Rayman creator disagrees with the term "indie," other devs concur

Posted on August 21, 2014 - 10:20am by ThatPunkAdam

In recent years, indie games – games developed and published independently – have surged the gaming industry, with many matching the popularity of AAA titles from large studios. However, during this year’s past Gamescom event, a panel of developers discussed the usage of the “indie” and “AAA” terms. 

Amongst the panelists, Rayman creator, Michel Ancel, partook in the discussion, alongside Media Molecule designer, Rex Crowle, designer of the upcoming DriveClub, Paul Rustchynshy, and Q-Games founder, Dylan Cuthbert.  

“We shouldn’t say ‘indie game,’” stated Ancel. “Now we should say, ‘really innovative game,’ not especially based on production values of millions of dollars… It’s a game from real people that have passion and vision, and they can express that vision. This is what could define an indie game.” Crowle chimed in, adding, “I think it’s more games that have independent thought in them than [the] financial model behind them, particularly.”

With neither Ancel nor Crowle being independent developers, perhaps their disagreement with the ‘indie’ term stems from both creators making unique titles (Ancel: Rayman Origins and Legends; Crowle: LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway) but may be blocked out by some gamers who scoff at the AAA backing.

“You can have a very indie game that’s actually a very generic first-person shooter, and you can have an enormous, big-budget, triple-A game that’s all about emotions," Crowle continued. “Those divides are not there anymore.” Rustchynsky agreed, saying, “There’s good games and bad games, and they’re all in the same pool together.”

Rustchynsky also appears to be in the same situation as Ancel and Crowle, wherein his forthcoming racer, DriveClub, focuses on multiplayer and team racing – separating it from the pack of current simulation racers. Yet, the designer went on to say he feels that to truly put all games on the same playing field, both terms have to go.

“We shouldn’t be saying ‘triple-A,’ we shouldn’t be saying ‘indie.’ These are games, and they’ve all got their own unique elements.” Cuthbert, whose studio is behind the successful PixelJunk series, concurred, but said those still wishing to use indie term shouldn’t let anyone say otherwise, stating, “If you think you’re indie then you are indie, because the point of being indie is that you don’t have anyone else telling you what you are.”

Yet, that administrative ideal, or lack of, when it comes to indie development can sometimes cause confusion when using the indie term, evidenced by the recent Valiant Hearts: The Great War and Child of Light, games where the art style and concept appeared indie, but was in fact were both published by Ubisoft.

But what are your thoughts, g1s? Should gamers stop using the ‘indie’ and ‘AAA’ terms? Or do you think that separation actually benefits both parties? Be sure to leave your opinion in the comment section down below!

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