So Out to Play Interactive has been going through a metamorphosis recently. It started with an internal challenge to steer away from small kid-targeted, cute n quirky projects as our primary focus. This itself was a big move. But to steer more into the realm of casual game development paired with more involved, puzzle oriented platformers and adventures. This was huge. The metamorphosis is still underway.
For indie development, limited or no budget, daytime jobs and tenuous or non-existent social lives is the norm. The process can be taxing and risky. Game project selection needs to be handled wisely or no one eats (literally). If long vision projects are allowed to go stale, lose focus, let deadlines drift, the incentive or aspiration to make a kick-ass game will fade…expect failure.
To survive long vision projects, short, casual projects can be a nice break or chance to refresh mentally. They tend to be popular with a wider audience because they’re pretty, fun and easy to play in short spurts. Their narrative base can be shallow, but they provide distraction, accomplishment and satisfaction; all in an easy to use handheld package.
The pairing of these two mismatched siblings can be a hard pill(s) for some developers to reconcile. Each targets a different types of player, offer different types of creative satisfaction. But the ‘casual quickie’ can aid a team in honing their collective experience, confidence, funding and reputation (i.e. BUZZ).
They also help an indie game development team face the long vision projects with a sense that we won’t get our asses handed to us in six months when half the team gets fed up and says “Screw you…I’m done.” Each game under the belt, each cycle or creation-production-promotion-and postmortem makes the team stronger and better equipped to make better projects.
So before you poo-poo that casual game pitch from the programmer or art guy, think about it… on your commute home last night, what were people playing on their iPhones? (Probably some form of Tetris, but you get the point). Life happens in long winding paths. But sometimes, games are played between train stops. And what indie among us couldn’t use a little Angry Avian money (or even mildly agitated avian money for that matter…)?