Vlambeer Ismail's: 'I’m excited about seeing indie studios tackle the mid tier sector'

Vlambeer Ismail's: 'I’m excited about seeing indie studios tackle the mid tier sector'

Indie development hero Rami Ismail of Vlambeer fame has said that he is interested in seeing what comes out of the mid-tier sector in the coming years.

Speaking to GamesBeat, Ismail was asked about triple-A firms such as Take-Two and EA getting into the indie games space with their new labels. He said that this was the big publishers hedging their bets and trying to see what was going to be the next big thing, before going on to say that the mid-tier sector is likely to produce some really interesting products.

"A lot of publishers are capitalising on that with their reduced portfolios, with fewer game releases each year," he said.

"They’re using indie to fill those gaps and keep a flow coming and to see what IP might be interesting to build on, whether it’s Life is Strange or Josef Fares’s games or Unravel. They’re playing with these games to figure out what could work as a bigger investment.

"At the same time, it’s a good way of getting creative talent on board. You know that the talent already has leadership qualities. You know they can ship a game. It’s a relatively low-risk investment. If you think about it, a game like those I just mentioned, they’re not $20 million, $30 million investments. They’re [$5 million to $10 million]. For a larger publisher, that’s brilliant.

"From what I’ve heard, the deals have been good. Publishers have generally been nice. They don’t seem to get in the way all that much. It’s not in their best interest to get in the way. They know it’s not their kind of game. They know they’re not good at this. I’m excited about the hybrid, though. I’m excited about seeing indie studios tackle that [$5 million to $10 million] gap in the industry, where it’s not quite big enough to be triple-A and not small enough to be indie.

"It’s traditionally been a hard segment to get funding. It’s surprisingly easy in games to get a $2 million budget or a $25 million budget. It’s really hard to get [$5 million to $10 million]. It doesn’t fit anyone’s portfolio. Seeing that space open up for studios like Capybara — those studios have a lot of opportunities to grow and tackle bigger, riskier projects. That’s exciting. If that means “EA Indie Games” needs to stop sounding like a paradox to me, that’s fine."

We've already seen some big hitters coming out of the mid-tier, with projects such as Ninja Theory's Hellblade selling well and gaining critical acclaim, as well as attracting the attention of Microsoft. Of course, that's not to say that success is guaranteed in this space, as Boss Key found out with LawBreakers.

Ismail is going to be speaking at this week's Big Indie Fest

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.