The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PCGamesInsider.biz. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-style pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.
The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers, and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.
The indie view
The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views.
Today, we're speaking to Paul Froggatt from Outlier Games, who submitted This Means Warp to The Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #3 Helsinki and walked away with the 2nd place prize.
PCGamesInsider.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio. Who is in the team and what are their inspirations?
Paul Froggatt: Outlier is a two-man team located across Ireland and Canada. I'm Paul, lead programmer, and I decided to pursue my dream of making video games following a 10-year career at Google. Matt, the lead artist, worked in game and movie studios before shifting his focus to indie games. We both loved challenging and strategic roguelike games, but wished there were more we could play together! Outlier was founded on the idea of making cooperative games for core gamers.
Tell us about This Means Warp that you pitched at the competition.
This Means Warp is a 1-4 player spaceship management roguelike game. It combines the strategy, progression, and challenge of games like FTL: Faster Than Light or Bomber Crew with the frenetic multiplayer fun of games like Overcooked or Sea Of Thieves. Players have to work together to manage their ship, shop, fight, and explore a constantly changing and challenging universe! It's due for release in late 2021 on PC (you can wishlist on Steam right now), followed by consoles.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of This Means Warp that gamers may never have seen before?
The combination of long-term decision making/strategy and co-op gameplay is really the crux of This Means Warp. Players upgrade and change their ship over the course of a run, investing in new weapons, systems, and strategies as they go. It leads to some really interesting discussions (*cough* arguments) as crewmates work together to develop their strategy!
This Means Warp is a futuristic roguelike that focuses on co-op gameplay. What made you choose this genre combination, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?
Who doesn't love spaceships?! We knew we wanted players to customise their vehicle as they progressed through the game together, and originally explored other settings like tanks or naval ships. We felt sci-fi offered a huge amount of freedom for gameplay mechanics, while also letting us pay homage to some of the classics of the genre like FTL: Faster Than Light.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop This Means Warp for?
This Means Warp is targeting PC via Steam, followed by consoles. We felt that the strategy elements of This Means Warp would really appeal to PC players, particularly playing solo or online multiplayer. Having both keyboard and gamepad controller support meant this could easily translate to consoles, with the game having local co-op as well!
Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
As an industry, it's extremely tough. A recent study by VG Insights suggested that the majority of games on Steam make less than $5,000 in revenue, which is insane considering how much time and effort it takes to build video games. Fortunately, the reception so far for This Means Warp has been amazing - hopefully, we can make enough to continue doing what we love for many more years. What more could you ask for?!
Are there any tips and advice you would give to independent developers out there who are just starting out?
Make your first game, not your dream game. Both members of Outlier released solo projects independently prior to forming the studio. Your first game isn't likely to be a hit, but it is a huge learning experience. You get better at the technical side of making games, but also gain experience in marketing and releasing a game. Those can be just as hard.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
Loved it! It's not easy trying to articulate why your game is special in such a short time-frame, and answer questions from the judges as well.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
The fast-paced nature of the competition meant you really had to hone your pitch down to the main selling points, which is a great exercise to do yourself whether you're pitching or not!
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
One of the most gratifying things about game development is building a community around your game. This Means Warp's Discord community, in particular, continues to grow, and the community is incredible. We've received so many ideas, bits of useful feedback, and fun interactions with people. We'd love to see a core community of players around at launch, streaming, joining each others' games, and having fun together! As for other projects, we're planning to continue building and supporting This Means Warp until it's the best game it possibly can be. After that, it's all to play for - we're just hopeful that we'll be able to continue doing what we love!
Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye on our events page for an event near you.
Upcoming Big Indie Pitch Event Pages & Registration
October 14 - The Big Indie Pitch Digital #4 (Mobile Edition)
November 10 - The Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #4
November 11 - The Big Indie Pitch (Mobile Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #4