Interview

The Big Indie interviews: Baronnerie Games explores building an award winning roguelike deckbuilder whilst trying to survive as an indie

Étienne Ponton-Bouchard and Marc-André Gagnon discuss coming 3rd at our Digital Big Indie Pitch in October

The Big Indie interviews: Baronnerie Games explores building an award winning roguelike deckbuilder whilst trying to survive as an indie

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.

The Big Indie Pitch goes digital

Today, we're speaking to Étienne Ponton-Bouchard from Baronnerie Games, who pitched Breach Wanderers at The Digital Big Indie Pitch #4 (Mobile) in October and walked away with the prize for third place.

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

Étienne Ponton-Bouchard: Baronnerie Games consists of Étienne Ponton-Bouchard and Marc-André Gagnon. We both love making games where strategy and complexity is a key part of the player experience. We want players to feel empowered by their decisions and to be able to come up with strategies and combinations that we have never thought of.

Tell us about Breach Wanderers that you pitched at the competition.

Breach Wanderers is what we feel is a natural evolution of the Roguelike Deckbuilder genre that was pioneered by Slay the Spire. While this genre is very popular, we feel like it's getting a bit stalled in terms of how these games are played in terms of progression. We wanted the players to have the same satisfying feeling of finding new cards in Magic or Hearthstone, and being able to spend hours fine-tuning their favorite decks for the best results possible.

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Breach Wanderers that gamers may never have seen before.

While the individual parts of Breach Wanderers are all things that have been seen in various games, we think that the combination of being able to fully customize your deck beforehand, including both your starting cards, and the cards you see during a run/game, will not only be a fantastic experience but also add a whole new layer of strategy that this genre has never seen.

Roguelike and Card based games are two of the most popular genres available in the market. What made you choose to combine both of these together, and what do you think you bring to each of them that may not have been seen before?

While we loved playing both of these genres, we've always felt that something was missing. When playing Slay the Spire, sometimes we'd want to try a specific strategy, only to never see the key cards of that strategy. The vast majority of Collectible Card Games are competitive PvP games, something that we've both been less interested in over time. Breach Wanderers is our attempt at combining the best of these genres into an amazing PvE experience.

How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Breach Wanderers for?

At our core, we are PC players at heart, so we wanted to make sure to also develop this game so that we could play it on the big screen and fully enjoy the beautiful art featured in the game. However, we really wanted to bring this experience to mobile. We feel like turn-based games are perfect games to play on the go since you don't have to worry about getting interrupted or dying because the bus you're on just hit a bump in the road.

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

I think the hardest part is about finding the right time in your life to get started as an Indie studio. You need funds, you need expertise, and you need time to develop your first few games. It's unlikely that the first game from a studio will be a big hit, so you probably have to be prepared to have little income (or to work part-time) for a few years before you can make a living from it.

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

The biggest advice I can give is to properly scope your games. Start small! Just make a fun, simple game, and see how it does! If it's a hit, then it's easy to add new features and content to it. If not, then it's time to really take the time to analyze your game and see what's wrong with it. Get feedback from players, look at the reviews, look at your analytics. If you think that you can salvage this game and turn it into a success, then go for it! If not, it might be time to move on to your next project. I see so many indie developers that want to make their first game their "masterpiece", but I think that this is a mistake. You'll get there eventually.

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

The Big Indie Pitch was our first pitching experience. We found it really refreshing! It was really fun to meet all of the judges and especially all of the other game developers. We're really proud of our game, and we were glad to see that other people also thought that the game was a good idea.

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

Having to refine everything we know about our game into a 4-minute pitch really forced us to focus on what's important. While preparing for the pitch, we had to really decide what were the defining features of the game. This experience allowed us to have a clearer picture of the game and of what we wanted to do with it.

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

We simply hope that many people get to enjoy the game and have fun with it. All of our games started with the idea of making the game that we want to play right now. As for future projects, we have a ton of ideas for games that we want to make. It'll only be a matter of choosing the most interesting one from all of our ideas.


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

Upcoming Big Indie Pitch Event Pages & Registration

January 13 - The Digital Big Indie Pitch (Mobile Edition) #5
February 09 - The Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5
February 10 - The Big Indie Pitch (Mobile Edition) at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5

More coming soon so make sure to regularly check our upcoming events page here and over on BigIndiePitch.com.

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.

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