Top 5 Indie Game Developers

These five indie game developers made a lasting impression on the gaming industry.

July 8, 2016 by Morgan Shaver

Being an indie game developer requires a large amount of sacrifice, and the success of an indie game title is not always instantaneous. However, the following five indie game developers show how a lot of hard work can pay off in a huge way, especially when it comes to competing with larger teams producing AAA titles.

5. The Chinese Room

The Chinese Room is an independent gaming company from Britain and are best for their game, Dear Esther. Dear Esther was originally created as a Half-Life 2 mod while the original team was still working out of the University of Portsmouth. The University of Portsmouth refused to fund the game to completion, inspiring the team to turn to Indie Fund for finances.

Dear Esther did so well that within 6 hours of release, The Chinese Room had enough to fully pay back Indie Fund’s investment. In addition to Dear Esther, the company released several other popular titles including Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

4. Supergiant Games

Based out of San Francisco, California, Supergiant is renowned for titles like Bastion and Transistor. The company was founded by developers Amir Rao and Gavin Simon in 2009 after they quit their jobs and moved into the same house to work on games. Their first title, Bastion, received high praise, with several game critics citing it as their pick for Game of the Year.

They followed the success of Bastion with Transistor, racking up an impressive score of 83 on Metacritic. In addition, the team announced this year that their upcoming title, Pyre, will be released in 2017 for PC and PS4.

3. Klei Entertainment

Klei Entertainment was founded in a basement in 2005 by developer Jamie Cheng, who once worked as an intern programmer at Sega’s Relic Entertainment studio. By 2009, Klei Entertainment had a total of nine staff members. Klei Entertainment released their first title Eets for PC in 2006.

The game was eventually ported to Xbox 360 and retitled as Eets: Chowdown, featuring 120 levels and a mini-game titled March Madness. One of Klei’s most successful titles to date is their survival game, Don’t Starve, which is one of our personal favorites here at Indie Obscura!

2. Mojang

While Mojang is no longer an independent game company, they crafted one of the most popular indie games of all time, Minecraft. Minecraft was pieced together by developers Markus Persson and his best friend Jakob Porsér, who founded the independent studio in 2009 to facilitate their work on the game.

Within a year, Mojang had grown to a company of 12 employees. Facebook and Napster offered to buy Mojang in 2011, however the developers declined the offer. By 2012, Mojang was worth a total of over $80 million dollars. The company remained independent until 2014 when they were purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion dollars.

1. Team Meat

Team Meat is a recognizable face among independent game companies and was founded by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes. McMillen started his developing career creating flash games, and Team Meat’s award-winning game, Super Meat Boy, got its start as one of McMillen’s flash games in 2008.

Super Meat Boy officially released for the Xbox 360 and PC in 2010, with the Xbox 360 version receiving a whopping 90/100 from Metacritic. McMillen’s success story was featured in the documentary, “Indie Game: The Movie.” Team Meat went on to release two other successful titles, The Binding of Isaac and Aether. Bottom line, Team Meat is a powerful success story that continues to inspire members of the indie gaming community to this day.