Tequila Works, whose upcoming title Rime is coming to retail on PS4 and Xbox One on May 26th, has told MCV that a boxed release isn’t necessarily the best fit for indie games, saying instead that the money used on bringing a title to shop shelves could potentially be better spent improving the overall quality of the game.
“I’m not sure if retail is the place for indie games,” Tequila Works’ producer Miguel Paniagua said (pictured right). “I mean, having a game in your retail shop, it means that you have most cost. You need a physical support, and I don’t know if this cost is better invested in making good games.
“Digital publishing and self-publishing has one [advantage] in that you don’t have to spend anything on the commercial channel. You keep the physical format, you keep the publisher fee, which has a positive and negative side. That’s why I think indie games are probably better on their own because we can avoid all those costs.”
In Rime’s case, Paniagua says the decision to bring the game to retail ultimately lay with its publishers.
“They saw it as a chance because Rime is not like a typical indie project. It has grown a lot. It’s a big team, so it’s not a typical indie project and it has a story behind it. We announced it in 2013, we had a trailer in 2014 that was also very popular, so the name of Rime, I think [publisher Grey Box] thought it was worth it to take on the stores. I don’t know if other indie games will work the same way, though.”
One game that clearly bucks this trend, however, is Cavalier Game Studios’ The Sexy Brutale, which Tequila Works is bringing to retail on PS4 on April 11th.
“There isn’t an Xbox One retail version on the cards at the moment,” Cavalier’s founder and design director Charles Griffiths told MCV (pictured left). “But the PS4 physical version came about more as a result of the relationships that Tequila Works has with a fellow Madrid-based distributor, so that was just a unique opportunity on that specific front.”
However, Griffiths still thinks that more can be done to get more indie titles into boxes: “It doesn’t feel like there’s an awful lot of options out there,” he said. “It still feels quite unique when people get boxed copies for an indie game. Some of it is that distributors or publishers don’t seem willing to do it unless the game’s already proved a measure of success, so unless they feel like they can guarantee a minimum of a few thousand copies, it seems like it is harder for games to make a case from Day One that they should be in physical versions of shops. It would be nice for it to happen more often.”