This rebranding represents Dear Villagers’ shift more heavily into console and PC games. It wants to bring indie releases and what it calls “double-A games” to market from a variety of studios. To act on that plan, it has raised $2.28 million (€2 million). French investment firm Inter Invest Capital was responsible for the entirety of the funding round.
“With Playdius we built a very eclectic line-up from mainstream narrative games on mobile to hardcore RPGs on PC and console,” Dear Villagers head of publishing Guillaume Jamet said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished but we also think our message wasn’t clear enough. As our company grows, we decided to roll out a new ambitious publishing strategy based on a strong new brand, that clearly identifies us as a provider of mid to hardcore games on PC and console.”
Dear Villagers plans to reveal its lineup of games next week. That includes multiple new titles, and the odds are that one of them is a Metroidvania. Additionally, the publisher has plans to release new free content for its role-playing adventure Edge of Eternity. It also is planning a free weekend for its sci-fi parkour game Hover.
Indie publishers need to tell a story
As Jamet said, Playdius’s messaging wasn’t clear up to this point. And that’s something that other successful indie publishing outfits have excelled at. I know a Devolver Digital game is probably going to have a punk-rock style and some violence, for example.
Dear Villagers wants to get to a point where you understand what it means when it publishes a game. And that’s important because it’s competing in a crowded space.
While the video game industry is thriving, a lot of that comes down to the rich getting richer. The biggest games, like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, are selling at record pace. This has created a market where mid-sized games are no longer finding an audience to justify their cost. At least at traditional publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision.
Now, smaller companies like Devolver or Raw Fury are starting to bubble up to fill that void. But it’s not as simple as finding and distributing good games. An indie publisher needs to operate much more like a small music label.
Your average hip hop fan know what Death Row and Def Jam are. Devolver Digital is getting to that level with hardcore gamers. Dear Villagers wants to take that path as well.
“Dear Villagers is a warm hearted invitation to join us in the little unusual neighborhood we are building within the gaming industry,” said Jamet. “A place where talented studios can unleash their creativity and where players enjoy distinctive and audacious games.”