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October 15th, 2021, 14:11
I have a hard time understanding this problem with EA. Other AAA games are long in the making, the only difference here is that we can have more visibility if we want to, instead of speculating about it and chasing rumours. Otherwise, it's easy to just ignore it until it's released.

Besides, it's not as if Larian was doing as many communications as other projects like Pathfinder or Solasta, previous communications were in July and February. It takes longer but the steps are further apart, it's hardly a constant teasing.

If that's such an issue (including the inevitable discussion on EA every single time), we can just decide not to post any news until the release. Personally I wouldn't care, there are enough other games and occupations. Or we can keep those news in a dedicated thread.
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October 15th, 2021, 14:11
I Still remember Swen's ambition to create 'The very big RPG to dwarf them all'.
I have a lot of respect for how Larian have navigated their development. Until Larian gets bought up or goes public they are very much an 'Indie'. Gaming is littered with successful games companies which could have stayed independent but had to chase the big pay out and screwed it all up. Swen calls the shots not shareholders.
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October 15th, 2021, 14:44
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
If that's such an issue (including the inevitable discussion on EA every single time), we can just decide not to post any news until the release. Personally I wouldn't care, there are enough other games and occupations. Or we can keep those news in a dedicated thread.
I don't think it's a big issue, and not something that should influence the newsposting. I think there's pros and cons, and it's a matter of personal preference. For those who don't like over-exposure, we just have to deal with it - it's clearly legitimate news for plenty of folks who are interested.

Personally, I do think there is such a thing as overexposure that applies to many things in the world today where there are so many scrambling for attention. But that's up to the studios.
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October 15th, 2021, 17:30
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Larian is about as much of an indie developer as CD Projekt at this point.

I don't get it. Why wouldn't Larian and CD Projekt be "indie developers" anymore? Just because of their size? They are both self-publishing and self-financing. I think those are the main criteria for independence ("indie") or no? I do not think that size has anything to do with it.

Both have cooperated with distribution partners for their games but that does not constitute a true publishing deal. It's just that they hired help for marketing and getting their games across the globe via established networks.

And as far as I can tell, WotC is merely the license holder. They don't qualify as a publisher either.

The independence of Larian Studios seems to have always been a very important point (holy grail levels of importance) for Swen ever since their bad experiences with publishers in the early/mid 2000s. I fail to see how they/he gave that up.

That is why I would definitely concur with anyone (YouTuber or not ) that Larian (and CD Projekt) is still an indie developer since they are not a company bound by the usual developer - publisher relationship (advance against royalties, milestone payments, creative direction a.k.a monetization influenced by publisher marketing decisions etc.).
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October 15th, 2021, 17:51
I don't think there's a really clear-cut definition of what an indie studio is. I suppose that it's operating independently of major publishers, and maintaining a controlling share. I think once you become a publicly-traded corporation like CDPR, with your own game store, then it's a stretch to consider it an indie anymore. At that point, you're pretty much as large and influenced by big money as the other publishers.

I'm not sure where Larian sits on that spectrum, at this point.
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October 15th, 2021, 18:03
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I think once you become a publicly-traded corporation like CDPR, with your own game store, then it's a stretch to consider it an indie anymore. At that point, you're pretty much as large and influenced by big money as the other publishers.

Then there are (almost) no indie developers in the world if we go by the definition of who owns the capital/equities/securities. The small indies who do not have a publisher will usually also have to take loans. Loans require securities. The company therefore effectively belongs to the bank or to the private investors --> no longer an indie company by your definition.

We'd have to know the background of each company's financing before we would be able to determine whether it is indie or not.
Until this becomes are more widely accepted method of categorizing, I will stick to the "classic" criteria of self-funding and self-publishing. Both is the case for Larian and CDP.

BTW, the founders/CEOs of CDP still own about 34% of the company (as per May 2021). The other 66% are free float.
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October 15th, 2021, 18:26
What is said is that I don't think there is a clear cut definition. It's a bit like what the court once said of the definition of pornography - you know it when you see it.

But I would definitely say that once you're in the ballpark of CDPR, we're not talking about anything we'd understand as indie anymore.
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October 15th, 2021, 19:03
I think the general mindset associates indie with something that is humble and has modest production values. If it becomes successful enough to hire a big team and engage in AAA production values, it loses the indie "aura of sympathy", whether it is still technically indie or not.

I feel it plays into the current "corporation hate" general mindset that you can feel in about anything you read in the internet. It's hard to find a fictional setting these days where there isn't a "corp" or "empire" painted as negatively as one could imagine. If it is very successful, they must be doing something nasty, illegal and/or dirty. At the very least, they definitely do not need sympathy, since they are rich, and rich people suck.

