“Don’t emulate your heroes without a thorough analysis of benefits they might have that you don’t.”
- Tanya X. Short explores options indie developers have for planning a studio's goals.
Kitfox Games’ Tanya X. Short has published a piece over on VentureBeat that breaks down the considerations game makers and studio heads make when setting out to make a living off of game development, particularly those surrounding a team’s desire to keep the lights on.
Short uses two different hypothetical studios as examples here: “Studio A, which creates a series of profitable but otherwise unremarkable games under budget, then closes” and “Studio B, which creates one masterwork, which doesn’t earn back its investment, then closes.”
“When I started Kitfox in 2013, I chose A without even considering B as an option. And honestly, with my skills and experience at the time, maybe B wasn’t an option for me anyway. I probably couldn’t have executed on a grand vision,” says Short. “Starting Kitfox with what I know today, maybe B would be more tempting. I’m a game designer primarily, and many of my design heroes are B-leaders all the way. Creative risk-taking is a big reason why we tend to admire game designers in the first place.“
In the full story, Short explores the pros and cons of each, but highlights the need for fledgling studios to clearly examine their own resources and experience before committing to a strategy, and to carefully consider those of their inspirations before trying to emulate another studio’s seeming success.