Sunday, 13 March 2016

Visit to the Arcade from one of my Indie Dev Heroes: Morgan Jaffit

A few weeks ago, we had the huge honor of having Morgan Jaffit pop by Auckland.

Morgan's story of how he survived the collapse of the Aussie game industry and then went on to found Defiant Developer was a massively inspirational one for me.

His most recent game Hand Of Fate is a technical and financially hugely successful game.  What's even more amazing about Morgan is just how down-to-earth he his.  He has an open door policy for other indies who are wanting to create a sustainable business like his, and he has been massively active in the indie dev community over the years.

Morgan spoke at our NZGDA meetup, and also dropped by The Arcade Auckland to give us a talk about how to create a sustainable studio as well as general insights into the industry.

I interviewed him myself, and learned a ton!  The key message I took away was that as indies we need to treat the business as part of a long-term game plan.  It's unrealistic for indies to expect their first game to be a hit and so they need to have at least have the ability to make "two good games".

If they throw everything they have into the single game, and it isn't a hit, then they have no way to recover and create a new one.

This leads to the importance of building a good team.  Morgan's view is that the team is critical.  As the team works together they gain experience collectively.  If a team is sustainable, then over time success is only a matter of "when" not just "if".

Conversely, if a team is unsustainable and falls apart after the first game isn't a hit, all that collective experience is lost.

He gave an example of Infinity Ward who started off with the moderately successful Call of Duty series.  It wasn't until Modern Warfare that they really hit their stride, and the franchise was propelled firmly into a gaming mega-success story.

Massive thanks to Morgan for being a true indie hero!

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