UPDATE: As per the comment below, FuturLab's Marsden has clarified that the original comment was intended as a personal guarantee to an individual IGN user, but says he will "probably jump in and offer this kind of guarantee to anyone that spits venom about indie games in a public place." Having played and loved both Velocity Ultra and 2X, I think his wallet is probably safe!
What do you think of when you hear a game described as "indie?" Do you make certain assumptions?
A lot of people do, though said assumptions can be both positive and negative. Some associate independently developed games with creativity and a willingness to push the boundaries of content that can be explored in games, both thematically and mechanically; others see them as pretentious, self-absorbed or overly ambitious. Some think of indie games as a celebration of gaming's heritage through old-school graphics or game mechanics combined with more modern features; others are tired of the seemingly endless parade of pixel-art games and titles with Minecraft-esque visuals.
There's no right answer, of course, since they're just opinions, but indie developers are naturally quite keen for their potential audience to focus a little less on the negative assumptions -- particularly if they're unfair, or clearly expressed by people who haven't even given them a chance -- and consider indie games on more equal footing with bigger-budget offerings.
James Marsden of Velocity developer FuturLab took a bold step yesterday by offering a personal guarantee that Vita owners would enjoy his team's excellent puzzle-shooter Velocity Ultra -- going so far as to offer $7.50 (the price of the game) to anyone who played the trial version up to level 18, still felt that they weren't enjoying themselves and could provide proof that they had at least given the game a fair shot. (It's well worth your time, as our review explains; the upcoming sequel is looking great, too.)
Marsden made his guarantee over on IGN following a comment from a user that "no-one cares" about arcade shooters on Vita, that titles like TxK and Velocity are "shovelware of the sorts our phones can handle," and that they would much rather see big-budget console-style experiences -- "real games," as they put it -- in the palm of their hand.
"I'm saying this because us indies are creating really great, deep game play for PS Vita that could NEVER exist on a phone," said Marsden, "and the public perception needs to change about indie titles being somehow inferior."
Here's Marsden's full comment. You can see it in its original context here.