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Can a game funded by a major developer be considered indie? The Game Awards think so

And what is indie? Are you asking me? Indie is you.

Can a game funded by a major developer be considered indie? The Game Awards think so
Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

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What is ‘indie’? The question has been among us almost since the word started to become fashionable. In the past, it was clear: it was a game made by an independent producer, as the name itself indicates, with fewer resources but more imagination. However, lately, and to avoid missing out, major studios have been experimenting with the ‘indie style’ (pixel art, retro music, etc.) to make a profit… And, in the end, what had to happen happened.

By the pending indie

The Game Awards have decided to nominate five games this year for best indie game of the year: ‘Cocoon’, ‘Dredge’, ‘Sea of Stars’, ‘Viewfinder’, and… ‘Dave the Diver’. And there lies the problem. The last game is the first from a small studio called Mintrocket. And Mintrocket is a subsidiary of Nexon, a giant South Korean company in the sector. It smells like an indie, tastes like an indie, and seems like an indie, but, from every angle, it’s not an indie.

And people, of course, have complained, saying that even ‘Baldur’s Gate 3‘ is a more independent game than ‘Dave the Diver’. It’s not about the game itself, but about the lack of a clear definition of the term. For years, the nebulous concept of indie has grown so vast that it has blurred its very existence. However, the Game Awards defend their decision, even if it’s with excuses that, frankly, seem far-fetched.

“Does independent mean the game’s budget? Does independent refer to where it was funded? Is it based on the team size? Is it the independent spirit of a game, meaning a smaller, different game? Everyone has their own opinion.” The internet doesn’t quite agree, but Geoff Keighley, president of the association, has added fuel to the fire.

“With ‘Dave the Diver,’ you can argue in any direction. It’s independent in spirit and in being a small game with a relatively small budget, but it’s from a larger entity whereas the rest of the games on this list are from smaller studios. (…) It’s a very complicated matter to have strict rules, so we let people judge for themselves.” In other words, he doesn’t plan to give in while indie developers of other games are banging their heads against a wall.

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Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

Editor specializing in pop culture who writes for websites, magazines, books, social networks, scripts, notebooks and napkins if there are no other places to write for you.

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