I'm not in favor of this, personally. Somehow there's still a stigma around indie games, that they're inherently lesser than big-budget productions. I think adding in a dedicated indie category only amplifies that notion, because it could lead to the implication that they can't win the proper awards.
That said, I think one way to give more room to indies would be to add a Debut Game category. It's rare that a developer's first game is going to be good enough to be running for most awards, but most new developers are indies.
But what will not adding a cata do to remove said stigma?. By that logic, indies will have to pull AAA style weight and budgets that they only dream of, in order to kill said stigma, and we both know that will never happen.
This site already holds a great deal of preference for AAA over indie games (going by votes, topic discussion, articles on AAA games etc), so by just letting indies get bogged down further by multiple AAA contenders in each cata, the stigma still remains and they'll never climb out of that pit. This years awards and the ones before it show that indies can only win the odd 1-3 type of awards, but it's usually a AAA game that either gets the most wins or overall GOTY.
No offence to anyone here, but I've been here since 2014, and over the years I've pretty much just ended up seeing what I see on sites like Gamespot and IGN, a site filled with a userbase who like like big shiny things with big budget marketing, meaning there's less desire to see actual innovation and distinctive art in said games (before anyone says, no, not mario or just cell shaded types, there's so much more to art styles than cell shading). I can't remember a time when people here were talking about game AI, or how we're still stuck in 2010 level rubber banding AI, but instead we get far, far more talks on who's got what shiny big exclusive, and how shiny does it look, and well, that's both boring and a regressive way of looking at games going forward.
A debut cata could work, but it'll severely limit who can enter, as we'll have to have staff fact check to see that each contender is actually a first time dev game, and not like an indie dev who's already pubbed 5 tiny games before, making it not really a debut game. You also have to understand that having just a debut section, means that you're only giving a glimmer of light to one single winning dev, to which they'll fade into obsucrity next year or the year after, because they will no longer be able to enter that cata ever again, and they'll simply be lumped in with all those AAA devs next year or the years following, leading back to the same issue I spoke of before.
I say make a separate section just for indies, give them the space they deserve, there's virtually no actual harm being done in making such a section for them. I'm so tired of people fawning over the typical ancient style gameplay mechanics we still find in even the latest AAA games, and this is why I look at indies, because although they have small budgets, they do actually innovate a lot more than AAA's do (We all know a lot of AAA devs love to play it safe, for sales returns, and well, that's shit and regressive by default).
To put my point rather bluntly, do you honestly think a game that lacks so little depth and so little means of interacting with it's world, should win nearly every year, because it just happens to be either an exclusive, or because it's shiny (even both), or a game that's smaller in budget, but allows you to interact with it's world and allows for innovative game mechanics?.
I would likely go for the innovative choice, because it's bringing something new to the table, and I want to be able to interact with the world I play in. A world in which you just get pushed along and spoon fed story is honestly not bringing much to any table, because we've already seen that done before for decades (which we definitely do get a ton of in AAA games, even TLOU II, which also tries to come off like a movie).
Last edited by Chazore - on 17 January 2021