Advice - News - August 16, 2023

The Path to Independence: Valuable insights from developer Stormind’s journey

Game development is a competitive sphere, where striking a balance between innovation and sustainability can be challenging, especially for smaller indie devs. Recently, GameIndustry.biz interviewed Batora: Lost Haven’s dev team Stormind at the First Playable event in Florence, Italy. During that interview, a bunch of great insights were discussed, and I felt you all would benefit from them, so we’re going to break it down today!

Navigating the World of Independence

Stormind created Batora: Lost Haven

Stormind started as a modest sized indie team of just 20 members, but now numbers over 100 developers. They’re committed to organic growth, and fiercely in favor of remaining independent. In their interview, their CEO, Antonio Cannata, explicitly mentioned rejecting acquisition proposals, focusing instead on maximizing their inherent potential and building robust partnerships and games that stand out.

Acquisitions are common as I’m sure you’re aware, but there’s value in staying the course, believing in one’s vision, and cultivating organic growth as evidenced here. Actually, I’m digging in on this point because as we discussed yesterday, Fireplace Games, creators of En Garde, said a lot of the same things in regards to their journey starting up a studio early in their career.

Empowering Local Talent and Embracing Cultural Heritage

Another piece of insight garnered from their talk was that while the globalized world sees talent shifting borders, Stormind’s unique flair in drawing Italian talent from abroad back to their homeland is of importance to them. Cannata stated, “There are a lot of Italians that are working abroad and some [that] we are convincing to come back to Italy and to bring their experience to our company.”

The Italian lineage is rich with poets and artists, and is manifested in Stormind’s unique, artistic approach to game development. The amalgamation of local talent and the touch of cultural heritage can be a potent combination, as seen in their journey.

Beyond Borders: An Expansive Vision

The gaming realm is not constrained by geographical limitations though, and Stormind’s aspirations echo this sentiment. In fact, Cannata dreams of Italian gaming firms extending their reach, establishing studios in countries like the UK or Spain.

“I dream about an Italian game company opening a new studio maybe in the UK or Spain with their brand name on it.”

Antonio Cannata, CEO of Stormind

Sustainability and Recognizing Italian Flair

However, while aspirations like this are admirable, and even I share them as a Floridian who wants a studio in Japan and perhaps even Italy, the ultimate test is sustainability. As Stormind transitioned into a multi-project entity, Cannata’s words resonate with many; it’s not merely about crafting a single game, but erecting an empire that continually churns out quality content. Coupled with this is the team’s passionate desire for Italian studios to sculpt their legacy, which I can respect.

He feels that the global recognition of the Italian game studios shouldn’t just be limited to teams owned by mammoth global publishers or corporations. There’s immense power in indigenous ownership and vision, as he states, “We cannot be fully independent if there is ownership that is not Italian.”

As you carve your niche in game development, I think it’s important to reflect upon these insights and others we cover here on Indie Game Mode. Embrace independence, empower local talent, think beyond geographical confines, and champion sustainability all while honoring your vision and your roots. After all, every studio has its unique story waiting to be written. Let me know in the comments where you’re from and what your vision is for your game studio or project! I’m actually super interested to know more and to see how far-reaching our readership is!