There are many things that can come to mind when mentioning the words ‘independent game developer.’ Many would imagine the image of a defiant group of individuals, producing artful video games without the backing of a typical triple-A publisher. And it’s this common envisage, that has likely caused indies to come off as the better of the two types of game developers.
Recently, a game called ORION was taken off Steam due to claims the developers used gun models from Activision’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3. Soon after, developer Trek Industries began fighting these claims, going on to ask fans for support. Naturally, most sided with them and there was even a petition that currently has nearly one thousand signatures.
To most, it seemed like another instance of a big corporation stepping in to wrongly trample on a smaller studio with less resources. They even took this position, with the game’s creator saying “They are a multi-billion dollar company coming over what is currently a 50 cent game…”
However, it wasn’t long until comparison shots were released that proved Activision was in the right, and Trek Industries later admitted some assets were indeed stolen from Call Of Duty. But not before the company’s boss further went on to state “If you want a developer that abuses you, rapes your wallet with annual $60 rehashes, DLC, $15 map packs and other disastrous efforts like invalid and illegal DMCA takedowns, by all means let them continue to ruin the gaming industry.”
The thing that pisses me off most about this debacle, is just how quickly Trek Industries were to play victim in all of this. Pretending to be innocent indie game developers who were erroneously attacked by one of the biggest names in gaming.
But just because a game studio is independent, does not make it less susceptible to the similar scummy practices of bigger companies. People often tend to side with indies, rather than entities such as EA or Ubisoft when it comes to situations such as the one involving Orion; even though both can be equally bad. Hell, it can sometimes be worse with developers using being independent as an excuse.
In the age that we live in, almost anyone with an internet connection can make a video game and begin selling it on a website. At least when it comes to a company like Activision, you know there is going to be some degree of responsibility coming from a large publisher of games.
The word ‘indie’ itself has kind of lost all meaning at this point. While it just feels wrong to lump great creators into the same category as those who pollute Steam Greenlight with garbage, there’s really no way to distinguish them without just saying one’s good and one’s bad.
The entire incident between Trek Industries and Activision, really serves to reinforce the point that you can’t judge whether a side is right based on if they’re an independent developer or not. Hopefully after this, people won’t be so quick to assume that the corporation is the bad guy.