What Counts as an Indie Game?

Since we’re all about indie games, let’s discuss what defines an indie game so you know exactly where we stand when choosing the games we discuss in our news articles, reviews, previews, podcasts, and videos.

We don’t want to be really strict when it comes to which games we talk about but there are a few factors for us that we consider when deciding if a game counts as an indie game.

Team Size

The size of the teams behind indie games is one of the most important factors for us when deciding whether a game is actually an indie title or not. Generally, indie games are made by individual creators, developers, small teams, or small companies.

With that said, if a game exhibits all the other qualities that we expect from indie games, we’re not going to discount it because a good number of  people were involved in its development.

Financial Backing

Since indie titles have fewer people working on them than larger projects do, the financial backing is also smaller.

Indie games aren’t usually funded by big publishers since they prefer sticking to safe bets and funding games that they’re confident will be a commercial success.

However, this doesn’t mean that indie games cost peanuts to make. They just don’t cost anywhere near what the games made by massive studios do.

In some cases, an indie title can go over budget or end up gaining far more funding than you’d expect.

Scope

With a smaller team and less money for the project, most indie games are inevitably smaller than AAA games. Development time costs money and when you play an indie game, you don’t usually expect to find a sprawling open world, see DLC being released every few months, or enjoy single-player mode with hundreds of hours of gameplay.

This doesn’t mean that indie games are worse than bigger games, though. For us, quality over quantity is what makes a great indie title.

Publishing

Without the backing of publishers, indie games are usually published by the developers themselves. This results in most indie games being available on digital distribution platforms rather than having physical copies available, which cost more to produce.

That said, there are Indie games that are published by large publishers. For example, Fe was published by EA Originals and Bastion was published by Warner Bros.

Something Different

At Indie Bandits, we’re interested in good games created by smaller teams that push the boundaries of what games are capable of and are made with heart and passion, something which is sometimes missing from AAA games.

We’re here to share our passion for titles that are worth your time and don’t get the attention they deserve. Titles that remind us why we fell in love with video games in the first place.

While an indie game mightn’t meet all our criteria, if a game doesn’t meet any of them, you’re probably not playing an indie game.

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