New Documentary Charts the Rise of the Indies

An upcoming Kickstarter-funded documentary aims to take a personal view of how indies have disrupted the traditional games industry.

News by Pete Davison, .

The term "indie" is one that remains ill-defined. Most people know what they're talking about when they say "indie games," but ask them to actually define it and you'll get a lot of different answers.

There's one unifying factor that's hard to deny, though: the rise of independent developers has been enormously disruptive -- in a good way -- to the games industry's traditional way of thinking. Indie games have taught us that you don't have to pay $60 for a satisfying experience; indie games have taught us that you don't always have to have the latest and greatest graphics to produce an incredibly compelling experience; indie games have taught us that video games, as a medium, are just as capable of having "auteurs" -- strong, creative individuals who exert a clear and recognizable influence over their work -- as anything else.

An upcoming Kickstarter-funded documentary known as GAMELOADING: Rise of the Indies aims to chart the development of the indie movement as a whole: how it rose up and challenged the mainstream studios, and helped change our perception of what games can be.

The team behind the project is Australian, and has started the journey towards the eventual release of the film with an exploration of the development teams in its home country. It's now ready to travel out to the USA to interview developers at PAX Prime and IndieCade, then on to Europe to do interviews in Stockholm, Belgium, France, Italy and Romania. After that, the filmmakers will move on to Japan and explore the burgeoning Eastern indie development scene before heading back to Australia to check in with the teams they've been following there.

So far, the team has interviewed a broad range of people from across the industry, ranging from mainstream(ish) developer Obsidian's Chris Avellone to media outlet Polygon's editor-in-chief Chris Grant via mobile developer Halfbrick Studios' designer Luke Muskat. Future interviews planned include Jens Bergensten from Mojang's Minecraft team; Incredipede developers Colin and Sarah Northway; Spaceteam developer Henry Smith; Q-Games' James Mielke, who is also the director of Japanese indie scene event BitSummit, and numerous others.

The Kickstarter project is seeking $50,000 to help cover costs of production and travel. At the time of writing, it's raised over $9,000 (no Dragon Ball jokes, please) with 33 days left to go in the funding period. Rewards on offer for backers range from HD downloads of the film when it's finished to bundles of indie games, posters, T-shirts and the opportunity to be in the film itself.

Find out more about the project and watch its progress over on Kickstarter.

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