The Big Indie Pitch interviews: MMZZUU on winning the first ever BIP at G-Star in Korea with arcade shooter Defenoid

We speak to MMZZUU, the winner of the first ever Big Indie Pitch at G-Star

The Big Indie Pitch interviews: MMZZUU on winning the first ever BIP at G-Star in Korea with arcade shooter Defenoid

The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of 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 Song Young Soo from MMZZUU, who submited Defenoid to The Big Indie Pitch at G-Star 2017 and walked away as champion. Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is in the team and what are their inspirations?

Song Young Soo: MMZZUU is a one-person studio in Korea, although in future I plan to bring in personnel according to the project size and purpose.

The game I am trying to make is aimed at creating new, inventive and fun experimental games. The goal is to create a game where anyone, anytime, anywhere can play on any platform. In particular, I am working hard to make mobile games that are easy for anybody to enjoy.

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

The game is called Defenoid, which comes from combining the words "defence" and "avoid". The aim of the game is to attack the enemy all whilst lots of bullets are being fired by the enemy.

However, players can take advantage of the skill items that come out once every 10 seconds and use these skill items to kill many enemies. It's a simple game, but it's not easy.

I see Defenoid as a "barrage defence"-type of game. Typically games like Defenoid are titles that only enthusiasts enjoy, as they have some issues when it comes to control and difficulty. With Defenoid I've tried to make this type of game more accessible.

Development started with one simple idea: "If you cannot avoid, you cannot stop?". Players must avoid obstacles that are thrown at them by enemies and the evironment, before using the skills thrown out by the evironment to defeat their enemies.

Simplying the gameplay was only one part of making the game more accessible. I also have also closely watched a range of people play the game from grandfathers and grandmothers to uncles, aunts and children, and adapted the game based on their experiences.

I also chose simple and cute characters and design so as to appeal to a wide audience. The title also uses a one touch control system, something which was planned as essential from the start of development, as it again makes Defenoid more accessible.

After development was completed the game was launched on Google Play free of charge and users' reactions and reviews have been positive so far.

Additionally, whilst I haven't done any kind of public relations or marketing at all, I have participated in various festivals across Asia,and modified the game based on watching users playing directly on the spot.

These have all allowed me to collect a lot of valuable data various players' experiences with Defenoid, all of which has been invaluable.

I now plan on doing some final balances, tests and updates. All of which are scheduled to end in February 2018.

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

It is a tremendous struggle to create, experiment and test new things with little or no income. It's a job where you have to be hungry for it. If you don't love this work and commit everything to it, then you can never go on.

It is also very difficult to promote the game without any funds. Unfortunately, until I gain a certain amount of capital I have to develop my projects at home outside of my day job, which has nothing to do with game development.

As such, I only have a small amount of development time compared to many, and also less chance of gaining the amount of capital needed to promote the game further.

However, this doesn't affect how much I love developing games. Even if I don't make big money, I plan to continue creating the games I want to make just as I planned. I am confident I can create new fun and exciting titles. Of course, that is as long as I survive!

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

Before coming to the Big Indie Pitch, due to the fact that I create games alone, I always asked myself: "Do people understand the fun and gameplay I intended?"

As such, I certianly did not think I would walk away with a prize, let alone first place. In fact, when the announcement was made I was so shocked that I dropped my cellphone whilst I was filming.

Overall though, what I gained from the Big Indie Pitch was a great amount of joy that my intentions and goals for Defenoid were defintiely being realised despite my uncertainty.

Now I am more convinced in my development skills and that I should have more confidence in myself and my games in the future. The feedback I received will also help with future updates and balances too.

I was also very happy to see, hear and feel the energy of indie games developers who all have some really good ideas and are extremely passionate.

Finally, one of the most important things for indie games developers is having the means to promote your title. Despite not having any budget for this, the Big Indie Pitch has allowed me a chance to promote my game on a global stage.

I hope to continue working hard and taking all the chances I can in the industry to spread the word of Defenoid and MMZZUU.

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

In the past, there were times when we gathered in the arcade and laughed with each other while playing games.

These are the kinds of experiences I want to create. I want to make games that can be enjoyed by anyone. This will always be the aim with Defenoid IP and I will continually work towards this, even after the game is released.

In fact, Defenoid is a game I created to see the reactions of users before creating more experiences using the Defenoid characters and gameplay. Truth be told, it just started as the smallest and simplest of the mini-games.

I think that I will make a lot of games by using such simple inspiration. Not only in terms of design and gameplay, but also when it comes to other aspects of game creation too.

I'm also not against developing for different platforms in the furture too, or even different genres such as esports, TCGs and RPGs. Ultimately, the aim is to create games that can be enjoyed together by people of all ages and walks of life.

Although before all of that, the goal is to survive so that I can continue developing games.

Check out Defenoid on Google Play.

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:

Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.