RPG Codex - Indie Roundtable
An indie roundtable featuring Jason Compton (The Broken Hourglass) , Thomas Riegsecker (Eschalon), Steven Peeler (Depths of Peril) and Vault Dweller (Age of Decadence) is up at RPG Codex, discussing various aspects of their respective projects and why they made certain decisions. Here's one of the shorter answer sets:
Why the indie way? Isn't working for a reputable gaming company better than working out of your mom's basement?
Jason: Possibly, but from what I know of the traditional studio experience, it wouldn't have been the right thing for me. Never mind the issue that with a traditional studio, I almost certainly wouldn't be able to take part in the kind of game we're creating with TBH (since, as mentioned, very few companies make this kind of game), I have long been self-employed and I like the lifestyle that allows me. I also am not the kind of person to go running off to California or Texas or Alberta in order to chase a dream. Raven Software is located a short walk from my house (practically just down the street, in fact), but I don't think that would provide me the kind of game development opportunity I'm looking for. So running my own show was the only way to go.
(For the record, my mom's house doesn't have a basement. Mine does, but I prefer my second-floor office.)
Thomas: These “reputable gaming companies” are the ones that are producing the RPGs that none of us seem to enjoy. Working for a large developer means that you are forced to make the game that The Suits want you to make...you are not making your game, you are making their game. I decided that I wanted to make my game.
By the way, it would be much cheaper to work in my mom’s basement, but like Jason, I prefer working in my studio. There are far fewer spiders.
Steven: I actually worked at a reputable game company (Ritual Entertainment) for six years. Don't get me wrong those were six good years, but I learned the hard way that most small game developers have very little control. Since the publishers tend to pay all the bills, they tend to have all the control. I'm not saying this is necessarily wrong, but it's not terribly fun. Anyways, as an indie we have all of the control, which means we will not make a clone of some popular game. We don't have to chase after whatever is hot right now, and we don't have to add every feature under the sun because the publisher seems to think it is critical.
Vince: Unfortunately, the mainstream industry is still obsessed with action RPGs of all shapes and sizes, and since I don't think I have much to contribute to this exciting genre, I have no choice but to try things on my own.