It’s AAA releases that attract press attention, raise our expectations, and earn millions of dollars, making their creators rockstar-like celebrities. However, beneath the world of the biggest studios and publishers lies the mysterious land of indie games. Here are some reasons to give independent releases a shot.
Indie games can be bold
AAA games are big, polished, and expensive, yet this creates some significant limitations. High costs mean that the release must sell millions of copies. Otherwise, it becomes a financial flop; thus, shareholders get angry, and the studio’s future is uncertain. Sadly, even positive reviews rarely compensate for the lack of profits. On the other hand, even box office success might be bittersweet. An unpopular creative decision can spark a river of hatred flooding developers and actors. We all saw it after The Last of Us Part II release. Consequently, large developers usually avoid risky solutions that smaller ones can afford.
Thinking outside the box
As indie games don’t have to flatter everyone’s taste, developers can try original mechanics, unusual graphics and take up serious topics. As a result, they can provide players with a unique experience. Many players complain that modern games are created just to earn money. Indie developers usually make games to express themselves or simply because they have an interesting idea. They also can be closer to art than video game blockbusters.
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A wide choice
If someone sticks to AAA releases exclusively, they’re missing out on tons of fantastic memories. Back in 2019, Steam offered over 40 000 indie games. Since then, this number has only grown. Let’s be honest; many of them are crappy; however, there’re thousands of treasures as well. Moreover, among independent releases, you can find almost every genre you may think of, including the ones missing from big publishers’ catalogs. For instance, you can find difficult platformers (e.g., Cuphead), ambitious adventure games (Paradise Lost), engaging puzzles (Fez), open-world RPGs (Biomutant), or VR masterworks (Yupitergrad). When someone says there are no innovative, challenging, or original games these days, they haven’t tried indie games for sure.
When it comes to the structure, many big studios resemble corporations. As a result, every piece of information must be verified and accepted before publishing. Small developers are far more accessible. Many of them read comments on Steam talking ideas from fans and are eager to help if someone has a problem with their game.
If the above reasons don’t convince you, here comes the final argument! Indie games are almost always much cheaper than AAA releases. Some may say this is because they are shorter, but that’s not entirely true. A lot of indie games will provide you with hours-long journeys. For instance, it takes 20-60 hours to finish Hollow Knight, while Darkest Dengueon offers 60-100 hours of gameplay.