Everyone wanted Yooka-Laylee.
The game is what some publishers have coined an ‘indie-A’. That’s an indie title that has more in common with triple-A blockbusters than low-budget, lower-fi efforts. (We used to call them ‘B-grade’ titles, but the industry loves a new label).
Games like Yooka-Laylee don’t come around very often. This is a game made by veterans of Rare, that generated over 2m on Kickstarter… it’s the sort of project that can make a publisher. There are a few others out there – Zombie Army Trilogy, No Man’s Sky, Hellblade – but by the time you’ve heard of them, they’ve probably already been signed up.
Indie publishing is competitive. Alongside Team17, there is Kiss, Koch, Rising Star, Chillingo, Mastertronic, Green Man Loaded, 505 Games, Devolver, Sold Out, Curve, Paradox, Slitherine, Excalibur, Focus… and if I’ve missed any off that list, I will receive a complaint about it – it’s that closely-fought out there.
But the truth is, these companies don’t need an ‘indie-A’ to make their business. Hotline Miami didn’t start off indie-A, but it is now (at least commercially).
It takes hard work and a bit of luck to spot a game that might not be an immediate hit but, come game two or three, could be the sort of franchise to build a business around.
We tried to help firms do just that with Interface in May – our B2B marketplace where indie developers pitched their new games to publishers and investors. We think we succeeded; we know of several business deals that were signed that day, which is why we are bringing Interface back.
You won’t have to wait long. Interface will return to London this November, and we’ve already got some interested developers signed up with some intriguing games to show.
Who knows – maybe one of them might just be the next Yooka-Laylee.