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Published on November 16th, 2012 | by Nidde


Lack of repetition

You know what there are very few of on the indie scene? Something that publishers and corporations love to get out there, because it usually means some guaranteed sales. Something that most of the time hinders innovation and often is accused of killing a franchise that once was loved.


You won’t find two teams of developers that are in a cycle with each other so that they each have a game released every-other year.

There are very few sequels and iterations on the indie scene. Sure, there are those that follow such patterns, but they are mostly variations of single-serving games. There are a few highlights, such as 3D Logic 2 and a bunch of escape-the-room games, but those should be more viewed as “new maps” other than sequels. You won’t find two teams of developers that are in a cycle with each other so that they each have a game released every-other year. Such is actually currently the case with the Call of Duty franchise. Activision has Treyarch develop a CoD game for release while they simultaneously have Infinity Ward work on a different CoD game for release the following year. That way Activision has a Call of Duty to release each year and the development teams each get two years to work on their next iteration.

Then there are the sports games. The biggest sports have games coming out each year with updated rosters, stats, results and history. Not only does this limit the amount of improvements between each game in a series, it tends to stop new ideas. There’s a fine line between fans of a franchise wanting more of the same at the same time as they want something new. This leads to new concepts being boxed in to variations of similar themes that have been used before. And these changes are not given away for free as patches, nor are they sold cheap as DLC. No, they’re released as individual titles each year with prices to match.

What’s so bad about wanting more of a good thing?

There’s a question that comes up in this phenomenon: What’s so bad about wanting more of a good thing? Wouldn’t you want more levels from the creators of Super Meat Boy? That’s exactly the point. Team Meat went on to the next thing, they didn’t keep developing and re-developing the same game over and over again. Instead, they created something new. Something that only they would have come up with, because they are Team Meat.


Isaac, the poor, tortured and haunted protagonist from The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac may be morbid, twisted, disturbing, weird and wrong, but it’s the fruition of a team not trying to milk a franchise. Updating their games, coming up with new content for their games, these are good things. Expanding with some DLC called Wrath of the Lamb at a low price, this is also a good thing. What they’re not doing is releasing content updates as entirely new games.

They also don’t have the development costs that the big sports games and AAA-shooters have, so that might be a factor as to why they can release content without selling an entirely new game. But the point is that they’re making new games as well, not just getting the next holiday blockbuster ready. While there’s no denying that many of these games are great, one can not really make a case for how they’re innovating. But hey, a good game is a good game and what better way to spend some downtime. It’s not like you’re throwing money away, you’re buying pedigree.

Also, the team over at “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” make a point.

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About the Author

For 500 days, from January 1st, 2013, until May 16th, 2014, Nidde will set aside all AAA-titles and only play indie games to find out if the indie scene can replace the big budget landscape.

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