Spotlight - 5 Indie Games Developers

The phrase ‘indie games’ often refers to games made by small independent developers, who fund the game themselves and release it out into the wild but self-publishing. After all, they’re not bound to a publisher and therefore independent.

I would also like to remind our readers that the vast majority of games you buy are made by indie developers but they rarely get the credit they deserve as their publishers mask their existence in the name of promoting their own brand.

Here’s a list of 5 indie game developers, in no particular order, that you may have missed on your travels around the world through the likes of the XNA Creator community or PC developers in general. It’s hard to discover PS3 indies as they’re often hidden behind closed doors but I try.

ThatGameCompany

Journey

ThatGameCompany are making the transition from a small indie game developer and are in limbo as they only focus on PS3 titles at the moment. This is a hard path to tread but they appear to be staying true to their indie roots and delivering emotion and passion in a small bundle.

The pioneers that brought you the award-winning PlayStation®Network titles flOw & Flower® are back with another title that challenges traditional gaming conventions. With Journey, thatgamecompany (TGC) continues its tradition of delivering simple gameplay and accessible controls in a rich interactive environment that invites players to explore and experience emotional chords that are still uncommon in video games.

An exotic adventure with a more serious tone, Journey presents TGC’s unique vision of an online adventure experience. Awakening in an unknown world, the player walks, glides, and flies through a vast and awe-inspiring landscape, while discovering the history of an ancient, mysterious civilization along the way.

Journey’s innovative approach to online play encourages players to explore this environment with strangers who cross their path from time to time. By traveling together, they can re-shape the experience – creating authentic moments they will remember and discuss with others.

Holographic Dreams

Raptor

I came across these Polish indie guys recently and they really struck a cord with me as they’re showing the core indie traits: passion, commitment and a desire for success. I believe currently have this running as a XNA game (a.k.a. XBox Independent Games), which shows they’re commitment to delivering something beyond a simple browser game. Here’s an early video of a game they’re working on right now, take a look and don’t forget to give them feedback!

Strawdog Studios

Space Ark

Strawdog Studios are an indie game developer that I’ve known for many years, they’re particularly interesting because they have a fantastic art style that runs through all of their games and they have the creativity to come up with something new and exciting. I hold them in high regard and relish an opportunity to work with these talented indie developers.

Here’s their current offering for XBox Live Arcade - Space Ark

What is Space Ark? It’s is a fun arcade/puzzle game with a hint of retro arcade flavour; inspired by classic arcade games of the late 80s, such as Rainbow Island, Bubble Bobble and Arkanoid.

A wandering black hole has damaged a number of planets, rendering them uninhabitable. The occupants of the Space Ark (the Arkonauts – a team of space traveling animals) are coming to repair the damaged worlds so that their refugee inhabitants can return.

Curve Studios

Explodemon

What can I say about the guys at Curve? Jason, Graeme, Jonathan and the guys (apologies if I’ve missed anyone) are all legends in their own time and I’ve had the great fortune to work with them recently.

Along with the other guys on this list, they epitomise what’s great about indie game developers and I’ve regularly referenced them as one of the best developers in the UK because they love games, love making games, are great to be with, always deliver great work and take me out to S&M or the Brazilian Meat Factory when I visit. :) Plus, they owe me a few dinners at PingPong. :P

Here’s a quick look at their latest title Explodemon:

Explodemon! is a 2.5D action platform game with an explosive main character. Mixing classic platforming action - from classics such as Mario and MegaMan - with the refined contemporary gameplay of Halo and Half-Life 2, it brings old-school gameplay bang up to date. Coming from Curve’s deep-seated love of video game culture and history, Explodemon! is wrapped up as a loving homage to SNES-era Japanese action games. Explodemon! will release on PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network in 2010.

Shadegrown Games

Planck

I hooked up with these guys on twitter recently and I really liked the potential of what they had on their web-site so I’ll be keeping a close eye on these guys. You should check out their blog as the IGF judges also think they’re great.

Planck is an upcoming music-based experiment which looks to play out in a similar fashion to Audiosurf, but with different core elements. Enemies litter your path, and destroying enough of them unlocks a new instrument for the current song.

The game doesn’t use your own music - rather, it pieces together a specifically-created soundtrack in a Auditorium-esque manner. You can also jump between sections of the track to mix different sounds and change the music how you see fit.

Looks mighty interesting. No release date or platform set as of yet.

Summary

Well, I’ve enjoyed this round up of indie game developers and all of their indie cuteness. I hope you show them some appreciation by dropping by to give them your feedback on their web-sites and ‘official’ youtube, or even in our comments as I’m sure they’ll be reading.

Is there someone you think should be in the spotlight? Let me know in the comments.

Further Reading

ThatGameCompany - http://thatgamecompany.com , twitter @thatgamecompany Holographic Dreams - http://holographicdreams.com , twitter @HoloDreams Strawdog Studios - http://www.strawdogstudios.com Curve Studios - http://curve-studios.com , twitter @curvestudios Shadegrown Games - http://www.shadegrowngames.com, twitter @shadegrowngames

Bonus: One Bit Beyond - Curve Studios Creative Director blog - http://www.onebitbeyond.com Twitter @xnacommunity Twitter #xblig

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