On the 01st of July 2020, Sony announced the PlayStation Indies initiative which seeks to shine a spotlight on PlayStation indie games and introduce gamers to titles that might have been overshadowed by larger games.
The goal, says Shuhei Yoshida, is to “make PlayStation the best place to develop, find, and play great indie games”.
As part of the initiative, a new indie game will be added to PlayStation Now every month. The first title will be Hello Neighbor, a stealth game developed by Dynamic Pixels.
Nine upcoming indie games were also announced. One of the titles debuted is Haven, a science fiction co-op game developed by The Game Bakers. It features two lovers exploring a lost planet together.
Speaking on Haven, the creative director of The Game Bakers claimed that the aim was to create a game that is relaxing and feels like “holding hands on a nice outdoor walk”.
All aspects of the game are geared towards enhancing that feeling of lightness. For example, the crafting system and the RPG elements have been kept intentionally simple. Furthermore, Haven will have very little HUD and UI, giving the game a less cluttered feeling.
Haven will be coming to both PS4 and PS5, and will also be available on Steam.
Another game showcased was Where The Heart Is. Developed by Armature Studio, the game explores the idea of having other realities intersecting ours and blurs the “lines between the concrete and the imagined”.
The game also has a strong focus on choices and consequences. Hence, Where The Heart Is will have branching narratives with different outcomes for characters. Seeing all storylines will not be possible in a single playthrough.
Sony’s focus on indie games is a good one because, as Yoshida points out, the high cost of making AAA means that bigger developers are often too prudent to make daring or innovative games. This leaves indie games, which are often made by smaller collectives, to complete the task of “creating whole new genres of games and advancing the art and meaning of video games”.
A full list of games debuted as part of the PlayStation Indies initiative can be found by clicking this link.