Former Call of Duty, Tomb Raider developers announce horror Daedelus, talk going indie

Ian Birnbaum at

Big names from the studios that created Call of Duty, Spec Ops: The Line, and Tomb Raider stand behind Daedelus, a new indie horror title being developed by a team called Tangentlemen. The full reveal of the game’s core mechanics and screens will come later, but for now, the devs are opening up about why they decided to “jump ship” and go into indie games.

“From my perspective, many of the most experienced and motivated developers in the industry are jumping the AAA ship and swimming to indie life rafts," Cory Davis, Daedelus lead designer and designer for Spec Ops: The Line, told Gamespot. "There are tons of great recent examples of talented, creative people leaving larger teams and having success on their own–such as Supergiant Games' Bastion or Fullbright Company's Gone Home.”

Richard Smith was a senior artist at Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward and contributed art for Titanfall. "I was finding the structure of making big games to be too rigid and restrictive," he says. "There seems to be a problem with chasing after photorealism—it makes everything else about the game very myopic. By moving into an illustrative space, the look of the game can become a voice in its overall intent, rather than a limitation to that intent. It's indie games that understand this, and because of that, it's indie games that are really progressing the art form of game making."

Learning the ropes at well-funded, (mostly) stable, creatively restrictive studios before striking out for independent success is becoming a well-worn path in games design. We’ve heard similar stories from the developers of Banished, The Long Dark, and Betrayer. As indie development and distribution gets easier and big-budget games more restrictive and risk-averse, it’s a safe bet that we’ll continue seeing this kind of migration. It’s a safe bet that big-budget studios will continue to exist, but in what form? What will a big studio look like when the most creative, well-established designers set out on their own?

For indie games, the renaissance is taking place in spaces familiar to struggling bands, inventors, and tinkerers: the garage. "It's an awesome experience to be in our own new space, even if that space has heating, electricity, and claustrophobia issues," Davis said. "It's a reminder that we're not only free to make great games, but that it's our responsibility at this point. Every aspect of the game will be hand-crafted, just like a piece of furniture, in our development garage."

Check out the full interview at Gamespot for more comments from the group. We’ll hope to hear more about Daedelus in the coming weeks