Interview

The Big Indie Interviews: We talk AR escape rooms with The Pixel Crushers

The Big Indie Interviews: We talk AR escape rooms with The Pixel Crushers

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 Galal Hassan from The Pixel Crushers, who submited ARia's Legacy to The Big Indie Pitch in Los Angeles 2018 which took place during E3 week and walked away with 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?

Galal Hassan: My name is Galal Hassan and I am the Co-Founder and Director of The Pixel Crushers. Along with Abdul Algharbi, we both founded the studio in order to craft intellectually stimulating games. With Abdul’s day job at Unity and mine as a professor in Game Development & Computer Science, we have the experience needed to deliver such games.

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

Our latest project is ARia’s Legacy, it is the first ever Augmented Reality Escape Room game. Going to an escape room facility is usually a fun activity with your friends, however, it is quite a hassle to book an appointment that works with all your friends, travel across the city, pay tons of money, and only enjoy it for a single hour - Repeat this for every room. With ARia’s Legacy however, you get the same experience with your friends, but anytime, anywhere, and 50 different rooms to enjoy.

How hard is it to survive as an indie developer?

It is very challenging being an indie developer, 90% of our budget is self funded by our day jobs; this limits our reach to new players, making user acquisition quite the challenge. We are constantly looking for funding opportunities for our games in order to push past these boundaries and make better games. (Most importantly, quit our day jobs at one point).

How was your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

Pitching at BIP was a challenge given the nature of our game. Having 4 minutes to show off an Augmented Reality game that requires an open area to play pushed our creative minds to new dimensions in order to impress the judges. It was fun, enjoyable, challenging, and I would definitely recommend it to every indie developer.

What do you feel you have gained from these experiences and what do you still hope to gain?

Pitching at BIP gave me more confidence in ARia’s Legacy when I heard the feedback from the judges. Their feedback encouraged us to take the project further and invest more into it. It also gave us the opportunity to make new invaluable connections with the judges. These connections are crucial to the future of our games.

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

We are planning on finishing and releasing the game by early 2019. At launch it will support iOS & Android. Afterwards, we have plans to port it to VR on PSVR.


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:

Also upcoming:

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Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

A 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. Currently she's on a quest to catch every last Pokemon.

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