Russ Pitts, Flying Saucer LLC Launch Stage of Development Kickstarter

Russ Pitts, Flying Saucer LLC Launch Stage of Development Kickstarter

Our goal at IndieHangover is, in it’s simplest form, to tell the stories of Independent Game Developers. We find them interesting, inspiring and entertaining, and we think that means that they’re worth telling. For us, that takes the form of interviews, reviews, postmortems, and developer insight alongside the everyday news.

We’re not the only ones doing this though, and any time another group of people makes it a point to tell the story of Indie Developers, we find it inspirational, and want to spread the word.

Russ Pitts, one of the Co-Founders of Polygon, now heads Flying Saucer Media, and is currently Kickstarting a documentary film project titled “Stage of Development: Inner City Edition”, the goal of which is to tell the stories of four independent game developers in Chicago. This is an ambitious project, but if you ask us, it’s an important one that can only help foster the Independent Game Development community and enrich the appreciation so many have of Indie games.


Stage of Development will focus on the indie teams behind Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Manifold Garden, We Are Chicago, and Organ Trail, at least at the start of things. The team won’t shy away from telling other stories as they meet developers and hear their tales. The Kickstarter is set to fund at least four, 10 to 20 minute short documentaries, but there could easily be more if funding and interest allows it.

One of the most inspirational parts of the Kickstarter is the answer to the question of “Why?” that Pitts offers:

Some people look at video games and see a number: a score, or an amount of hours. Other people see pixels, triangles, colors. Still others see violence, fear.

When I look at video games I see people. I see the people who made them. I see the people who marketed and packaged them. I see the person who had an idea one day about how to entertain or share an idea through a video game. And that makes me want to learn everything I can about those people, and share their stories with the world.

We can’t help but feel like he took the words right out of our mouth, and if it seems like we’re fawning a bit it’s because we are: seeing people carrying the same banner as you, a banner representing a cause you feel so strongly about, can be a very inspirational thing.

Wes Platt, lead developer of Prologue Games, recently interviewed Russ Pitts to ask him about this project, and one of his answers really reflects something we’ve struggled with here:

Q: Why does it fall to someone like you to invest their time/money in this kind of coverage? Why do you suppose major games media sites aren’t already doing this for their audience?

A: I mean, I’ve done it with a major games site, so I feel like I have a clear perception of why they’re reluctant to do it. Over the course of my career, every time I’ve wanted to take a video crew out to do a long, detailed piece on a game team it’s been an argument about how long it would take, how much it would cost, and how many other things those people could be doing instead of working on my project. When you’re deep into a “every pageview matters” business model, you have no choice but to slide your editorial direction towards creating only content that will efficiently spike the pageview needle. It’s not even about ideals, really. You literally have no choice but to slash content that radically opposes a high pageview-to-cost model. So even when you start a thing with good intentions of doing quality over quantity, if you’re tied to the ad-driven content model (which all websites currently are) you’re going to eventually focus on quantity over quality. And that’s … basically the opposite of what I do.

At the time of publication, the Kickstarter for Stage of Development has raised $8,390 of its $42,891 goal, with 23 days left in its funding period. If you feel strongly at all about independent development, or supporting the teams behind the indie games you love, we encourage you to consider backing this project. We are.

*Disclaimer: IndieHangover has backed the Kickstarter project discussed in this article as of 8/11/16.  All opinions are our own, and the objectivity of this piece may be influenced by our own biases as stated in the article or in this disclaimer.*

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Editor-in-Chief of With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.

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