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Indies "walk a tightrope" between commercial and creative business

Another adventure game from Zombie Cow unlikely

UK independent developer Zombie Cow has described the commercial versus creativity dilemma indies must face if they hope to make a good living from their games.

"You've got to walk a tightrope between what you want to do and what you have to," the studio's founder Dan Marshall told in an interview published today. "You've got to make stuff that people want, and you've got to make stuff that you want to make."

Referring to his recent cancellation of a planned sequel to breakout game Time Gentlemen, Please!, he felt that "It'd be lovely to make another adventure game, but that's probably not going to bring in enough cash to keep me doing what I'm doing.

"If you look at the big games from the last couple of years or so, it's been Super Meat Boy and Limbo and Braid and that sort of stuff. Should I be making things along those lines, because there's obviously a market for those? Then suddenly you start to sound very boring, but it's the reality of it."

Creative impetus was still vital, he reasoned. "I wasn't enjoying making Revenge of The Balloon-Headed Mexican and that's one of the main reasons that it ground to a halt. If I wasn't inspired by it, how could I expect anyone else to be? It would have been a really good game, I just don't think it would have as good as Time Gentlemen, Please! and that's the core of why it was cancelled.

"You've got to make stuff that you want to make because you're the one sitting there typing for 12 hours a day making it, but you've got to make something that other people want as well in some capacity."

For the full interview with Marshall, in which he also discusses the business and creative realities of working with Channel 4 on sex-ed game Privates and the importance of digital distribution platforms such as Steam and XBLA, click here.

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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