Supergiant staffers gambled everything when they left jobs with major publishers to developer Bastion.
“The consequences of a flop were well understood,” Supergiant’s Amir Rao told GameSetWatch.
“Our savings would be wiped out, all the good will we spent with our friends and family would’ve evaporated and after two years of the most intense work of our lives we would have been left with nothing to show for it. We wondered more just how successful it might be, but always kept our expectations low.
“There is a lot of worry in being independent. First, you worry if the game is going to be good, then you worry if anyone will like it, then you worry if it will ever come out, then you worry if something bigger will come out right on top of it, then when it’s finally out, you worry if it will sell well enough to let you do a second one.”
Bastion was a success, something Rao credits in part to the rise of digital distribution, as well as the perfect storm of talent on the Supergiant team.
There are compensations to going indie, too – Rao described Bastion as “the kind of game we could never have made on a large team at a big company”.
“We are significantly faster and more nimble because we have no production or management overhead,” he noted.
“A large team has to manage a complex schedule and deal with lot of risk; they need to plan on paper months ahead. We never do anything on paper. Good ideas get into the game in hours and are iterated on immediately.”
Bastion is available now on Steam and via Xbox Live Arcade.