ladder, but disappointed in this venture, they realized that the indie segment is not only the abode of industry rebels, but also a refuge for creative freedom, albeit not on such a large scale.
What are indie games? Indie games are about the desire to reach the hearts of the players, risks, creativity, as well as the desire to bring something new to the industry.
There is an expression “who does not take risks – he does not drink champagne.” It’s this approach that makes some indies more successful than AAA.
Large studios are guided by market demand and investor requirements. Such a process of work forces us to keep a balance on the verge of creativity and business. The giants of the gaming industry simply cannot but justify the investment of the publisher / third-party investor.
The fact is that large studios often live on a project-by-project basis. If the AAA-level project did not pay off, then the investor does not get what was expected. Such situations often lead to bankruptcy or layoffs – the Studios somehow need to exist, but they did not receive money from the project, they make sacrifices.
For this reason, the giants do it carefully, but accurately. Interesting games come out, but often just once. They pay off, make a profit, and that’s it.
Indies are engaged in small teams, which exist according to the scheme “making a dream game, but you need money to have enough money for food.”
Studios or groups of people aim to create a dream project, gain public acceptance, and bring innovation to the industry (gameplay, storyline, and so on). Indie people try not to follow the path “we analyzed the market and chose a convenient path that makes money.”
Indie is about personal experiences, difficulties and accumulated creative energy. For this reason, some indies are blown away, becoming hits more successful than AAA titles.