Indie publishing styles: The ‘Hey, kid, take a ride on my bus’ tactic

The week after E3’s blockbuster bombardment from high-profile, mainstream publishers seems like a proper time to step back, take a breath and remember that for many indie developers, getting a game made has nothing to do with fog machines, loud on-stage demos or awkward celebrity banter. Sometimes, indie publishing involves standing on a shady street corner in San Francisco until a bus pulls up and offers you a beer and a ride. At least, that’s how it worked out for Chris Pavia, a developer who recently quit his mainstream industry job to create indie titles under his own studio, Cube Roots. Pavia’s first game, a puzzle RPG called Dungeon Hearts , got picked up by Devolver Digital during its Pitch Fork Parker project at GDC earlier this year. Pitch Fork Parker had indie developers vie for a spot on Devolver Digital’s bus, where they would ride around for a while and try to sell their indie games to the publisher. Pavia earned a spot on the bus with Dungeon Hearts ‘ cohesive art style and character designs alone, and in the month before GDC he hired an animator, had his musician tweak the audio and spent all his time refining every detail he could in the first few minutes of the game.

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