Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day attending the Annual Rezzed show in Tobacco Dock in London. Rezzed grew up as a indie adjunct to Eurogamer’s EGX (EuroGamereXpo) but over the years it’s matured and found it’s own style. You’ll find very few AAA games houses and indeed unless you’re an avid indie watcher will be surprised by many of the things that you do find. Instead Rezzed breaks itself down into a number of small vaulted rooms some of which are dedicated to only one game, some to a single studio or publisher and some with as many games as can be crammed in.
I had a couple of names that I wanted to watch out for but overall I wanted to gauge the feeling and direction that that the industry seemed to be going in. I’d worried that Brexit, Trump and everything bad that seems to keep happening had dampened the industry. What I found instead was a market that seems to have grown up. Indie games have played second fiddle to their big AAA brothers for so long it’s almost felt like something natural. Go big if you can or if not just publish. Somewhere over the last couple of years Indie games seem to have found their own voice. They’re not AAA games made on the cheap and they’re not some lone coder’s evening project that he hopes will someday be big. Instead they’re an art form and whole ecosystem in their own right.
I saw racing games, platformers, open world, sims, many puzzle games, horror and every other possible sub genre I can think of. All flourishing. I’m sure you’ll see some of the names pop up here and elsewhere over the next year but standouts thus far are CoatSink’s isometric turn based tactical shooter Augmented Empire which adapted better to VR with more style than I thought it could. I spent a few minuites relaxing on a beach in nDreams’s Perfect – designed as a relaxing experience not a game. I played a level of the quirky pythonesque puzzle game Figment and got blew up many times playing Minesheep. I started galactic empires with Endless Space 2 and Stellaris Utopia.
The darling of the moment – the Nintendo Switch was also there – and although there weren’t any new games or announcements from Nintendo it was telling that almost every dev I talked to listed the Switch as a platform they were looking to bring their new game to. In the past the Wii U would have not been mentioned and the 3DS and Vita were in a different category but the Switch seems to be transcending the old boundaries.
I came away from Rezzed feeling more optimistic about the new crop of indie games planned for 2017 and 2018 than I have done in a while. Bravo Rezzed and bravo the indies – it feels like you’ve grown up.