Otherwise, how are average Joes going to sleep at night with the idea that they've never been, and never will be that successful? It's obviously because they stand in the morale highground, and being poor and unremarkable is definitely their own choice. That, or bad luck. What it has nothing to do with is with dedication, hard work and talent.
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October 15th, 2021, 21:49
Indie RPG's used to mean very small teams working on a shoe string budget. You still see them with all the pixel art and platform games. Times change and so do definitions.

Link - https://hub.packtpub.com/difference-…e-development/

Edit: Exhibit A: Like this game with only one developer he's an indie developer.

Link - https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48686
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October 15th, 2021, 22:12
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
That is why I would definitely concur with anyone (YouTuber or not ) that Larian (and CD Projekt) is still an indie developer since they are not a company bound by the usual developer - publisher relationship (advance against royalties, milestone payments, creative direction a.k.a monetization influenced by publisher marketing decisions etc.).
Sure, if you go by the strict definition, they're an indie because they publish their own games. I think it's obvious what I meant though.

Also, it's pretty funny how triggered some people get when you mention stuff like that. It's not as if a dev being indie is a good or bad thing. I personally couldn't care less if there's a publisher behind them as long as it's not impacting the development in a negative way.
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October 16th, 2021, 04:10
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
I feel it plays into the current "corporation hate" general mindset that you can feel in about anything you read in the internet. It's hard to find a fictional setting these days where there isn't a "corp" or "empire" painted as negatively as one could imagine. If it is very successful, they must be doing something nasty, illegal and/or dirty. At the very least, they definitely do not need sympathy, since they are rich, and rich people suck.

Otherwise, how are average Joes going to sleep at night with the idea that they've never been, and never will be that successful? It's obviously because they stand in the morale highground, and being poor and unremarkable is definitely their own choice. That, or bad luck. What it has nothing to do with is with dedication, hard work and talent.
Like most issues it's not black or white at all. There are complex shades of grey here and ethics from several fields converge here. On the one hand, executive compensation is ridiculous and many corporations do horrible, exploitative things to maximize profit. There is a reason many CEOs and top executives are diagnosed sociopaths; sociopathy can actually be an excellent business trait to have.

On the other hand, in America, nobody forces you to work anywhere; and we're seeing people up and leaving jobs by the hundreds of thousands because they don't feel their work is appreciated or that they simply don't have to work. I don't think that being poor (or rich) is necessarily a choice as much as it is a set of circumstances you are born into - the rich people I know all came from families who helped them out a lot. They came from money. True "rags to riches" stories are very rare. Several things play into how successful you will be at your career - your starting capital and support and education, your own raw IQ and emotional intelligence; ability to talk to people and if necessary work in groups, your health - you might get a bad set of health cards dealt to you in life and you'll simply not start out with the advantages the healthy have. Empathy is important and it's important to not make issues my side / your side when there are a lot of variables at play.

People do like to dump on corporations, some of that is probably necessary and good to call out bad practices these companies engage in; like child labor etc., and people also need to take personal responsibility for their own life and happiness. There's a lot changing in the world right now as people think about how much they want "work" to be a part of their life, how much "work" they should have to do to be successful - and the answer is going to be different for everyone. My success might not be your success, etc.
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October 16th, 2021, 08:53
Larian hasn't been "indie" in a very long time. They certainly used to be niche with a stronger following in Europe.

I would classify Indie as being smaller, less likely to have salaried staff, and very unlikely they would rent/own their own large permanent premises. Larian has none of these features.
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October 16th, 2021, 09:16
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Larian hasn't been "indie" in a very long time. They certainly used to be niche with a stronger following in Europe.

I would classify Indie as being smaller, less likely to have salaried staff, and very unlikely they would rent/own their own large permanent premises. Larian has none of these features.
Larian could be considered a mid level developer at one point, but that was before the success of Original Sin. Now they have multiple studios and hundreds or employees.

So yeah I agree that puts them in the Triple A category now.

For reference if anyone remembers the new Fallout and Elder Scroll games were made with a smaller team. Todd mentioned it ranged from 75-100+ employees.

Though with the Microsoft accusation the team is now larger.
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October 16th, 2021, 09:22
Probably the closest technically correct term would be independent triple A developer.

They are, for all intents and purposes, independent from any publisher and can realise their own vision, but their game(s) is(are) made by hundreds of people.


Since very few developers even come close to this I would say Larian is an exception to how we usually view this kind of categories.

For example, simple indie studios would be the ones behind Underrail and Drox Operative to name some that come to mind.

Simple non indie studios would be obsidian.
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October 16th, 2021, 09:47
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Probably the closest technically correct term would be independent triple A developer.

