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 four 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.
Today, we're speaking to Teemu Lyytinen from Latchback Games, who created and pitched Break the Beyond, at The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2022 and walked away as the winner.
Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?
Teemu Lyytinen: Latchback Games is an 8-person indie studio from Finland, with the goal of creating high-quality narrative-based mobile games. Our team consists of enthusiastic players, whose dream is to enter the gaming industry. The narrative focus is also reflected in our hobbies, as the majority of the team enjoys role-playing games.
I personally enjoy playing different shooters, especially Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, games and roguelikes, such as Slay the Spire. I like a tactical challenge and fast pacing in a game. Having to make quick decisions and receiving immediate consequences creates a unique gaming experience for me.
Tell us about Break the Beyond, which you pitched at the competition.
Break the Beyond is a roguelite card game with merge mechanics. It's a fusion of Slay The Spire and the Reigns designed for mobile. We have brought the stylistic world of a PC game together with the intuitive nature of a merge game for mobile. We began development with rapid conceptualization in the summer of 2022. We created a prototype within a week and gathered feedback at various gaming events, continuously advancing the concept.
Break the Beyond is a roguelite card game with merge mechanics. It's a fusion of Slay The Spire and the Reigns designed for mobile.Teemu Lyytinen
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Play Pretend that gamers may never have seen before?
What sets Break the Beyond apart and offers a fresh experience to gamers, is the unique blend of fantasy roguelite and merge mechanics. Players will dive into an immersive adventure where they engage in tactical battles, collect items, and strategically merge them to amplify their strength. We have created a strategic layer by having many opportunities to merge items into more powerful versions and unleash their full strength. Being able to merge items often also creates more excitement.
Break the Beyond is a fast-paced roguelite card game. What made you choose to make this type of game, and what do you think you bring that may not have been seen before?
There are many card game enthusiasts in our team, and roguelite games are currently trending, so it was natural to choose a game of this style. Players may not have seen the ease of using a merge game combined with a roguelite in the same way before.
How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Break the Beyond for?
We realized that our previous PC game project was far too big for us, so we decided to downsize to a smaller game project to get a game out quickly. We conducted market research before we started prototyping, to get a clear picture of the kind of game that would have demand among mobile gamers. Because of this, mobile felt like a natural platform.
Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?
Surviving as an indie developer is challenging, but it's possible. So far, we've bootstrapped our studio. This, though, has required us to take on customer projects on the side. The key has been maintaining a good balance between customer projects and the development of our game.
The best thing to do is get started and just make something and put it out thereTeemu Lyytinen
Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?
It's important to network effectively right from the beginning. Gathering feedback for the game, even in its unfinished state, is crucial. Remember that all games are works in progress, and there's always room for endless refinement. Prioritizing features, game elements and mechanics is necessary, as is making decisions reasonably fast.
Keeping a Plan B in mind is wise, as the game industry can be financially challenging, especially in the early stages. I also emphasize that conducting market research is always advisable before starting game development.
How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?
The Very Big Indie Pitch format of pitching the game for a couple of judges at a time in five minutes worked really well for me. Getting to show the game directly to the judges and bringing my own personality more easily allowed me to give a great presentation of our game. If the pitching had taken place on a stage, the nervousness would have been quite difficult. Pitching to professional and good judges made the experience all the better.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?
The experience has been pretty awesome. I have amped up my pitching skills, and winning has boosted my confidence a lot. It's been great to start believing in what this project can achieve. The positive vibes from all that feedback have also given the game a real push forward. I even made some valuable contacts along the way.
We've made great progress so far, but there's still much to achieve. One of our primary goals is to find the right publisher who can provide marketing and user acquisition for Break the Beyond. A partnership with a publisher would enable us to reach a wider audience and maximize the game's potential.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?
Our aspirations for this game are high. We envision Break the Beyond becoming a beloved title in the gaming community. Offering our players an engaging and unique experience they can enjoy for a long time is our goal. We hope to build a strong and dedicated player base, and create a community that enjoys the game's mechanics, story, and challenges.
As for future projects, we do have ideas in the pipeline. We are excited to continue exploring innovative concepts and pushing the boundaries of gameplay. Our ultimate goal is to keep creating memorable and enjoyable experiences for players, building on the lessons and successes from Break the Beyond.
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, or even our new Digital pitches.