Gaming

When video games are developed alone

As such, several modest-budget works in recent years have been celebrated by critics and the public as being done by one person.

Among these famous names we find Lucas Pope, author of Papers, Please (2013), Toby Fox and his Undertale (2015) or Eric Barone, designer of Stardew Valley (2016).

Stardew Valley video game.

Photo: Chucklefish Studio

Canadian Dan Beckerton develops his game

These examples fueled my motivation to work on my own game.recognizes 33-year-old Canadian Dan Beckerton, who is finalizing the final details of the Spirittea, scheduled for early 2023.

The player assumes the role of a character in charge of managing public baths where spirits rest in a colorful and calming universe inspired by the animated film Spirited Away.

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Spirittea, which received a $20,000 (CA$27,000) budget from a crowdfunding campaign, is the result of nearly three years of solo work, allowing complete freedom of creativitybut requires multitasking.

I create graphics, game mechanics, write story and dialogue, compose music and sound effects.detailed by Dan Beckerton.

quit to start on my own

After two years at the Paris studio of video game giant Ubisoft, Zucchini opened his own business in 2018.

The decision to leave was not easy, he recalls, but my desire to develop solo games was stronger.

On his YouTube channel, which has over 86,000 subscribers, Doc Jero (Jero Zucchini) documents the progress of his third project, Larsin Laser. A way to keep in touch with your community and avoid particularly solitary activities.

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When I started, the first thing I missed was the social aspect. I didn’t see anyone else– admits Jero Zucchini, who took almost a year to adapt to a new life.

Success is on the way

However, it’s hard to explain why some of these games can be successful at a time when major projects combine ultra-realistic graphics and gigantic content.

These are very personal games and it shows.analyzes Mike Rose, founder of No More Robots, a British publisher specializing in this kind of production, which publishes Spirittea.

For Alizée Veauvy Guilliams Janin, one of the organizers of the Indie Game Nation festival in Paris, one of the explanations also lies in the originality of these creations.

We can afford more risks, because these are projects, sometimes very short in time and, above all, not necessarily associated with financial risk.she argues.

In a particularly fiercely competitive environment—about 90% of games released on the Steam PC gaming platform are unprofitable or unprofitable—it’s important to stand out, whether it’s word of mouth or an influencer’s video.

If successful, however, the numbers may make you dizzy: within six months of its release, Stardew Valley had sold almost 1.5 million copies.

These are relatively rare cases,” detains Alize Vovi Gilliams Zhanen. A profitable stand-alone game for its creator is already very good.

In 2021, Jéro Zucchini’s first two games netted him around €12,000 (CAD$15,800), nearly half of his yearly earnings.

Not enough to make a decent living from it, but like the author of Spirittea, he hopes one day to be as successful as one of his illustrious predecessors. His latest creation, Larceny Lazer, is due out at the end of October.

4 Popular single-player video games

Developed by American Jonathan Blow, Braid was released on the Xbox 360 console in 2008 and then in 2009 on PC.

However, its creator received the support of the designer in the last stages of production of this inventive platform game filled with puzzles and riddles, which required three years of work.

Now millionaire Jonathan Blow is investing his winnings in a new, more ambitious project, The Witness, one of the most notable games of 2016.

This social phenomenon world-building game has sold over 200 million copies.

Initially, the prototype, given to players in 2009, was the work of one man: Swede Markus Persson, nicknamed Notch.

With the popularity of his game growing, he quickly founded Mojang Studios and developed his project with several assistants for release in 2011.

The success was such that Markus Persson sold Mojang in 2014 to US giant Microsoft for US$2.5 billion (CAD$3.4 billion).

Released on PC in 2013, Papers, Please puts the player in the shoes of a customs officer who must decide whether or not to let migrants through, leading to moral choices, sometimes with dramatic consequences.

Its author, Lucas Pope, left Naughty Dog, one of the largest American studios, to take on this project alone. hard to describe, especially as something funhe told the BBC in 2014.

That same year, Papers, Please was named Best Game at the UK BAFTA Awards, along with Naughty Dog’s most recent success, The Last of Us.

A big fan of the Harvest Moon series, a farm life simulation, Eric Barone decides to ditch the concept in his own way. After over 4 years of difficult and lonely development, Stardew Valley is coming to PC in early 2016.

According to American trade journalist Jason Schreier, nearly 1.5 million copies were sold six months later, generating nearly US$21 million (CA$28 million) in revenue. In March 2022, the game’s sales exceeded 20 million.

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