James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot shed some light on what independent video game development entails in their debut documentary film, Indie Game: The Movie. The first full length movie released on Steam, Indie Game is a rare look at how mentally taxing the process of creating a game actually is for independent developers. From the pressure of the audience to the sacrificing of any personal life to completely exposing their feelings through the characters and story of their games, we are shown that at times there is more grief than joy involved with the creation of great indie titles.
Throughout the documentary, Jonathan Blow speaks of his experience making Braid, being inspired by his own creation and the odd depression that followed immediately after Braid was released. This narrative gives an idea of the big picture, the before, during and after of the entire process. It also provides a backdrop through the film as it follows Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Team Meat as they finish up Super Meat Boy and Phil Fish as he struggles to bring Fez into the light after years of quiet development.
“It’s not just a game, I’m so closely attached to it, it’s me. It’s my ego; my perception of myself is at risk. My identity is Fez. I’m the guy making Fez. If that doesn’t work out well then…” Phil Fish trails off and is then asked by the interviewer, “What would happen to you personally if you couldn’t finish the game?” to which Phil responds, “I would kill myself.”
Indie Game: The Movie has been very well received and is available through the website, indiegamethemovie.com and can also be purchased through Steam or the iTunes store.