Standing out from the indie crowd has become progressively more difficult, simply because so many studios — and games — exist these days. One thing that's going to make it easier to get noticed is to have a game that's, well, noticeable and for Frozen Endzone developer Mode 7, one of the best ways to do that is to make sure people think your game is stupid.
If you haven't heard of Frozen Endzone before, it's a sort-of sequel to Mode 7's Frozen Synapse. Both games employ a "we go"-style of gameplay, where each player sets up their moves like a traditional turn-based game, but the actions of both are played out at the same time. While Synapse is a shooter, Endzone is very loosely based on gridiron. Except it has robots. And completely different rules. So yes, loosely.
A game about mechanical men playing pseudo-gridiron might sound like a strange idea to a lot of people, but for Mode 7's Ian Hardingham, that's exactly what the studio wants you to think. In an interview with IndieGames, Hardingham answers a question on if the studio intentionally makes "unique" games, covering why the more bizarre its ideas seem, the better.
As a studio, do you purposely aim to make unique games? The simple answer is probably yes. It's not a case of just wanting to do something different for different sake — but why am I making indie games if I just want to make something that's the same as everything else?
So I really just set out to make games that I wanted. I'm just not interested in making games unless they are original. I mean, to be a successful indie, you have to stand out. A lot of people when we first announced Frozen Endzone said, "That's a bit of a crazy idea, that's not going to work." And that just made us happy, because as long as everyone thinks we're doing something stupid, they're not going to do the same thing.
The logic is certainly solid, though I think Endzone looks awesome. But then, I'm partial to anything with robots that bears any resemblance to Bloodbowl (or Speedball).