Simple non indie studios would be obsidian.
The term that used to be used was B developer or mid developer for Obsidian. Though like with Bethesda they now have multiple teams and hundreds of employees.

Link - https://www.reddit.com/r/theouterwor…lea_developer/

As for Larian being independent I agree, but Swen usually finds a publisher. This time Baldur's Gate III is being partly funded by TSR or Wizards of the Coast. So that helps.
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October 16th, 2021, 10:22
As in many cases, it feels a bit of a dispute between the letter and the spirit of the definition. Feels like there is nothing that made Larian stop being "independent", but they are so big that it's hard to feel right about calling them "indie".

Either way, I think we can all be happy that they call the shots, and not the investors or shareholders, as someone else mentioned earlier. Freedom to choose where they allocate their resources, spend their development time, or release their product are some of the most important things you can have control over when creating any work of art, videogames included.

Of course, the EA and social pressure from vocal minorities may be impacting Larian's ability to make those decisions correctly, but I'm optimistic. They went through a similar (if less scrutinised, because their audience then was more niche, and less demanding) process with the DOS games, and they produced must-play masterworks out of it.
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October 16th, 2021, 11:13
"Indie" has a certain, there is a French word that is perfect here, but I don't know how to spell it - "coolness factor" attached to it. So I get why those who are fans of Larian still want to call them indie, lol.

Words are very powerful, as Orwell pointed out in his classic and must read book, so yea, it matters what words are used. I don't think I need to explain how this is a big part of todays power struggles in terms of politics, and no wonder one side wants to redefine words to make them more favorable towards their political point of view.

Luckily, the classic dictionaries will always be around, (well, hopefully, I'm optimistic by nature) and so that source is important to see how words have traditionally been defined. (By classic dictionary, I mean like what I consider the standard, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged)

And so people can then make up their own minds on whether they want to accept new, politically motivated, definitions of words.

Anyway, please excuse my minor detour about words and meanings (its a subject that deeply interests me)

I don't think Larian can be considered indie anymore. Not when they are making and spending millions and millions of dollars in game development. And have had huge hits in terms of sales numbers.

My 2 cents
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October 16th, 2021, 11:33
That's a bit of an unrelated detour in to P&R - I'm not seeing much of a political angle to this discussion. BTW, I'd suggest reading a bit more Orwell. The Road to Wigan Pier would be a good start.
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October 16th, 2021, 15:26
When I talk to friends we all refer to Larian and CDP as AAA developers. I would never consider them Indie at this point, they are too big, with a good set of known games under their belt. I also consider Obsidian, now under MS, to be in that category.

Owlcats and that company that made Encased … I see them as indie. As well as the small companies doing that greed focused game, Waylanders, and Wildermyth. Also Greedfall - they have a lot of games but they never seemed to really make it big, except maybe with Greedfall.

That being said I don't see either as good or bad. Size doesn't automatically make you evil or bad games anymore then being small means you are good and make good games. I have seem some terrible indie games and some excellent AAA games.

To me the overall idea of mega-corps being a bad thing is the control aspect they have, like Amazon as a simple example, over so much by those in charge. In addition I find that very large corporations are so far removed from every day life and people that they no longer relate to their workers or their customers for that matter. They make decisions focused on making money for the company, share holders, and themselves. This then leads to decisions that are seldom in the best interest of their workers or the general public unless it makes them money.

I think its the side effect that as you get larger you create distance between what you are doing and the impact your decisions make. That is in general for all big entities. I live in a small town, very small, and everyone in the town hall is well known. Much easier to relate to my town hall leaders than say the federal one.

Likewise easier to interact with a small developer, and be heard, then a large one. And so on and so on.
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October 16th, 2021, 17:24
I see indie studios as the ones who are more independent of conventional paths too, they are willing to take the risk to try something different. Maybe they search an identity or maybe they need to differentiate themselves to stand out because it's more difficult to be recognized at this stage, and they can't compete with big companies.

Can self-publishing companies with bigger budget still afford to take such risks by producing a game genre that is more niche, or that isn't a proven formula? It's probably more difficult than choosing mainstream games. I don't see that as indie anymore, but that's just how I perceive it when reading "indie" in the press or in a dev's description.

Like wolfgrimdark, I don't see either category as good or bad, both can make very enjoyable games (or music, movies, …).

PS: in a French dictionary I saw "Se dit du secteur de la production cinématographique ou musicale qui revendique une certaine autonomie artistique et financière face à l’hégémonie des majors et des circuits de distribution traditionnels", which I'll summarize as "artistic and financial autonomy in face of the hegemony of traditional circuits".
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