The immensely-popular Rocket League has now finally blasted onto Switch, and a lot of people are loving it. Psyonix and Panic Button did a truly great job at bringing the full experience to the little system, but it also gives light to a big truth: indie support is important.
Earlier this year when the Switch was just getting off the ground, the majority of new releases it was getting regularly consisted of indie titles. This was the source of a lot of criticism from Nintendo ‘haters’, as they attempted to make it seem like all the Switch had was indies. Truth be told, Nintendo has been shining a very bright spotlight on indie devs since the Switch’s launch, and will no doubt continue to do so as the system progresses. This really isn’t a bad thing.
Some gamers try to belittle indie titles because they’re usually not as feature-rich as most of their AAA brethren. Of course, this is to be expected since AAA-games are considered to be ‘AAA’ in the first place due to their large budgets. Crowdfunding has shed some light on the immense cost of developing basically any game; many indie titles end up costing in the tens-of-thousands at the very least. Games from bigger studios can easily rack up millions in just development costs alone. Since indie developers tend to have to work with much smaller budgets, their games are usually more ‘bite-sized’ experiences than most AAA-titles. But, that doesn’t mean they’re any less important.
There are quite a few very popular games that either started out as small indie projects (think: Minecraft) or are basically still in that state despite gaining recognition (think: Stardew Valley). Rocket League is a great example of a small indie game that became an overnight sensation. Despite the massive popularity it has now, one must remember that it’s still an indie game.
Rocket League is a high-quality title, which makes it easy to forget that it’s ‘just an indie’.
It’s obvious that Psyonix has more talent and resources than most other independent studios, but they’re still not at the same level as the true juggernauts like EA, Activision, Ubisoft (and all the studios they own), along with the first-party development teams on the various platforms. Psyonix has been able to carve out its own little corner of the industry, which typically doesn’t happen with indie games since they’re so much of them, and their quality isn’t always anything amazing. But, Rocket League is an example of a quality indie game, which has gradually been growing in abundance over the past few years.
As time goes on, it’s definitely expected that more indie games like this will pop up. Nintendo has taken notice of this and has tightened its policy on when it comes to the quality level of games that are being greenlit for release on the Switch eShop. The ‘bar of entry’ was set incredibly low on 3DS and Wii U; probably because Nintendo just wanted to get as much support as possible. But after so many complaints of the shovelware that turned up on those systems from amateur studios, now the Big N is making sure the Switch offers up titles of much higher quality. We’ve been seeing that from the very beginning back in March, and Rocket League is virtually the biggest achievement so far from an indie perspective.
It’s great to have a lot of games flowing into a platform, but it’s only truly worthwhile when those titles are of actual quality. Not all indie games are memorable or even mildly enjoyable, but big ones such as Rocket League and others prove that indies as a whole should definitely not be ignored or written-off. Rocket League shows that a quality indie game is virtually just as big of a deal as a AAA-game. It’s also fair to note that not every AAA-release is even of good quality, so that kind of makes the argument that ‘indie games aren’t worth much’ a bit weak. We’re not even a full solid year into the Switch’s lifecycle, and it’s already amassed a stellar lineup of indie titles. As long as Nintendo continues to cater to these ‘Nindies’, then the Switch will be filled with a variety of releases both small and large. Whether it be a big, AAA first/third-party release, or a golden indie project, we should all be happy to see the Switch (and all the other platforms) have a steady stream of new titles. After all, more variety means more fun for us!