Indie Developers: Are they getting free passes?

 

This is going to come out like a rant post, and you wouldn’t be wrong. While I have nothing wrong with the topic’s, subject and what-not I am going to discuss, I feel that it needs to be said and looked at. I mean no offense to anyone I mention or talk about.

This was sparked fresh from the following trailer:

Yes, Scott Cawthon, the genius behind the FNAF games (aside from that weird…FNAF world game…) has release the trailer for yet, another FNAF game. I realise this looks like a spin-off, but it’s clearly set in the same world/lore and I’ve got no doubt it’ll link into the main games somehow and continue it’s very convoluted and poorly thought out story that requires a team of theorists to make any sort of sense out of it. (Note: we’ve never had to have a theory for Dark Souls, a series that isn’t exactly as forth-coming with it’s lore or story, but anyone with a brain-cell could figure it out and link the dots.)

But I can’t help but feel that, as good as FNAF is…Scott is doing something that EVERYONE is currently shitting on within the gaming industry: He is churning out games at an astronomical rate.


The image that started it all

I need to mention this again. What Scott does as a one man person is god-damned amazing. To churn out these games at the rate he does, as a one man army is amazing. In a way he has earned the right to continue something he clearly has so much passion for. I can’t fault him for continuing it.

But the rate of these games that are being churned out is kinda worrying. Let’s look at the release dates.

  • FNAF 1 came out August 8th 2014
  • FNAF 2 came out November 10th 2014 (a difference of 3 months and 2 days)
  • FNAF 3 came out March 3rd 2015 (a 3 month and 20 day difference)
  • FNAF 4 was release july 23rd 2015 (a 4 month and 21 day difference)
  • FNAF world was released, but subsequently rereleased following an uproar over it’s poor quality. The re-release was out on February 12th 2016 (with it originally being a Janurary 21st release date, the difference with the re-release is a 6 month and 20 day difference)
  • Assuming he keeps to the fall release date, I’d estimate Sister Location to release 6 months roughly after FNAF World.

While each game is quite short compared to what AAA developers do, and the team differences Scott is an indie equivalent of what everyone should be disliking about game development. Yet for some reason, he is getting a free pass, gone to critical acclaim and the hype surrounding his announcement is through the roof.

And there is a good reason for that: His games are actually fun and are rarely rehashes.
The core concepts between the first 4 are there. You’re stuck in a room, got to defend yourself from the mean animatronics till 6am but rarely have you done the same thing twice between games. The second introduced the mask mechanic and got rid of the doors. The third you only had a single animatronic to worry about along with ventilation and so on so forth, the fourth placed a greater emphasis on sound design and listening. Each game has done an evolution of the FNAF 1 formulae.

Sister Location looks to keep the FNAF formulae but rids of the single room concept, (if one scene in the above trailer is to be believed.) To what end Scott has evolved it remains to be seen. The models have clearly been cleaned up and improved along with texturing and so on so forth. (I’m curious if he’s used a new engine or simply found a way to improve stuff.) and that is the main difference between himself, and the AAA industry.

Scott clearly shows the passion and dedication in his series to improve and make each one slightly different than the last. Putting in little Easter eggs and clues as to the story of the FNAF world. (Which again, I do have to say is needlessly convoluted that it required a theory channel to figure it out) Not to say that AAA dev’s don’t show passion or dedication there are a few out there. (Which I know, it’s hard to believe what with Activision and EA being a jerk)

When it comes to Indie developers, It’s important to note that their games are shorter, so their development time is shorter as a result of course. (Evidence by the time difference between FNAF 4 and FNAF world) and it’;s also important to note that unlike AAA development, Scott is probably earning pocket change compared to them and doing this full time…well, he has gotta pay the bills somehow right?

So looping back to the title. Are indie developers getting free passes? The answer I’ve personally come to. Yes, they are.
But are 100% deserving of the free pass in most cases. The games indie dev’s do are clearly oozing with love, care and passion for what they do, something that the AAA industry has seemingly lost (aside from the final few) and people love seeing passion being put into the games they enjoy and not just endless rehashes of the same game but reskinned with a shiny coat of paint (I’m looking at you CoD)

That said, Scott really needs to pull the breaks on the development train. If you include FNAF world and Sister’s location rough fall release date. We’ve had six games within a 2 year period. That’s an insane amount of both work to do and games to release in a short period of time. After Sister Location, I hope that Scott will take a much needed hiatus from the series to develop the inevitable sequel/spin-off and give his next game more meat.

 

While I’m on the subject of passion, there’s a game called Mordhau being developed and I like to think of it like a spiritual successor of Chivalry Medieval warfare that Torn Banner could have done, but a group of passionate Chivalry fans have decided to do it. Addressing many of the issues they (and most of the chivalry community have) and improving on the 1st person sword based combat. I am personally really excited for the game and you should at least check out the dev blog below.

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5 thoughts on “Indie Developers: Are they getting free passes?

  1. If the games are the right length, fun to play, and people clearly like them, then why is it “too fast”? You’ve listed loads of good things this person has done, and said his one problem is that he does all these good things too quickly and he’d be more respected if he slowed down for no reason and face the games ” more meat “.

    I don’t know what that means it why you think he wants to do that. I’m not sure how this is a rant considering you say good things constantly, or why you think someone who is apparently known for good things and working within his scope is ” getting a free pass ” . I also can’t tell what you mean by that.

    Maybe my lack of familiarity is the problem, but I have no clue what is wrong here and your comments confused me.

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    1. I think in my bid to come off as not a jealous ass my original point got lost along the way somewhere.
      When I mean by a free pass is simply the fact he is churning out the games so quickly, and no-one has called him out on it. Yet would be quick to call out AAA dev’s for doing the same thing yearly.

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  2. I have to disagree with the lore analogy. I watch Vaatividya, and he has a team to do his lore videos for the Dark Souls series. I personally like the way both games tell their story in an indirect way. Leaves plenty open for theorists to play with.

    I’d have to say Scott’s churn out rate is pretty amazing for just a single dude (that I know of) to be putting out games, and being unique in mechanics for each. He’s also help YouTubers get attention with his games. So I would definitely give him a pass. He probably also realizes that this is his prime time and to take advantage of it as much as possible, so I don’t blame him.

    Great call out at the end, giving some attention to another game you wanted to point out. Good touch.

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