Every creative enterprise has had its fair share of subcultures; punk, graffiti, harajuku, etc. And the video games industry, with its unevenly matched histories of technological and creative progress, has one that is now coming into its own: independent game development, or, indies.
When Indie Game: The Movie was released two years ago it shed some light on this rapidly rising segment of the games industry. Following the stories of three development teams, it was the first real look into the trials and tribulations involved in being an independent games developer bringing an idea from genesis to publication.
But what about the wider culture surrounding these stories? Where are these indies coming from? Who are they? And what sort of impact are small-time developers having on the gaming community at large?
These are just some of the questions Lester Francois and Anna Brady want to address. Last year, as StudioBento, they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their goal of making a documentary about this increasingly prominent subculture. The result will be GameLoading: Rise of the Indies, an all-encompassing view of indie game development from both personal as well as holistic perspectives. And we’ve had the opportunity to see a 15 minute preview of what the end product will look like.
What is immediately clear is the broad spectrum of voices GameLoading has spoken to for insight into what it means to be indie. In the preview alone, we saw Zoe Quinn speaking passionately about why she became an indie, Rami Ismail speaking in depth about iterative design based on player feedback and an enthusiastic Ben Kuchera likening the multitude of possibilities of indie development to the trajectory of a paper plane. This is in addition to a plethora of indie developers both professional and hobbyist, journalists and industry veterans, with many more interviews and insights promised by the Kickstarter. This range of opinion and experience promises a much more comprehensive view of what was only lightly touched upon in Indie Game: The Movie – and one that will be equally accessible by both newcomers as well as those already involved in the culture.
The preview is also framed with footage from TrainJam 2014, which demonstrates some of the various processes of indie game development, along with the people involved in them. The passion and enthusiasm of the participants is obvious and offers a positive look at one facet of the culture in action.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, GameLoading: Rise of the Indies will offer the thorough look at independent game development that Indie Game: The Movie didn’t quite deliver. It promises to reveal not only the industry of being indie but also the culture surrounding it, the history behind it and perhaps an idea of what the future may hold.
Disclosure: ind1e.com was provided with a private screener viewing of GameLoading: Rise of the Indies by the production team. No staff or contributors to ind1e.com are featured in the film. We are, however, financial backers of their final Kickstarter.