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"Embrace challenges with passion; success follows dedication and vision": BAD Spiele Studio discuss indie creativity

BAD Spiele Studio came 2nd at the Very Big Indie Pitch in London - we discuss their road to the Big Indie Pitch

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

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers, and industry pundits, each receiving invaluable feedback before the judges pick three winners.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we take it all over the world. We've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views on the event, its attendees, and the games on show.

All the action from The Big Indie Pitch
All the action from The Big Indie Pitch

Today, we're speaking to Ankit Dhillon from BAD Spiele Studio, who created and pitched Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness, at The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2024 and walked away as the runner-up.

Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Ankit Dhillon: I am Ankit Dhillon. Due to a mistake in filling out birth forms by my dad, I ended up with my mother's endearing choice of calling me Kumar, meaning prince in Indian culture. Growing up in a mix of countries and cultures, I am truly grateful for the open worldview it has provided me. Our upcoming titles aim to share more of this diversity with the world, bringing forth mythologies and stories from Asia to the West, unexplored in the gaming medium. Personally, living amidst such diversity has been a constant source of inspiration for my art and games. My children, Athen and Luv Dhillon, represent a fixing of my parents' error, and they are my everything. As they grow up, I envision our studio creating cozy games for breaks and delving into the shadowy realms of Lovecraftian and other Mythos lore. Our aim is to craft strategy games blending haunting atmospheres with intricate storytelling, reflecting the dark romanticism that defines our titles. Each game carries a message of perseverance, resonating with players on a human level while providing an escape into fantastical worlds.

As for the company itself, Bad Spiele Studio, may be based in Berlin, our hometown, but we consider the company to be global, with remote employees and players worldwide. While our headquarters are in Berlin, our reach extends far beyond the confines of a single city or country.

Tell us about Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness, which you pitched at the competition.

Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness is a game that blends elements from Slay the Spire and Darkest Dungeon. Players assume the role of the Last Spartan, embarking on a story-driven campaign set against the backdrop of Greek mythology and Lovecraftian horror. The gameplay revolves around deck-building mechanics, with a twist: instead of cards, players customize and build their deck using dice, each face representing a different ability. With over 700 dice faces to discover, players can develop numerous synergies to suit their playstyle. Additionally, players are accompanied by Greek gods throughout their journey, offering diverse playstyles and strategies. Last Spartan promises an immersive experience, combining strategic gameplay with compelling storytelling.

“Surviving as an indie developer comes with challenges, but staying true to passion drives us forward, regardless of financial success.”
Ankit Dhillon

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness that gamers may never have seen before?

Last Spartan stands out with its innovative dice-building mechanics, offering players endless possibilities for customization. The inclusion of Greek gods as allies adds depth to gameplay, allowing for varied playstyles and strategies. With emergent narratives and rich storytelling, Last Spartan promises a unique gaming experience that players won't soon forget.

Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness is a strategy game with rogue-like deck-building gameplay built around custom dice-building mechanics. What made you choose to make this type of game, and what do you think you bring that may not have been seen before?

My passion for world-building and game design led me to conceptualize Last Spartan. Inspired by the poetry of design found in board games, I sought to create a game that combined strategic depth with compelling narratives. The idea of using dice as a medium for deck-building intrigued me, offering players a fresh and interactive approach to gameplay. Additionally, my fascination with Greek mythology and Lovecraftian themes provided the perfect backdrop for Last Spartan, allowing me to create a world that merges historical and supernatural elements seamlessly.

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How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness for?

Considering our indie status, PC/Mac/Linux platforms were natural choices, with Steam serving as our primary distribution platform. Additionally, seeing the growing popularity of strategy games on consoles, we decided to port Last Spartan to Xbox and PlayStation. The versatility of the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck also appealed to us, offering players the flexibility to enjoy the game in handheld mode. Lastly, considering the mobile gaming market, we plan to release Last Spartan on iOS and Android platforms, catering to players on the go.

“Iterate, experiment, and fail fast. Building a supportive community and resilience are key to succeeding as an indie developer.”
Ankit Dhillon

Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?

Surviving as an indie developer comes with its challenges, but it's essential to set realistic expectations and manage resources wisely. By keeping our team small and our burn rate low, we ensure financial sustainability and creative freedom. While the industry may present daunting obstacles, staying true to our passion for game development drives us forward, regardless of financial success.

Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?

Iterate, experiment, and fail fast. Test your ideas rigorously and focus on execution. Keep your burn rate low and wear multiple hats to cover all aspects of development. Prioritize gameplay and marketability, and be open to feedback. Building a supportive community and staying resilient in the face of challenges is key to succeeding as an indie developer.

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

Pitching at the Big Indie Pitch was exhilarating, providing valuable feedback from industry veterans and networking opportunities. Despite the competitive nature of the event, it was a rewarding experience that helped refine our pitch and game concept.

BAD Spiele Studio showcasing Last Spartan
BAD Spiele Studio showcasing Last Spartan

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

Participating in the Big Indie Pitch has provided invaluable insights and feedback, helping us refine our game and pitch. The opportunity to connect with industry professionals and receive constructive criticism has been instrumental in our development journey.

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

Our primary goal for Last Spartan is to deliver an exceptional gaming experience that resonates with players. We aim to continue engaging with our community, refining our game, and delivering on our vision. Looking ahead, we have exciting plans for future projects, each offering unique gameplay experiences and storytelling opportunities.


Wantto 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, or even our new Digital pitches.

All our upcoming pitches including how to enter can be found on our upcoming events page on BigIndiePitch.com.

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