What is Indie?

Independent game development has exploded over the last few years. It isn’t a new way of creating games (that is how the industry got started), but since digital distribution introduced an alternative way to publish games, indie game development has truly become a scene.

Five years ago you would rarely hear someone introduce themselves as independent or feel the need to – indie was just indie. Now that indie games are in fashion, you can’t throw a stone without hitting an indie developer. I couldn’t be happier.

Don’t get me wrong. I love sprawling, budget-busting products from massive teams that span the globe, from The Last of Us to Dragon Age: Inquisition, but there is something special developing in the independent game space.

Indie devs don’t have to answer to their marketing departments – they are their marketing departments. Their focus groups are their peers, their fans, and sometimes a beta or two. They have the reins of their own games for better or for worse.

This month, Game Informer is giving the world the first in-depth look at a couple of next-generation indie games in 17-Bit’s Galak-Z: The Dimensional, launching exclusively on the PlayStation 4, and Capybara’s Below, an Xbox One exclusive.

Working with these studios is a breath of fresh air, as their enthusiasm for their products is infectious and their love of games and the art of games is easy to see in their projects.

So what is indie? Is it freedom? Is it honesty? Is it just plain old low-budget games? I guess you can say it is everything the establishment isn’t (at least for now). But whatever it is, it’s a place where gaming is exploring both old ideas and new while bringing us games that giant publishers can’t or won’t take the chance to make. That is something to celebrate, regardless of the label.

Game Informer magazine is the largest computer and video game magazine worldwide. For up to the minute gaming news and information, visit Game Informer.

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