Freebird Games’ road as a successful indie studio might not have been an easy one but the establishment of To The Moon as one of the best indie games ever created is a great achievement, to begin with. We recently talked with the studio and get an inside look at what they think about the future of the indie industry.
Kan Gao, the director, illustrator, and composer of Freebird Games’ projects is the man to talk to when it comes to the studios’ success. We asked him about what he thinks about the next generation of consoles with Playstation 5 and Xbox Scarlett. His view on indie games and how they could benefit from that big leap in performance. According to Gao, the upcoming consoles should welcome indie games and make them grow in a positive way. He claims:
Honestly, I haven’t been paying too much attention to that aspect of things. I’m quite the simpleton when it comes to those side of things – I just make my things and try to keep them interesting, and they aren’t really hardware demanding. I do hope the consoles grow in a welcoming direction for indies though, of course – it’d be too much of shame in terms of innovation for games if they weren’t, given that indies are so much more flexible in terms of gambling on new ideas.
When it comes to small studios, creating the necessary atmosphere for their games is priority number 1. Since a team of 10 to 20 developers can’t create the visual state of a AAA title, it always comes down to how the platform treats your games and how much they believe in your vision.
When it comes to games like To The Moon, Stardew Valley or Celeste, we find that indies can create an even bigger impact on the industry than huge triple-A projects. If companies realize the power the indie community holds right now, then the future looks bright. Nintendo Switch has made a great step towards that with the inclusion of thousands of indies to its library, without saying no to one’s vision.
What could big developers learn from indie studios though? Gao believes that where big developers have the means to create something great, the pressure of the market sways them away from the main goal. In contrast, indie studios can stay focused on the main goal easier. When asked about what triple-A studios can learn from indie ones, Gao said:
Basically, an openness to giving ideas and titles a chance, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. Creating a friendly environment for experimentation is really the best way for the medium to grow – and even the existence of things that may be disliked by someone might one day inspire something that the same person might truly enjoy.