In recent years, domestic indie games are really a hot topic. Not to mention the popular “Taiwu Picture Scroll” that year. Recently, “Dyson Ball Project” and “Ghost Valley Eight Desolation” have been on the hot sales list of STEAM. The first and second place.
Looking back on the past 2020, many independent game masterpieces that have emerged are also worthy of analysis. Not only can we see the impact of big manufacturers’ blessings on the industry, but we can also see that there are more games in the industry. The theme and gameplay have achieved greater breakthroughs. In general, the development of domestic independent games is more mature, but it should be said that there are still some problems to be solved.
The impact of big factory blessing has deepened
Looking at these independent games launched in 2020, it should be said that the influence of big manufacturers’ blessings on the entire field of independent games is further deepening. We can see that many independent games with good sales and reputation have the background of big manufacturers.
For example, the game “Pascal Contract” uses a buy-out system, and the combined sales on Android and IOS platforms have exceeded one million. It can be said to be a dazzling achievement, and most players have a high evaluation of the game, and all of this It is inseparable from the huge thrust played by Giant Internet. As early as the development of this game, Giant Internet recognized the horses. Not only did it invest, but it also gave a lot of publicity and promotion later, so that the Apple conference was very special. This game was recommended, and taptap carried out an exclusive agency. It should be said that without a series of promotion by Giant Network, even if the quality of “Pascal Contract” itself is excellent, I am afraid it will be difficult to reach the height it is today.
On the other hand, this kind of achievement and cooperation are actually mutual. For big game companies such as Giant Network, they are also very eager for more quality games like “Pascal Contract”. These years are actually like Tencent and other games. Dachang often also organizes some independent game exchange meetings and other activities, but in fact, there are not many independent games that can be signed and can stand out in the end.
In 2020, there are many similar cases. For example, Tencent’s NEXT Studio, which specializes in indie games, produces “Just Great Adventure” and “Unbelievable Crown”, which also have exposure and exposure that is difficult for ordinary independent games. Propaganda resources, of course, compared to common indie games, these two games are also of higher quality, which will be discussed later. “The Tribe and the Scimitar” was released on the Heartbeat Network. From the development to the release of “Gunfire Rebirth”, it was published on DOE Network. Station B released “Slashing the Demon”.
It’s actually been a few years since the emergence of big factory blessings. Big game companies have gradually paid attention to this. One is that this kind of well-known independent games can improve the company’s reputation, and I’m afraid that they can be used from independent games. Explore some gameplay innovations, and gameplay innovations are likely to affect the mainstream commercial market in the future. In these years, many commercial masterpieces have learned experience and nutrients from independent games, such as the expansion of Hearthstone in 2017. “Dungeon and Man” invited Peter Whalen, and Peter Whalen was an independent game producer before that. The independent game “Dream Quest” created has attracted countless developers and players, and “Kobold and The design concept of “Dungeon” is greatly inherited from “Dream Quest”.
In addition, the blessing of major game manufacturers is not a panacea. It does not mean that success can be achieved with the blessing of major manufacturers. If things are so simple, Chinese independent games have long been proud of the heroes. For example, in 2017, many announced the layout and support at the time. By 2020, independent game companies will either stop getting involved in this field or slow down their pace. For example, in 2017, 4399 and Bingqiang Interactive announced their support for indie games and also made some measures. However, in 2020, it seems that no results have been seen for the time being, and after NetEase launched the indie game “Qing Li” in 2019, there seems to be no movement in 2020.
In addition, there has always been some controversy about how independent games are defined. Whether independent games supported by these big manufacturers should belong to pure independent games. This has always been divided. There are always controversies among the player groups, which may also lead to some Independent game producers and companies are unwilling to rely on big companies, because in the eyes of some producers who insist on their ideals and beliefs, if they rely on big companies, they are not truly independent games.
In 2020, among these games that have achieved a double harvest of sales and reputation, there are indeed some games that have achieved certain results through their own efforts. For example, the gameplay of “Blackthorn Arena” is actually quite hard-core. In fact, There was not much publicity, but in the end the sales probably reached 110,000, which is not easy for an independent game without any background.
