The rise of digital distribution means new games are no longer being produced by professional developers alone. While indie games are on the rise the biggest developers still produce better games, having had years to hone their skills and the budget to hire the world’s best and brightest.
You don’t become one of the worlds leading developers without creating some of the greatest games of a generation. For instance, The Legend of Zelda games can still captivate me as much as they did when I was 7, I can still waste hours playing The Sims, and yes each FIFA is better than the last; you just need more practice. I have yet to find an indie game that I haven’t got bored of after a month, despite the customary surprise and admiration initially.
The reason indie developers seem like the better option is because you only hear about those brilliant games that make it through the scrutiny of the discerning public via word of mouth or more likely, word on screen. The less than perfect are left to die by the roadside with you being none the wiser. The biggest developers’ failures are oh so apparent only because everyone was expecting greatness, and they would be entitled to, due to an often glowing track record.
Despite these fabulous big name releases, my personal favourite is the recent NaughtyDog project, The Last of Us. This for me is a perfect of example artistry in the gaming industry. The landscapes, the atmosphere and the storytelling all rival best-selling blockbuster movies. Often games of this calibre tend to fall down when it comes to actual gameplay but NaughtyDog as usual have pulled out all the stops to make sure immersion is never broken. I have never felt so connected to the characters in a game like this before, and, there are moments that left me more devastated than I have been in a long time.
These developers can afford to truly research their scripts, leading you through an intricate and thoughtful narrative effortlessly. Combined with top quality voice acting it becomes very easy to forget that you are playing a game at all.
In short, what you get from indie developers is short-lived wonder but mainstream developers are on an inevitable march towards perfecting their art, through constant refinement and very vocal feedback.