A great piece by Chris Suellentrop diving into the rise of the indie game developer at the Games Developers Conference:
“There’s always been cool, experimental stuff going on in the indie space, but it’s broadened its reach,” said Steve Gaynor, a co-founder of the Fullbright Company, a studio that consists of four people in a house in Portland, Ore. “It’s become a lot more viable, business-wise, to be an indie.” (The Fullbright Company’s forthcoming game Gone Homewas nominated for excellence in narrative at the independent awards.)
I didn't have a chance to check-out Gone Home, but I can say from speaking to a lot of developers there is a push toward a better understanding of narrative and emotional through-line in much of their work. Of particular interest to independent filmmakers are the financial models that game developers are using to create and distribute their work:
Because of digital distribution, game designers no longer need to have contracts with publishers — which might once have secured them vital shelf space at Walmart — to succeed financially, Mr. Gaynor said. Beyond money to pay for licensed music and some voice acting, Gone Home’s budget basically pays for food and rent and living expenses for four people. “Our burn rate is really low,” he said.