RGM @ EGX: Indie developers are brilliant

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In the penultimate article from our time at EGX 2016, I have put together a video of some conversations we had with indie developers in the Rezzed section of the convention, sandwiched between silky smooth exclusive first hand reactions of Tekken 7 and Sonic Mania from yours truly….

The games featured are:
00:00-01:00 Tekken 7
01:00-02:41 Gang Beasts
02:41-07:34 Dead Pixels 2
07:34-09:26 The Signal From Tolva
09:26-12:19 The Black Death
12:19-14:37 Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse
14:37-17:11 The Mannequin
17:11-19:52 Dead Cells
19:52-20:50 Sonic Mania

The Rezzed arena was situated right by the entrance, and is clearly a huge part of EGX’s legacy. Indeed there is a convention run by Eurogamer dedicated to indie – called Rezzed – every March/April in London. Independent gaming is a massive business these days, in that platforms like Steam mean pretty much anyone with time to put into it can make a game. The shake up in Steam review formatting was to combat spammers using it to sell their crap game, and the No Man’s Sky drama is an idea to regulate the marketing loopholes potentially exploited by small studios in order to attract an audience.

However, the bulk of the indie games industry is full of amazing people, working utterly tirelessly to put everything they have into something they truly love. That sounds like I’m gushing, and I am, frankly. In my year and a half of attending gaming events, no one excites me as much and makes me smile like a developer working on their own or in a small team to bring something special to their people.

I say “their people”, because that’s what we are. Gamers. You can’t put your money, love and time into a video game without being a fan, and you can’t be an independent developer without knowing your audience and getting involved in the culture and community, especially if you don’t have a massive publisher behind you. I guess you could get away with it then, but I have never known it to happen. The developers behind indie games are already integrated within the community. They are fans themselves, and constantly excited about the future of their industry. That’s why you can spot them at events; mingling with other devs they might or might not already know, trying AAA titles, playing their own games with the community, and chatting to press on the exhibition floor.

That’s what we did. There was a press area where we could invite people to be interviewed, but I wanted to show off the crowds, the noise and the games’ booths. These people have been here since Wednesday, setting up their space, trying to make it as attractive as possible, making sure everything works – just triple check it – and trying to beat the rising butterflies in the stomach – what happens if I’m sat next to a game better than mine? What if it keeps crashing, or bugging out? Will I know what to say to people? The devs have probably been to PAX and Gamescom already this year, but the nervousness is always there. It’s much more fun to chat to people who are standing next to their pride and joy.

Developers apply to come and be part of EGX, and probably have to go through a whole process to get there, but I’m not sure how that works. However it’s done, all the games here are good enough to be chosen, and each of the booths we walk past offers something exciting and new. That’s part of the beauty of indie games, after all. Players want something exciting and different, to make it worth supporting and becoming a part of.

The video is our very shortlisted choice, based on how the game looks at a glance and how excited we were to try it. There were literally tens more that we could have tried, and I wish we’d had the time. The Rezzed area of EGX 2016 was an utter triumph.

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