Why is Trine 2 indie: Being indie doesn’t actual mean develop budget friendly 8 bit or 16 bit games like our favorable Cthulhu Saves the World, a perfect example of indie creativeness, which has quickly become one of the best selling indie games on Steam thanks to its hilarious concept to take completely nontraditional archetypes and put them in the role of hero.
A highly polished multi-player game released for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and associated with Atlus (a Japanese computer and video game developer, publisher, and distributor based in Tokyo) like Trine 2, from Finnish developer Frozenbyte, is also an indie game.
Frozenbyte are an independent game developer, who have full ownership of the company, all creative control, and basically self-fund their projects, although they sign royalty advance deals to balance cash flow. The PC version of Trine 2 is 100% self-funded to completion by Frozenbyte (the distribution deals are basically not worth much, as far as budget is concerned). For the consoles they only signed some advances with Atlus, which is not really meaningful in the overall budget.
Being indie can mean a lot of things to many different people, among them the belief that being indie means having full creative freedom over your work and be individual or independent from the mainstream.
Mainstream is the dominant players and business structure in that market, be it, Capcom, Epic Games or EA and the general approach they take for their games. “Indie” by definition is un-establishment, out of the normal system, not part of “them”. It is being independent of “them”, whoever them happens to be.
The size of a company is also irrelevant. While Capcom technically has freedom in that no one tells Capcom what to do, Capcom is far removed from the actual development of a game, and any game they publish is presumably not being made without their influence somehow affecting it. Mojang is developing, marketing, and publishing everything internally, without the assistance of first-party companies (like Sony or Microsoft), or larger publishing firms (Like Square Enix or Electronic Arts). Mojang is indie, it is just a very rich indie developer.
What Minecraft’s example showed us is that indie doesn’t nowadays mean being small and struggling. Being indie means stay away from the wild circus created by publishers, intermediaries, marketing firms, press specialists, media managers and project analysts, stores and promotions, bundles and candles, sit down on and work on a single key press mechanic for hours, until it feels just right, and focus on the core of the gaming industry which is first and foremost, made of gamers.
Indie games are on the rise not because of some hardcore wish to support indie devs and only indie devs, but because they just tend to make fun, spectacular, delicious, surprising and scary games that a majority of people wants to play.