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6 Reasons Why Indie Games Are Surpassing AAA Titles

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Image Credit: Lukenn Sabellano/Unsplash

Some gamers wouldn’t dare drift away from the norm and play an indie game. Sure, there’s the occasional indie game that isn’t that great, but as a whole, indie games have really come a long way. You can find hundreds of fantastic indie games on Steam, and even some on console.

Indie developers provide a gaming experience that’s very different from what the big names in the AAA gaming industry have to offer. More specifically, these are the main reasons why indie games are quickly surpassing AAA titles.

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1. Affordability

It’s no secret that indie games are way cheaper than AAA games. A single AAA game typically goes for $60 or more, when you can get three indie games for that price. Some indie games are even priced at under $10—not to mention that their price rarely gets anywhere near $60. Thanks to these affordable prices, building a library of amazing indie games is totally doable.

Plus, AAA games usually end up costing way more than $60. Add in the money you fork out for DLC and microtransactions, and you might end up spending upwards of $100 on a single game. If an indie game gets DLC, you can count on it being affordable, and not as in-your-face as AAA DLC.

2. Short and Sweet Gameplay

AAA games suck you in for hours and days on end. It can take you weeks or even months to finish games like Fallout 4 or Skyrim. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you have to be prepared to take hours out of your days just to play a AAA game.

Indie games usually don’t take that long to complete. So if you’re short on time, and don’t feel like spending weeks on a single game, pick up an indie game instead. You can get done with some indie games in under a day, while others will take you a bit longer.

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3. Original Art, Characters, and Storylines

It gets tiring to play games that have the same type of style, characters, and stories. Indie studios can afford to take risks with games. That’s why you’ll see indie games that have a huge emphasis on art and story.

Take Cuphead for example—this game has unique hand-drawn art inspired by cartoons from the 1930s. You’ll see equally amazing art in games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Sundered, Hyper Light Drifter, and much more.

Even if an indie game doesn’t have extravagant art, it makes up for it with detailed stories and three-dimensional characters. Undertale is made with minimalistic pixel graphics, and that’s understandable for a game made only by one person. As you play Undertale, you can easily look past the graphics because of its engaging characters and story.

4. Unique and Challenging Gameplay

AAA games are developed for all skill levels—they’re made to accommodate the budding gamers, as well as the seasoned veterans. Unfortunately, this often results in games that are too easy.

Since indie games are very niche, they bring much more challenging gameplay. Indie games like Rocket League and The Binding of Isaac are far from easy. It takes a while to master the game’s unique mechanics and actually start breezing through the game.

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5. They’re Developed to Perfection

AAA games have disappointed gamers one too many times. Many AAA games are rushed, leading to bugs and unpleasant gameplay.

On the other hand, indie developers take their time in crafting the game to perfection. No one’s rushing indie developers to finish the game. Indie studios don’t take sales for granted, which means the game has to be amazing upon release.

6. A Smaller Audience Means Quicker Bug Fixes

Requests to fix a bug or improve gameplay in a AAA game often fall upon deaf ears. AAA developers release patches at a snail’s pace—that is, if they even release them at all.

Indie developers are much more attentive when it comes to fixing their game. Leave a comment on an indie game’s Steam discussion page, and you might see a response from the developer. Whenever a large number of people are experiencing an issue, you can expect the developer to fix it quite rapidly.

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Indie Games Aren’t the Money-Making Machines We Love to Hate

Indie studios won’t try to drain your wallet or take advantage of you. Most indie developers hone in on the quality of the game, and that’s what makes them so great. It’s refreshing to experience a game that’s actually conscious of what players need and want.

Are you as sick of AAA developers as I am? While AAA games probably won’t disappear entirely, we’re bound to see more AAA games that don’t meet our expectations.

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2 Comments

  1. fyi, the final link for “AAA games that don’t meet our expectations” doesn’t work—the URL is in it twice.

    I play both Indie & AAA. Price isn’t a reason, as I wait a year or more for price drops in the sales—eg I’m a big Civ fan but haven’t bought any of Civ6 yet. Same with another fav Far Cry, I just got New Dawn.

    Don’t forget casual games either, some are great, eg if you like strategy I highly recommend the venerable Royal Envoy or Northern Tales series. One great thing about them is you get a 1-hour demo to try before buying.

    1. Thanks for the heads up about the link! I do agree that there are some AAA titles that are worth splurging on. I can’t resist a new Legend of Zelda or Animal Crossing game.

      I haven’t tried Royal Envoy or Northern Tales. I might have to take advantage of that demo!

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