Interview

The Big Indie Pitch interviews: Dodreams tells us all about its upcoming arena brawler Drive Ahead! Arena

The Big Indie Pitch interviews: Dodreams tells us all about its upcoming arena brawler Drive Ahead! Arena

The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies four minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views.

Today, we're speaking to Dodreams' Risto Holmstrom, who submited Drive Ahead! Arena to the Big Indie Pitch at ChinaJoy 2017 and took away the third place prize.

PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is in the team and what are their inspirations?

Risto Holmstrom: We are Dodreams, the makers of the Drive Ahead! mobile games. Founded back in 2008, we're now a team of over 20 awesome people. Our mission is to make games that keep surprising our fans, always fun first. We're working on four projects at the moment.

I joined the company as our Principal Designer in the summer of '16 and have since pitched in on all our games, both live and upcoming. Now my main focus is on Drive Ahead! Arena, the next smash hit in casual competitive games.

The core Arena team has 3 programmers, an artist and me. It's been a really special project for all of us: we're all getting to do the things we're most interested in, whether it be creating new physics engines or novelty game system theories.

When the game's ready, I hope the players too will feel what a labour of love it's been.

Tell us about your latest project that you pitched at the competition.

Drive Ahead! Arena is an "arena brawler". Put 50 players in an arena, have them duke it out with a crazy selection of cars in a real-time battle that's physics-based, add in a thorough metagame and wrap the whole package in neat pixel art - and there you have it.

It stands apart from the other ".io" games with its fast pacing, progression and physics. The game's definitely been one of the most ambitious projects I've been a part of and filled with completely alien challenges, but it's one of those games that can potentially change our expectations of what PvP mobile action can be.

How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer working in mobile?

Every indie developer I know has been through a rough patch at some point. While we're no different in this regard, now we've got an incredible community around the Drive Ahead! brand that truly makes a difference. The wonderful fans are the shoulders we can stand on.

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

What a great event. So much talent and ambition you could almost taste it in the air. It was great meeting so many like-minded developers and to have a chance to gauge the impressions everyone had on Drive Ahead! Arena.

he format of the pitch was intimate and pleasant. I found the idea of pitching to a smaller set of judges at a time a nice change of pace. It gave the whole thing a more personal twist, made it interactive.

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

The best take away was learning how people react to the game. Once you've worked on a game for a longer time behind closed doors, it's easy to forget what makes it special.

Seeing how the judges and indies got so excited about the idea was a great reminder that, yeah, we're onto something big here. As the game moves forward I'm hoping to get more feedback from the many great people I had the pleasure of meeting there.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

I'm hoping that Drive Ahead! Arena redefines the casual PvP market and becomes a fan favourite for years to come. Go Big or go home!

We've set the bar high for the game, attempting a lot of stuff that many would think insane. We believe it's exactly that kind of crazy ambition that's at the root of every super success. And by no means is this the last Drive Ahead! game you'll see.


Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you.

Upcoming BIPs include:

But there's more! For the first time ever this year we'll be hosting The Big Indie Awards 2017 in association with indieSky. Having just hosted the remote judges voiting, you can look out for our countdown of the very best of The Big Indie Pitch 2017 right here very soon.

Developer Relations Manager & Big Indie Pitch Co-ordinator / Special Features Writer

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that he's written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokemon.

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