Being a successful indie game requires lots of dedication and the success of the indie game isn’t always immediate. Nevertheless, in this post, we’ve handpicked 5 indie developers who have clearly showed that hard work can ultimately pay off in a great way, particularly with regards to competing with more experienced teams making the AAA titles.
Founded by Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen, Team Meat is a reputable game company that has over the years developed top-notch indie games. Edmund McMillen began his career as a developer creating flash games. In 2008, McMillen developed Super Meat Boy, which has over the years won several awards.
In 2010, Super Meat Boy was released for PC and Xbox 360, with the Xbox 360 edition getting a superb 90/100 rating from Metacritic. McMillen’s story was a successful developer was even featured in the “Indie Game: The Movie” documentary. The company went ahead and released two more successful games: Aether and The Binding of Isaac.
Although Mojang isn’t considered an independent company anymore, they created one of the best indie games out there, Minecraft. Minecraft was created by developers Jakob Porser and his friend Markus Persson. Porser opened an independent studio in 2009 to simplify their work on the title.
After only 12 months, Mojang grew to become a company of 12 employees. Napster and Facebook even offered to buy the company in 20111, but the developers rejected that offer. By the year 2021, Mojang was estimated to be worth more than £110.9 million. Mojang remained independent up to 2014 when Microsoft acquired it for £3.47 billion.
Jamie Cheng, an experienced Indie developer who had previously worked at Sega’s Relic Entertainment studio founded Klei Entertainment in 2005. After only 4 years in operation, Klei Entertainment had grown to have 9 employees. The company officially released its first game Eets for PC in the year 2006.
Eets was ultimately released for Xbox 360 and its title changed to Eets: Chowdown, featuring a mini-game by the name March Madness. The new game featured 120 levels. Don’t Starve remains Klei’s most popular title.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, SuperGiant Games is well known for games such as Transistor and Bastion. Developers Gavin Simon and Amir Rao established supergiant back in 2009, after quitting their jobs and moving in together to start working on indie games. Bastion was their first successful title, with several critics citing it as the best Game of the Year.
After Bastion, the developers created Transistor, which proved to be another masterpiece, getting an excellent score of 83/100 on Metacritic.
The Chinese Room
The Chinese Room is a renowned gaming company from the UK and the company is well known around the world for great titles such as Dear Esther. Their most successful title was produced as the Half-Life 2 mode when the team was still working from the University of Portsmouth. After the University of Portsmouth failed to fund the game, the team turned to Indie Fund for financial assistance.
Dear Esther was so successful that 6 hours after it was released, The Chinese Room had enough to pay back the Indie Fund’s Investment. Besides Dear Esther, the company released a few other popular games including Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs.
Many Indie developers have made phenomenal games out there. Nonetheless, the developers featured on this list have killed it and they have all been able to release successful titles. With that level of work ethic and talent, these professional developers behind titles like Super Meat Boy and Minecraft deserve better recognition for what they do.
Developers turn to indie games. (n.d.). BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-22605905
The NYT Open Team. (2017, May 8). Indie game developers visit NYTimes. Medium. https://open.nytimes.com/indie-game-developers-visit-nytimes-c47eb5d78fc2?gi=10289a42be52
Tsydenova, N. (2020, June 5). Russian mobile game developer makes record profits during lockdowns. U.S. https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-russia-playrix-idUSL8N2DI43S