November 25, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili
You'd be forgiven for throwing back a blank stare at the news that indie developer Daniel Remar is due to release his next game in just a couple of week's time.
Well-known and well-loved by most hardcore indie gamers, his presence is definitely less felt outside of the 'indie circle', especially compared to some of the big hitters of recent years.
"I'm a shy guy, and my childhood has left me uneasy about large groups of people," explains Remar to Gamasutra's Mike Rose. "I think it reflects in how I'd rather just read people's comments without replying, or throw my games out there without wanting to enter competitions with them, since that might lead to public performances and more focus on me as a person rather than on my games."
The Swedish developer is not completely opposed to a bit of fame and glory however. "Of course I like to be recognized, everyone does, but I'm happiest with my games doing the talking."
With Remar's upcoming offering, Hyper Princess Pitch, it appears that he may well be receiving a little more attention than he usually craves. The trailer, released earlier this month, has gathered plenty of attention, and forums are buzzing with excitement for the December 1 release date.
"[My email intake has] increased after the release of the Hyper Princess Pitch trailer already, and it's stressful since I try to answer them all," he explains.
"I've never thought much about hyping my games, so I end up short in that department when it's time for release. I've depended on my friends to spread the word to indie gaming sites instead. The Internet is great for word-of-mouth information."
Remar reckons that if the game is good enough, it will speak for itself, marketing or no marketing.
"I believe a good game, and/or a very memorable one, will keep getting played due to its virtues rather than its marketing. I hope my games will turn out like that, so I put a lot of love and effort into them."
"Look at the still massive following of Doom 2," he notes. "How long will people even remember the latest batch of [first-person shooters]?"
Hyper Princess Pitch is a Christmas-themed arena shooter based around an anti-heroine who looks suspiciously similar to a certain Super Mario character. You're tasked with making sure Mecha Santa fails in delivering toys to the children of the world.
"I've been wanting to make an Operation: Carnage [from developer Midnight Synergy] tribute for a long time," says Remar. "One day I realized that Princess Pitch from one of my previous games, Garden Gnome Carnage, was the perfect character for the job."
He continues, "The rest quickly fell into place, and I just carried the Santa-and-elves theme over from GGC. I at first thought Hyper Princess Pitch would only take half a year to make, with release around summer 2011, but work on my hobby games has drastically slowed down since I got a full-time job."
As mentioned, this is Remar's second game about ruining Christmas. Does the Hero Core developer have beef with the festive season?
"It was just a weird coincidence, like much of game development," he admits. "Me and Joel [Nystrom, Ludosity CEO] revamped Garden Gnome Carnage for a winter-themed competition at YoYo Games. It had more of a Rampage-like military theme at first, but the winter competition changed that."
One rather notable feature of Remar's games is that every single release is freeware, with the dev only making any income through donations. He's not looking to change that anytime in the future either.
"My games will remain freeware for several reasons," he explains. "Firstly I want as many people as possible to enjoy them, including those who can't pay online. I want the games to be freely available in the future without people having to search out and pirate them, once the games stop selling but some publisher still holds onto the rights."
"I also don't need the money; I have a job, and if my hobby were a job as well, I'd have no spare time left! Instead I just take donations, only people who really liked my games will consider giving me something in return then."
Remar's main worry with going through a publisher is the amount of red tape he'd have to work through. "I don't have to go through the troublesome process of getting something published, nor am I obligated to patch the games or make sure they run on any platform," he notes.
"Furthermore I can do whatever I want with the games, I own the rights, and I can talk with my fans about future games. I can also release the source codes on my home page, and I have no deadlines."
"So to me, a better question would be: why would I sell my games?"
Indeed, through his current model, his games have seen rather a lot of attention, with some seriously impressive download figures.