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Ex-Epic Games Lead Designer offers opinion on Indie vs AAA stereotype


You may have heard of Lee Perry before. Prior to his current position as Co-Founder of Bitmonster games, Perry was the Lead Designer at Epic Games. As of late, he has noticed a startling trend of the widespread opinion that AAA game developers disregard the indie scene. Recently, Perry took to his blog to offer insight on the matter which can basically be summarized with the quote, “AAA developers respect the hell out of indie developers.”

In the blog post he talks about his past as a game developer and his beginnings as someone who wanted to make games for a living. But the overarching point is that at one point, everyone was an indie developer, and that’s something he can’t stress enough.

I can recall nobody in my career… none, zip, ZERO developers at AAA companies that offhandedly disregard the indie community or their outlets.  In a surprising amount of cases AAA devs envy indie freedom and current distribution options.  Many hope to cluster into small teams and make a run at it themselves.  Sure, many AAA devs are very happy with their careers, but looking down on indies?  No.  Don’t believe it.

He continues to talk about how there’s a social stigma against AAA developers and says that those aren’t fair either.

When someone claims those specialized developers are not furthering the industry, that they’re not contributing to the advancement of our art form. . . It’s a cancerous, judgmental sentiment in my opinion.

And he has a valid point, in the end, we’re all on the same team. We all want the same outcome, the success of our industry. Just like there is room in the movie industry for AAA titles and artistic masterpieces, we too can accommodate the entire spectrum of games.

It feels as if we are being bombarded by people trying to pit developers against each other; don’t fall for it.  Don’t get sucked into the negativity. . .Don’t assume any of us, indie or AAA, fit the stereotypes that make for dramatic stories about cultural battle lines.  Don’t let others shape your opinions; reach out to all kinds of devs online or at gatherings and see how easy it is to find a supportive comrade.

All of us united is a hell of a lot stronger than all of us divided. The recent closing of THQ comes to mind; never before have I seen so many individuals attempt to mend the issues that others are facing. And that’s the direction that our industry needs to go in. Oftentimes you see people call our industry a family, and that’s how it should be viewed as, not as those extremists would have you view it.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I personally can’t help but agree with Perry, as someone studying to enter the industry, there is no room for “hate.”

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