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Where things start to take a unique turn is when you get into team-based gunplay. As well as featuring jetpacks, Splitgates allows players to place portals around the map that they can then shoot into. This opens up a world of tactical possibilities that brought the game praise across the board.
In terms of gameplay, Paladins is a 5v5 tactical team-based shooter. Each player picks a unique champion, similar to Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege, and then fights over various stylish maps and different game modes.
However, what sets Warzone apart is that it tries its best to eliminate RNG from your gameplay. Rather than solely relying on weapons you find, players can call in preset classes using currency you find out in the world. This currency is also used to buy your teammates back when they die, as well as to acquire the Warzone equivalent of killstreaks.
When it was first released, Apex Legends was considered to be the pinnacle of battle royale gameplay. While it lost that momentum over time, the Steam release, as well as active support from Respawn, both pushed it back into the limelight.
An indie game, short for independent video game, is a video game typically created by individuals or smaller development teams without the financial and technical support of a large game publisher, in contrast to most "AAA" (triple-A) games. Because of their independence and freedom to develop, indie games often focus on innovation, experimental gameplay, and taking risks not usually afforded in AAA games. Indie games tend to be sold through digital distribution channels rather than at retail due to lack of publisher support. The term is synonymous with that of independent music or independent film in those respective mediums.
The modern take on the indie game scene resulted in a combination of numerous factors in the early 2000s, including technical, economic, and social concepts that made indie games less expensive to make and distribute, but more visible to larger audiences and offered non-traditional gameplay from the current mainstream games. A number of indie games at that time became success stories that drove more interest into the area. New industry opportunities arose since then, including new digital storefronts, crowdfunding and other indie funding mechanisms to help new teams get their games off the ground, low-cost and open-source development tools available for smaller teams across all gaming platforms, boutique indie game publishers that leave creative freedom to the developers, and industry recognition of indie games alongside mainstream ones at major game award events.
Around 2015, the increasing number of indie games being published led to fears of an "indiepocalypse", referring to an oversupply of games which would make the entire market unprofitable. Although the market did not collapse, discoverability remains an issue for most indie developers, with many games not being financially profitable. Examples of successful indie games include the Touhou Project series, Cave Story, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Minecraft, Fez, Shovel Knight, Undertale, and Cuphead.
The term "indie game" itself is based on similar terms like independent film and independent music, where the concept is often related to self-publishing and independence from major studios or distributors. However, as with both indie films and music, there is no exact, widely accepted definition of what constitutes an "indie game" besides falling well outside the bounds of triple-A video game development by large publishers and development studios. One simple definition, described by Laura Parker for GameSpot, says "independent video game development is the business of making games without the support of publishers", but this does not cover all situations. Dan Pearce of IGN stated that the only consensus for what constitutes an indie game is a "I know it when I see it"-type assessment, since no single definition can capture what games are broadly considered indie.
Another means to evaluate a game as indie is to examine its development team, with indie games being developed by individuals, small teams, or small independent companies that are often specifically formed for the development of one specific game. Typically, indie games are smaller than mainstream titles. Indie game developers are generally not financially backed by video game publishers, who are risk-averse and prefer "big-budget games". Instead, indie game developers usually have smaller budgets, usually sourcing from personal funds or via crowdfunding. Being independent, developers do not have controlling interests or creative limitations, and do not require the approval of a publisher, as mainstream game developers usually do. Design decisions are thus also not limited by an allocated budget. Furthermore, smaller team sizes increase individual involvement.
However, this view is not all-encompassing, as there are numerous cases of games where development is not independent of a major publisher but still considered indie. Some notable instances of games include:
Yet another angle to evaluate a game as indie is from its innovation, creativity, and artistic experimentation, factors enabled by small teams free of financial and creative oversight. This definition is reflective of an "indie spirit" that is diametrically opposite of the corporate culture of AAA development, and makes a game "indie", where the factors of financial and creative independence make a game "independent". Developers with limited ability to create graphics can rely on gameplay innovation. This often leads to indie games having a retro style of the 8-bit and 16-bit generations, with simpler graphics atop the more complex mechanics. Indie games may fall into classic game genres, but new gameplay innovations have been seen. However, being "indie" does not imply that the game focuses on innovation. In fact, many games with the "indie" label can be of poor quality and may not be made for profit.
Jesper Juul, an associate professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts that has studied the video game market, wrote in his book Handmade Pixels that the definition of an indie game is vague, and depends on different subjective considerations. Juul classified three ways games can be considered indie: those that are financially independent of large publishers, those that are aesthetically independent and significantly different of the mainstream art and visual styles used in AAA games, and those that present cultural ideas that are independent from mainstream games. Juul however wrote that ultimately the labeling of a game as "indie" still can be highly subjective and no single rule helps delineate indie games from non-indie ones.
Games that are not as large as most triple-A games, but are developed by larger independent studios with or without publisher backing and that can apply triple-A design principles and polish due to the experience of the team, have sometimes been called "triple-I" games, reflecting the middle ground between these extremes. Ninja Theory's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is considered a prime example of a triple-I game. A further distinction from indie games are those considered double-A ("AA"), tending to be from mid to large-size studios ranging from 50 to 100 team members and larger than typically associated with indie games, that often work under similar practices as triple-A studios but still retain creative control of their titles from a publisher.
Indie games are distinct from open source games. The latter are games which are developed with the intent to release the source code and other assets under an open source license. While many of the same principles used to develop open source games are the same as for indie games, open source games are not developed for commercial gain and instead as a hobbyist pursuit. However, commercial sales are not a requirement for an indie game and such games can be offered as freeware, most notably with Spelunky on its original release and Dwarf Fortress with exception of a planned enhanced visual front-end version while its base version will remain free.
The onset of indie game development is difficult to track due to the broadness of what defines an indie game, and the term was not really in use until the early 2000s. Until the 2000s, other terms like amateur, enthusiast, and hobbyist software or games were used to describe such software. Today, terms like amateur and hobbyist development are more reflective of those that create mods for existing games, or work with specific technologies or game parts rather than the development of full games. Such hobbyists usually produce non-commercial products and may range from novices to industry veterans.
There is some debate as to whether indie development started before PCs with games developed for mainframe computers at universities and other large institutions. Games such as 1963's Spacewar! were not commercially financed and were made by a small team, but there lacked a commercial sector of the video game industry at that time to distinguish from independent works. However, one of the earliest known examples of games developed on contract for these systems was that of Joyce Weisbecker, who considers herself the first indie designer, as she had created several games for the RCA Studio II console in 1976 as an independent contractor for RCA.
While the commercial sector of the video game industry was focused on the growing home video game console market in the late 1970s to early 1980s, a number of games for personal computers were released by one- or two-man teams, self-distributed in stores or sold through mail order. This was particularly true in the United Kingdom, where video game consoles had not gained as much traction as in the United States. There, the early microcomputers such as the ZX Spectrum were popular, launching a range of "bedroom coders" which initiated the UK's video game industry. By 1984, the United Kingdom's game industry had become crowded with many professional development teams making games at a large pace. Game developer Chris Crawford warned potential small developers away from the commercial prospects of the field in late 1984: 781b155fdc