Frozenbyte, the developers behind the Shadowgrounds games, have found a niche in which they’re almost entirely alone. Which is strange, when you consider how very popular the top-down shooter once was. Too many have assumed it a dated concept, replaced by the first and third-person views. But Shadowgrounds nails it, providing non-stop shooting that replaces fiddliness with fun, but still looking awesome. The recent sequel, Survivor, pushed their home grown engine far further, showing off the improved physics and lighting in a game style that could have gotten away without including either. We took the chance to chat with Frozenbyte’s Joel Kinnunen, to discuss working outside of the mainstream, public perception of smaller budget gaming, the role online distribution plays in game development, what’s next for Frozenbyte, and the possibilities of a small-scale indie revolution.
RPS: Many people have asked you whether you were surprised by the success of Shadowgrounds. This always appears as a somewhat tacit insult – as if they can’t believe that a top-down action shooter could possibly have broad appeal today, and are asking you to defend it. Why do you think people are so resistant to “simpler” games?