The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of Pocket Gamer and PC Games Insider. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled 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 PC Indie Pitch contestants to offer their views.
Today, we're speaking to MythicOwl's Michał Kamiński, who submitted Harmony's Odyssey to The Digital Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) #8 and walked away as the runner-up.
Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?
Michał Kamiński: We are an indie games studio from Warsaw specialised in creating relaxing, mindful puzzle games, that are also a valuable time spent. On the development team, we have a group of very talented developers, 3D artists, graphics designers and illustrators, led by Baltazar Jaworek who has also been the Lead Designer of Hexologic. To bring a couple of inspirations up, we always appreciated Pixar’s approach to their multigenerational audience which was quite universal thanks to all the discreet winks & frowns thrown at the viewer. We constantly talk about all the indie games out there and really enjoyed Dorfromantik and Islanders recently.
Tell us about Harmony's Odyssey that you pitched at the competition.
Harmony’s Odyssey is quite a novel take on 3D puzzles, with lots of adventure and platformer elements that bond the gameplay together. We wanted to take classic tile-based riddles to a new level with interactive elements that work together, so players can deduct the solution from the surroundings. The game is based on fantasy-like mythical dioramas which are filled with creatures that we can’t wait for everyone to meet. We are also going to include a couple of varied mini-games with the first one - Dragonmice Dungeons showcased in our Steam demo.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Harmony's Odyssey that gamers may never have seen before.
I guess we came up with a pretty unique way of presenting a classic jigsaw mechanic in a totally new way - adding interactive, living stuff to the game, making it visually and conceptually appealing to many players. We hope it will be something special for everyone raised on “off-line” tabletop and board games. The whole setting is also designed to be interesting and engaging for both younger players and more experienced, adult audiences - the presented world is half-modern, half-myths, which is going to be the centre of discussion for family households playing together.
Puzzle games is a very competitive area in the market, with lots of high-quality popular experiences already available. What made you choose this genre, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?
Puzzle games are our native ground and most natural choice, the fundamental part of MythicOwl. Our games help players experience mindful, challenging riddles that are solved not thanks to luck, but thinking and we believe that training and learning certain skills can be easily supported by well-designed logic and puzzle games. We are also great fans of the genre itself and constantly play most of the new games. Honourable mention from our side unanimously goes to Into The Breach.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Harmony's Odyssey for?
We picked two main platforms for Harmony’s Odyssey - Steam and Nintendo Switch. The first one is quite an obvious choice that offers the biggest ecosystem of engaged players, who not only might like puzzle games but also look for a fun game to play with family or friends. It is the go-to shop of most indie enthusiasts that are also happy to discover new titles thanks to how well Steam targets developers' content.
Switch on the other hand is a nice place for family gaming and does best what we really all enjoy - the handheld mode. Our award-winning Hexologic is very successful on this platform and we find common ground with the target group which is often a good fit when it comes to Nintendo’s blockbuster hits like Animal Crossing or the Super Mario franchise. Of course, in the future, we also consider opening to other platforms.
Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
It is hard to speak for all the indie developers out there but for us - being all about cheerful, relaxing family games with a mission - having to compete with time-exploiting games that also addict players with loot boxes and stuff, it is really challenging. Adding to that, giving away AAA games for free in subscriptions and stores doesn’t make it easier as well. However, we believe in a healthy deal between the player and the developer where the player supports the developers work and receives a well-crafted, full game that won’t turn into an exploitive service.
Are there any tips and advice you would give to independent developers out there who are just starting out?
It is a really tough and complex question but maybe we could start with this - have a very good and honest understanding of what game you are trying to build and have your competition in the same genre researched down to a science. Communicate with your potential customers early, see if they’re really interested in what you’re trying to sell. It doesn’t have to be a demo or a fully developed build but try to estimate the potential interest in the first place. Also, it’s great to start with something small and use the experience for bigger future projects.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
It was great to connect with developers and publishers during Big Indie Pitch. To see what other companies are working on, what struggles they experience and what we can all do to improve our businesses and marketing/ publishing approach. It was also a blast to pitch our game to a jury filled with experience and advice towards us, companies that are only on the road to finally make it - get a publisher and the world’s eyes on their games. Very happy with the event.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
With every pitch, you gain a little bit of experience and get better in timing, presenting and making the most out of precious time offered by the listening side - publishers. With the most common goal of finding a proper publishing partner, I guess we learned how to include the most exciting and important information in both the pitch deck and video presentation.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
In Harmony’s Odyssey, we see a unique game without the age or language barrier, that can be a go-to family game. We are looking to support the game long after launch, with numerous content drops, adding new puzzles and dioramas to complete. As for the future games, we have a couple of ideas on the table but we are focusing on making Harmony’s Odyssey the best game it could possibly be.
Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.