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 Big Indie Pitch contestants to offer their views.
Today, we're speaking to Lindsay Rollins from Rocket Adrift, who submitted Psychroma to The Digital Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) #15, 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?
Lindsay Rollins: Hey, I'm Lindsay and I'm 1/3 of Rocket Adrift, a Toronto-based indie game studio! Our team is myself, Rowan Smith and Titus McNally.
Our Mission as a developer is to tell personal narratives that highlight the perspectives of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC experiences while also showcasing an outsider lens to Canadian culture. We aim to emotionally enrich players through gameplay and storytelling, and endear them to the struggles of our diverse characters with humour and unflinching honesty.
Tell us about Psychroma that you pitched at the competition.
Psychroma is a narrative-driven side-scroller where you play as a digital medium. Confront the past by piecing together the broken memories of a cybernetic house, and exorcise the ghosts in the machine.
Play as a medium. Investigate a haunted cybernetic house as a drifter with the ability to experience nonlinear time.
Face your trauma. Regain your own memory of what brought you here and find out how to break the loop.
Fight the terror of the past. Uncover the events of a harrowing psychological experiment gone wrong through fragmented memories.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Psychroma that gamers may never have seen before.
Not only will you be able to explore the haunted house in a non-linear way, but the player will also be given control over time and space, allowing them to experience the fragmented memories of the past trapped within the house's A.I. system. Player choice dictates how they experience the hauntings through exploration.
Psychroma is a narrative-driven psychological horror game that includes themes such as empathy, compassion, and community. What made you choose to create this type of game, and what do you think Psychroma offers that may not have been seen before?
We are always fascinated by narratives that include these themes and aim to include them in all of our projects. We are excited for a particularly unique challenge of tackling these themes within the horror game genre. We want Psychroma to stand out as the horror game that subverts the idea of isolation, survival and alienation that marginalized people often experience in life.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Psychroma for?
Our skills developing on PC allow us to easily pivot to console. We also choose development software that is more accessible, which often dictates what platform you will be developing for. We are using Gamemaker Studio 2 to develop Psychroma, which is well-suited for PC adventure-style games.
Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
In our experience, it has been incredibly difficult. While developing our first commercial release, studio support was hard to come by. Only within the last year were we able to find community and support for Rocket Adrift through local initiatives such as Gamma Space and Weird Ghosts.
Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?
Take advantage of any opportunity you seek out or come by. Even if you find by the end it wasn't worth it, at least you know now and you are building a repertoire of opportunities that are actually useful to you and which ones aren't. Also never be afraid to reach out to other devs and industry professionals for feedback. You'll be surprised by what can be offered.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
It was intense, but fun and informative. I'm delighted that I'm able to carry forward some of the feedback given here to other pitches. I feel my pitching technique has definitely grown from this experience!
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
I've learned not to be afraid to show the most compelling parts of our game and studio right upfront. I hope to gain more exposure as a WOC indie developer as well as establish more professional relationships through future events.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
Our hopes are that Psychroma makes an impact in the queer gaming community and exposes horror and adventure games fans alike, to a new, inventive story.
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.