The Belvedere Journal
AAA Vs Indie Games
by Lynn A
What I believe draws a firm line between AAA games and Indie is the feel they give off, or that feeling they want to give off to the players.
AAA games (the A defining quality, success and the creative team) are on the rise, as well as Indie ones. Most modern games can either be in one of these categories and both have their pros and cons. I’m sure you have heard of Call Of Duty or Terraria and the difference between these two games are very clear, from their graphics to their mechanics. A majority of Indie games are in a pixel art style, while AAA have more realistic graphics or semi-realistic, because of the high budgets that the companies like Rockstar Games (that made GTA and Activision) have, while Indie games are made by a small group of people like the game Undertale and One Shot.
AAA games are 'free look,' meaning you can move the players camera all round in a first person view whilst Indie games are mostly associated with side scrollers at a 3rd person view where you can only move up, down, left and right. With the free look, it gives you an unlimited view, and along with the 3D assets and maps, it allows you to indulge yourself in the game. However, in a game like Hollow Knight, the expanded plot and art makes up for the limited view that the player is given and the fact that it's a 3rd person view means that you can see more things at once, making the game easier than if it was free look. There are Indie games that aren’t 2D, but their style is significantly different from that of a AAA game. An example is Hyperbolica, where it's non euclidean, which makes it not quite 3D but it's not quite 2D either. The game has a curved view and simple style, which makes it easier to both play and code the game.
Another reason why others may prefer one type over the other is how you interact with players and NPCs. In AAA games, they are mostly online and can be played with others around the world, which led to the creation of 'E-sports,' playing with different players who could be on the opposite side of the globe. On the contrary, Indie games are known for their 'speedruns,' the fastest way a player can find to complete the game in the shortest time. The reason for Indie games being most popular for their speedruns is because they are mainly single player, so a game where only one player is active. Most games have a save point and a save menu which shows you all your saves and from that, you can load any one of them to go backwards or forwards in the game. This is a feature that AAA games don’t commonly have due to the online feature.
What I believe draws a firm line between AAA games and Indie is the feel they give off, or that feeling they want to give off to the players. DDLC or Doki Doki LIterature Club (which is categorised as an Indie game) is a good example. At the start, it wants you to be comfortable with both it and the characters in the game, till you see something disturbing; then the atmosphere goes downhill from there and eventually gets worse and worse. With a game like Cyberpunk, The Witcher or God Of War, that atmosphere, that feeling, is consistent, since these games are all adventure games, action packed but doesn't surprise you a lot, especially if you have played a few AAA games (since the plot or story line is somewhat predictable).
In summary, these are just a few things that make these types of games stand out. Both Indie and AAA games can purely be judged on the actual game itself. If I was to compare a specific Indie and AAA game, the quality determines which is better and not which category is superior.