The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-style 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 Jimmie and Eric from Subpixel, who submitted Ready Set Goat to The Big Indie Pitch (Mobile Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #2 and walked away with the prize for third place.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio. Who is in the team and what are their inspirations?
Jimmie & Eric: Subpixel is a two-person team founded in 2020, but we've been working together for over 10 years. We (Jimmie and Eric) met at the gaming startup Playdom in 2009, which was later acquired by Disney.
In 2014, Jimmie founded the software company Reflektive, which Eric joined, and they spent 5 years learning to build a company from the ground up. Alas, games are more fun, so we're back! Our goal is to learn, innovate, and make games we love while staying small and nimble.
Tell us about Ready Set Goat that you pitched at the competition.
Ready Set Goat is a hypercasual one-button platformer that pits a brave goat against invading creeps! The tagline: One Button Mayhem, No Kidding. Your goal is to survive as long as you can, and the arcade-style action is fast-paced, tight, and super satisfying.
The game is easy to pick up and play but has a lot of strategic depth just beneath the surface. We released the first version completely free on iOS and Android in April 2020, and we'll be launching a major gameplay update in July.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Ready Set Goat that gamers may never have seen before?
We set out to create the ideal version of an "easy to learn, hard to master" game. We wanted to make something that absolutely everyone could play and enjoy within just a few minutes, but that could also create a community of highly competitive players.
We think we've struck the right balance; as a true one-button game, Ready Set Goat is accessible to players of all abilities. At the same time, the strategies that emerge the longer you survive lend themselves to the competitive scene. And of course, what could be better than an adorable pixel-art goat?
Retro-inspired gaming alongside arcade based experiences have seen a revival. What made you choose these genres, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?
The retro style and arcade gameplay were great fits once we'd prioritized the accessibility of a one-button game. What sets Ready Set Goat apart is the extra depth of decision-making that's absent in the many one-button mobile games out today. Our game makes you think and rewards you for executing new strategies; it's not just about memorization or quick reaction times.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Ready Set Goat for?
As a one-button game, Ready Set Goat can really fit on any platform. We started with iOS and Android because we wanted to play the game ourselves all the time: on the couch, on a commute, on a hike, wherever. We're addicts!
We also haven't seen a game quite like this on mobile that combines strategy, cute art, and the experience of competing for those top leaderboard slots in an arcade cabinet, so we saw an opportunity.
Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
Having just founded the studio this year, we’re probably a bit over-optimistic. It's been great to work on the projects that excite us most and to have complete creative freedom. The spectre of the crowded marketplace and the economic challenges of staying afloat are ever-present, but we hope that a combination of modest expectations and a practical approach to launching games quickly will keep the lights on.
Are there any tips and advice you would give to independent developers out there who are just starting out?
We're in the category of "just starting out", so we're eager to read what others have to say! Still, one thing we can recommend: get something launched as soon as you can.
It's always valuable to go through the process of cutting scope, and a launch will teach you all the ins-and-outs of publishing on your chosen platforms, gathering data, pushing updates etc. If you have a small project you can execute before your big dream game, definitely consider it. And hey, you never know: your starter project might even make some money!.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
The Big Indie Pitch process was great all around. We hadn't actually done a live pitch for Ready Set Goat before, so it was an opportunity for us to hone our messaging in advance of marketing the game more broadly. The event itself went off without a hitch, and we heard great feedback.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
We really appreciated the chance to get the game in front of more people, particularly those with industry experience, and to hear feedback. As a new studio, making those connections was huge. Looking forward, we’re eager to incorporate the feedback we received and to keep exchanging ideas with the other great developers we met during the process.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
Based on our early results, we're very optimistic about Ready Set Goat. We've seen really strong player retention and received great feedback, so we're excited to build out more gameplay, customization, and competition in the next few months. We've also got two other projects in early development that explore different genres, so expect lots more news from Subpixel in the near future. Keep in touch with us on Instagram, Twitter, or at our site!