Gone are the days of old when indie video game development was only seen as an interest for those who program, design or develop video games from their bedrooms and/or basements. Now, indie game development is a certified alternative for even the biggest names in gaming simply looking for a way out of the traditional developer/publisher cycle.
But the scene is no longer home to just small teams seeking to do-it-themselves, but larger developers seeking more freedom and creativity when it comes to the games that they make – assuming a publisher is looking to play ball. That’s exactly why publisher Midnight City announced today that they would not only be partnering with Double Fine to develop Costume Quest 2, but will also be bringing indie darling Gone Home to home consoles in 2014.
There’s a good chance that few will be familiar with Midnight City (the indie branch of publisher Majesco Entertainment), but that’s clearly about to change, with Costume Quest 2 is one of the biggest games set to launch under the banner in the near future. Following on from the events of Costume Quest, the original game in the Double Fine series (which was published back in 2010 by the now defunct publisher, THQ), Costume Quest 2 will again see players battle through the suburb of Auburn Pines in a variety of costumes as brother/sister duo Wren and Reynold in an attempt to “protect Halloween from untold horrors, and grown-ups!”
Initial details are light on story (although it’s said to be “unmistakably Double Fine”), but players can expect even more costumes that allow them to “transform into giant super powered fantasy Hallowarriors” and take part in an upgraded battle system. The full list of supported platforms hasn’t been released, but the developers released a look at their moment of inspiration, set to release in time for Halloween 2014.
The next big name title that Midnight City has added to their roster is Gone Home, the self-published and critically acclaimed hit from The Fullbright Company, placing players into the role of a young woman exploring her vacant family home. The experience was certainly an experimental one, but one that PC gamers and critics latched onto nonetheless – leaving console gamers out of the conversation entirely.
Lead writer, designer and studio co-founder Steve Gaynor explained that console demand has been high for some time, but only now did a deal present itself to bring the indie hit into people’s living rooms:
“Ever since we released Gone Home on PC, we’ve had people asking us– ‘When’s it coming to console? We’ve been looking and looking for the right partner to help us, and finally after much searching, Midnight City fit the bill. They have a great understanding of what an indie needs, how to get the word out about the game, and help us get the best versions of the game possible to all those players that have been waiting patiently to experience Gone Home in their living rooms. Viva la Midnight City!”
There are also few details on exactly which “consoles” Gone Home will be released (although Gaynor’s comments about Sony and Microsoft’s indie support for next-gen seems to suggest that a PS4 release is more likely), the game will be out but a 2014 release date is confirmed.
The decision for both developers to announce a new publisher partnership may come as a bit of a surprise, considering Double Fine has found success with its crowd-funded Broken Age, and The Fullbright Company experienced massive success through self-publishing as well. That team’s motivations for bringing Gone Home to a larger audience are clear (as one of our favorite games of last year); but Double Fine must have secured an agreeable deal to craft yet another Halloween-themed experience.
It seems Midnight City is eschewing typical big publisher traits by employing just 5 employees, and focusing specifically on the growing market of indie titles (other games published by them include Double Dragon Neon and Videoball). It’s still early days for these partnerships, but Midnight City has certainly made themselves an interesting alternative to both self-publishing and large publishers like EA, Microsoft, Sony or Activision.
Which of these announcements are you more excited for? Are these games ones you’ll be adding to your collection later this year, or is it the ramifications this has for indie publishing that has your attention? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Costume Quest 2 will be released in 2014 for PC and consoles.
Gone Home will be released in 2014 for consoles.