From a fundamental point of view, there may be a few large domestic game companies that pay special attention to indie games for a long time. This trend will not change, and the controversy caused by this will probably continue.
Breakthrough in theme and gameplay
In 2020, we can see that the emergence of independent games has some new breakthroughs in terms of themes and gameplay compared to the previous ones, which represents the vitality of Chinese independent games.
Let me talk about the breakthrough of gameplay.
I don’t know if your friends have noticed a phenomenon. In these years, both foreign and domestic independent games have adopted a large number of two types of Roguelike and Roguelite, which can be called a meat pigeon frenzy, and most of them are pixelated. This situation is also well understood, because this type and pixelated picture can save costs better when the cost is limited.
But just because there are so many such games, many players will inevitably have a sense of aesthetic fatigue. After all, even more delicious food will make you feel tired.
So when “The Unbelievable Crown” appeared in the Roguelike genre in 2020, many people were not very optimistic about this game.
But in fact, you can find that this game has made a lot of breakthroughs and micro-innovations in the gameplay. Therefore, it has been highly praised on steam. This is not easy to do, because steam players are knowledgeable. , Most of the players who like Roguelike have played a lot of this type before, and it is not easy to get their universal recognition.
In fact, this game is to a large extent a tribute to the very classic “Incredible Labyrinth: Xilin from the Wind” series, but the series actually has a long history in Japan and is relatively small, so its popularity and influence The power is not as high as the Final Fantasy series.
Of course, “The Unbelievable Crown” would be boring if it completely copied the Xilin series from Fenglai. It should be based on the synchronous turn-based gameplay of Xilin from Fenglai, adding the three elements of element interaction, flashing, and breaking. , Making the game more interesting.
The design of element interaction is actually from the “Divine Realm: Original Sin” series. The variables of the battlefield are increased through elements such as Fengshui, thermal power, etc. This design seems simple, but requires the creator to play a lot of games and understand enough, because There may be such a situation, due to the frequent divisions between the player groups, so I have been in contact with the original sin series in Europe and the United States and the Xilin series in Japan at the same time, and I can think of fusion. Such a producer is domestically speaking. Personally, it is not too much.
In addition, the flashing brings about the variable of the position, and breaking is the continuous killing of the monster to get more rewards. These two designs and elements are superimposed on each other interactively, bringing players a very fresh and fun.
And it’s worth noting that the gameplay of Fenglai’s Xilin series may be unfamiliar to many young players now, because Fenglai’s Xilin series has actually not launched a sequel for a long time. 5: The steam and switch versions of “Fu Shou Tian Gong and Destiny Dice” are actually transplants of the 2015 PSV version, and the 2015 PSV version is an enhanced version of the original 2010 version.
Whether at home or abroad, even if independent games have exploded in recent years, there are very few independent games that imitate the Xilin series of Fenglai. Perhaps most of the creators are worried that this kind of gameplay is too niche and difficult to be used. Accepted by the public.
Therefore, these innovative designs added in “Unbelievable Crown” coupled with the ingenious style of the entire game make the game more acceptable to young players, and can also make those who have played the Xilin series of Fenglai feel new ideas.
Of course, the gameplay breakthrough is more than one “Unbelievable Crown”, and many games are also doing similar attempts, but most of them failed but failed. For example, “Demon Slayer” tried to play in the Black Soul series. There are some new tricks in the gameplay, but from the design of the game at the beginning of the release, several innovative aspects are not considered very mature. For example, the execution system can restore energy and encourage players to execute more executions, but in fact it pays off Not big, so it looks quite tasteless.
In addition, a design criticized by many players in the first version of “Demon Slayer” is that the protagonist in the game has an energy bar but the BOSS has a defense slot, so it often appears that there is no energy bar after the defense slot is cut. When there is an energy bar The BOSS’s defense slot is full again. This design can be said to be a very failed innovation.
