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The line between triple-A and indie is very thin for studios like Evil Empire and Thunder Lotus, so they've made a space for themselves.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 29, 2024

2 Min Read
Logo for the upcoming Triple-I Initiative showcase event.
Image via the Triple-I Initiative.

At a Glance

  • The blockbuster indie studios are holding their own event in April to highlight their own big (to a point) work.

A new video game initiative is turning its focus towards the industry's triple-A indie darlings. Dubbed the Triple-I Initiative, it'll make its debut with an inaugural showcase on April 10.

The Initiative comes from Dead Cells developer Evil Empire, with involvement from others like Terraria's Re-Logic and Slay the Spire's Mega Crit. As Evil Empire's Bérenger Dupré explained, the event will center on indie games that "resonate with millions of players around the world."

Indie games like those mentioned above usually show up in games showcases as appetizers to the main course of triple-A fare. But they're triple-A in their own way, as made clear when they jump to more platforms or get adapted into TV or movies.

Evil Empire COO Benjamin Laulan called the event a 45-minute "straight-to-the-point show. [...] No hosting segments, no advertisements, no sponsorships, no extra fluff, just games" by "the most successful and creative folks out there."

The Triple-I's are part of a new industry game

Speaking to RockPaperShotgun, Laulan admitted the Triple-I's exist as a way to showcase its own work and that of its peers. As the studio was preparing to reveal its next title, it realized it had nowhere to really present it.

Between smaller indie showcases and more triple-A oriented fare like the Game Awards, Evil Empire "couldn't really identify ourselves as a studio," said Laulan. "There was an in-between spot that needed to be filled somehow."

In some ways, the Triple-I's feel like they're taking aim at the TGAs. The annual awards ceremony tends to be divisive, but 2023's showing felt eye-opening due to short speech times and an inability to acknowledge the industry's layoff-heavy year.

More recent events like the DICE and GDC Awards have been positioned as doing game awards the "right" way. Hosts got to make pointed jokes at the expense of executives, winners got to have extended speeches, and so on.

The Triple-I's have a similar undercurrent, evidenced by Laulan calling it a no frills highlight reel of upcoming indie games. Whether they become annual or solid one-and-dones, the spirit of competition is alive in the industry's events circuit.

RockPaperShotgun's full write-up of the Triple I's includes a deeper look into its existence and what counts as a "triple-I indie," and can be read here.

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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