Indie Games Week

You've heard of all the big publishers and the big development studios, but what is it like to be an independent developer? We ask this year's Independent Games Festival finalists about their games, their experiences, and their predictions for the future.


Looking at the glossy boxes sitting on retail shelves and hearing about the billions of dollars software companies rake in annually, it's hard to imagine that there was a time when software applications were designed and programmed by determined individuals then distributed in plastic bags with mimeographed manuals. Despite the rise and success of commercial game publishers, independent developers have been responsible for some of gaming's most important milestones. At times they've created and even popularized entire genres, as id did with Castle Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Indie developers have also played an indispensable role in keeping genres alive that the bigger companies abandon because of poor profits.

The availability of new tools, better education, and, most importantly, the Internet have provided indie developers with more opportunities than ever, and the results are obvious. More and more teams form to create the kinds of games they love to play, and the overall quality of these games has steadily increased such that it's sometimes difficult to tell independently produced projects from multimillion-dollar productions.

Throughout the week we'll examine the state of independent game development by talking to the 10 finalists in this year's Independent Game Festival. In many ways, the teams couldn't be more different. Some have been in the business for a long time, while others are just getting started. Many sell their games commercially; a few still give away their creations. They hail from all over the world, use different tools, and approach game design from varying backgrounds. The things they do have in common are talent, skill, and a passion to create games their way. We asked each team to tell us about their games and the life and times of independent developers.


Day One:

Virtual U
Virtual U blurs the lines between strategy, simulation, and job training.

Shattered Galaxy
Nexon's massively multiplayer RTS game is all about online warfare.


Day Two:

Chase Ace 2
Danish developer Space Time Foam created this top-down shoot-'em-up with cartoons in mind.

Hardwood Spades
The independent Silver Creek has made a unique fantasy-themed and visually stunning card game.


Day Three:

Hostile Space
InterAdventure's Hostile Space will let you captain starships in a persistent online universe.

Gigantic Games' IronSquad is an upcoming, action-oriented multiplayer-only real-time strategy game.


Day Four:

Magitech's Takeda is a real-time wargame set in 16th-century Japan.

Archmage: Stabat Mater
Set in the Archmage universe, Mari Telecommunications' new RPG will be fully 3D.


Day Five:

Ethermoon's Strifeshadow is a multiplayer-only real-time strategy game set in a fantasy realm with three distinct races.

WildTangent's SabreWing is an online-only, 3D space combat game based on a unique Web technology.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story