Comparing the design of “Sekiro”, it can be seen that on the basis of the design of the enemy and the enemy’s stance, the energy bar system in the Black Soul series and “Bloodborne” has been canceled, which is to consider that it may affect the attack. The most important improvement in the remake of the PS2 era Vanilla Club’s classic game “Odin Field” in the PS4 era is the removal of the very annoying energy bar in the original version, making the game rhythm more refreshing, and players can easily play Attack like a gust of wind.
So from this perspective, it is not easy to achieve success while innovating.
Let me talk about the subject innovation.
It should be said that the most eye-catching theme among the domestic independent games in 2020 is “Blackthorn Arena”. The novelty of the theme of this game is very rare. Players need to act as a slave owner in the Roman era. Send your own Spartan warriors to fight in the field. This is probably the first domestic independent game with the theme of Gladiator Arena. Even in the world, there are not many such games, among which the more famous It may also be the sword fighter series produced by Japan’s ACQUIRE.
This shows that Chinese independent game makers are gradually thinking about more themes and possibilities, instead of being limited to the themes of Chinese martial arts and fantasy, they have even begun to make games with the theme of Gladiator Arena, so if in a few years It is not surprising that post-Chinese independent game producers will make a game where humans from the Yin and Shang dynasty travel to South America to survive.
Of course, “Blackthorn Arena” also has certain innovations in the gameplay. For example, the Sword Fighter series is mainly action and development, while “Blackthorn Arena” is a simulation strategy and combat strategy. In the game, players need to buy various sword fighters, and Sword fighters have a variety of professional genres and can obtain a variety of equipment, and then they can personally operate the sword fighters to fight, or set up automatic battles to watch. It should be said that the entire game has a certain potential to be tapped.
At present, for these independent games that appear in 2020, there are mainly a few common problems, that is, most of them are still in the testing stage, and some of them have less playable content, high repetition, and lack of more polishing. Some are bugs constantly.
Even if it’s a well-received game called “The Unbelievable Crown”, in the comments on Steam, you can see that some players complained that the content was too small and the repetition was too high.
“Blackthorn Arena” also has the problem of excessive content repetition. What’s more, there are too many bugs. The superposition of these factors makes the game a lot of good reviews at the beginning, but now it has encountered a lot of bad reviews. The latest evaluation of steam It has become mixed.
As for the game “Xia Zhi Dao”, although the evaluation is quite high, because the content is too small, only the first year of the process can be played, and it was also complained by some players. Of course, the game has finally updated the content of the second year recently.
As one of my players who played a large number of domestic indie games in 2020 said, he said that most of the domestic indie games this year can only be regarded as the test stage, and the content is small, so they can only rely on repeated content and Pile up material to delay the game time, and it will take a lot of time to polish it later.
So how should we look at this issue?
I think that on the one hand, players should be more patient. After all, independent game developers have limited resources and energy, and there is no way to update too much content at once, and they cannot spend a lot of money like a large game company. Find a professional testing team for QA testing, so you can only slowly improve it based on feedback after the game is launched.
On the other hand, independent game makers should also see that players’ current aesthetics and tastes are constantly improving, and should try to solve some basic problems such as bugs when the game is launched, so that they can gain players for a long time in the future. The recognition instead of a good start later collapsed.
Some people think that China’s indie games in 2020 are too dull and lack too many dazzling works, while some people think that the indie games this year have exposed too many problems.
From an objective point of view, game production has a periodicity, so it may lead to a particularly severe outbreak in a certain year, and there is a lack of very powerful topical works in a certain year, whether it is a commercial game or an independent game. It’s not realistic to have big hits every year. Just like last year, a bunch of Japanese and European console games were released, but this year, you won’t see such a spectacular lineup.
In terms of the exposed issues, this is actually a good thing. It is precisely because of exploring areas that have not been involved before, so more problems will be exposed. If everyone only plays the easy-to-play type of games for safety and insurance With routine gameplay, the future of the industry is impossible to talk about.
I hope that the Chinese indie game field in 2021 will have more success after a good start.