It’s no secret that the COVID pandemic has affected the games industry. However, most of us are more aware of the benefits rather than setbacks. Many consumers have sat for hours waiting to get their hands on the latest next-gen console – whether that be a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, so they can play the latest and greatest triple AAA titles, but what about the indie content?
Gone are the days where, as an indie developer, you could shuffle over to GDC, Gamescom or E3 and land a deal behind closed doors while the general public were getting their fix of the latest gameplay of an upcoming game.
These developers work solely on games, for several years, if not more, and then have to pitch in to publishers to see if they can get the funding. Of course, pitching isn’t the only method to get a game into the public eye and raise funds. For years, smaller developers have set up Kickstarters for production. Most recently we’ve seen Stairway’s debut farming simulator, Coral Island, fetch $1.6M in just 30 days.
With events like EGX Rezzed and Pocket Gamer Connects, there’s a larger platform for indie developers to showcase their creations. Like everything, the pandemic has impacted the timeline of these events which usually happen in March/April annually. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t expect great things from indie developers in 2021. In what’s dubbed triple III (instead of triple AAA) – the indie calibre of content coming out this year is hopefully going to be stronger than ever.
That being said, there’s always going to be a place for Triple AAA content. As Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive President recently said to The Telegraph: “We like making big blockbuster games; that’s what we do at PlayStation” but there’s space for indie titles too.
In the past year, we’re not only seeing this shift in games but also in entertainment generally. Parasite led the way in breaking down the barriers of foreign language films. Since then we’ve seen great success of programmes like Lupin and Call My Agent – showing us that people are more open to different things.
So what is it that people want? Having endured three lockdowns myself, the fundamental answer is that good content trumps bad. Whatever content I’m consuming – my main priority is that I’m spending my time wisely. So whether that’s a triple AAA game, a triple III game, a blockbuster movie or a TV series – it’s about quality production. Personally, I don’t mind how that comes about – whether it’s via Hollywood or a Kickstarter – it’s all about creating great immersive content that heightens the senses, tells a story and really takes me on a journey.
Because, let’s face it, after a year locked inside, that’s all we want out of entertainment – to be taken on a journey. Away from our front rooms, a bit of escapism, from a pandemic that feels like the gift that keeps on giving.
Here’s a list of our top three indie titles to look out for this year:
- From developer Hidden Fields, Mundaun is available to wishlist on Steam. It’s a horror tale set in a dark, secluded valley of the alps. On your journey, you will explore various areas, survive hostile encounters and solve a variety of hand-crafted puzzles. Coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows this year
- Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is coming to Nintendo Switch and Windows PC in Q2. It’s a terribly cute RPG that gives us 8-bit vibes and we can’t wait for it to get here
- Season, from developer Scavengers Studio, was recently announced during The Game Awards 2020, and it was one of the standout games from the event. The game looks like an atmospheric wonder, featuring a woman collecting memories of a gorgeous, mysterious world