What’s An Indie Game? What Are Indie Games?

We’re starting a series called Ask Indies, where we ask indie games developers one question related to indie games. In this first in the series we asked, what’s an indie game? What Are Indie Games? The Ask Indies series is a great chance to get the answers straight from the experts on indie games. It’s also an opportunity for indie devs to update the community on their projects and progress. If you are interested in putting a question to the community then make sure to leave a comment, we’d be happy to put it to the devs. If you’d like to join our community of devs to answer Ask Indies in the future, drop us a line. So let’s put it to the guys who will know: What’s an indie game?

Perry Monschau, Co-Director, Nysko Games. Currently working on: The Dwarves of Glistenveld

“From what I understand, an indie game is technically a game developed without the aid of a publisher. If I remember the term was coined as being ‘independently published’. I think it has loosened since then as being made by a company with only one department (game developers), or as a game that had a period of time without a publisher. From my perspective, indie games are generally developed by small companies, can lack polish or have more than the expected number of bugs (not always), but many are very creative or push technical boundaries. More or less all of the games on sites like miniclip, newgrounds, or any of the free .io platforms are indie games.”

Victor Bankler, lead designer at An Otter Team.  Currently working on Bubumbu.

“An indie game is defined by the developers’ relationship to the game. For a game to be indie, the people who created the game are not merely developers hired to build a product for a company. Instead, the indie game is created on the initiative by the developers themselves. It’s people realizing their own, creative ideas.”
Indie game developer interview with Victor Bankler - Characters

Dan Bernardo, Game Director Playtra. Currently working on Grid Fight, an action/strategy game for switch

“For me, it’s a game that is more concerned with the story it will tell and how it expresses the person/team creating it than how many copies it will sell. As indies, we want to sell. We want to make money but I think it’s second to the need to add to the game history, either through risky, new gameplay or self-expressing narrative.”

Justin French, Dream Harvest, NeuroSlicers, CEO/Creative Director. Currently working on: Raising funding and seeking a publisher to get NeuroSlicers to market

“An Indie game, in my opinion, is a game that’s made under the sole creative direction of the development team and not a 3rd party / Owner. It’s a game that has a finite budget.”

Julia Nolan, Integral Studios, game developer. Currently working on: Eidolon.

“I’d argue that indie games are any game not made by a major studio, on a large budget. This can involve blockbusters like Stardew Valley, or a tiny visual novel made by a middle schooler learning to code. The awesome thing about them is that anyone can create them.”

Marcos Cevallos, Developer at LinkUp Games. Currently working on: Ultimate Reality, a 2D pixel art platformer fighter.

“An indie game is a game that is essentially made with passion. Many indie games are games that a very select few decided to make with very little resources. Unlike, triple A titles, indie games don’t have that massive budget that big studios have. Because of this, most indie games are made with passion because even though their budget is not as big, or their resources are limited, these devs always find a way to make their game unique and very enjoyable.”
Ultimate Reality - Gameplay

Steven Huckle, Shark Infested Custard, CEO. Currently working on: A range of titles, from VR to Soccer.

“My answer: Indie games are where the industry started and the place anything can be made.”

Harry Cole, I am the Editor of Into Indie Games. Currently working on: Making a place for indie games and indie games developers, Into Indie Games.

“For me being indie is an attitude, not dictated by team size or budget, but a way of creating and thinking. Being creative, innovative and original. The games industry needs indie games to push the boundaries, try something new and drive evolution in games.”

Beidi Guo, I am one of the co-founders and the art director of Lantern Studio. Currently working on: LUNA The Shadow Dust.

“Traditionally, an Indie game means the team is individually funding themselves, so usually, they neither have many people nor have much budget to start with.  But more importantly, in my opinion, a real indie game has to have its uniqueness that some time goes against what the gaming trend is heading towards.  A real indie game to me is the type of production that allows the maximum creativity of an individual or a small team’s idea to express and grow.” Luna The Shadow Dust screenshot

Sofi Naydenova, creator of HappyDoggoStudio, I create games on my own and I write articles sometimes. Currently working on: A small visual novel called Quarantini!

“An indie game is independence of the mind. When passion and drive to experiment before money priority.”

Daniel Carter, Maybe Later Games, “Ann Achronist”, solo indie dev. Currently working on: “No Offence, But” in Early Access now.

“Whether or not a game is indie depends on who created it. It might be one person’s vision, created completely alone. It might be a small group of friends, or rag-tag adventurers with a mixed set of skills who teamed up to make something awesome. The line gets blurry when we scale up to teams of 20-30. At this point, games are heading towards the AA label.”  “Indie’ might also be defined by budget – compared to the millions spent on your latest AAA shooter, many indie games come to fruition despite minimal funding. Whether or not having a publisher makes a game indie or not is another grey area – to say that indie games have never had publishers would be absurd, but it does detract from the ‘dev on a dime’ reputation that indie tends to have.” “Although many indie games have common features (simplistic yet effective art style, unique and daring mechanics, etc.), I wouldn’t say that these define indie games, but the restraints for the indie genre tend to produce these similarities as a result.” 

Thanks for reading our article What’s An Indie Game? For more interesting articles on the indie games industry, check out the links below. 






This Article was written by: Harry Cole

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