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Hey PlayStation, where’d the indies go?

From an eight-game indie slate in 2013 to ... basically nothing on the big stage at E3

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

This year, with all the sales momentum in the world behind them, Sony took the E3 stage to show fans the future of the PlayStation 4 platform. There were more AAA franchise titles on display than ever before, with huge reveals of remakes of fan favorites, but one thing was missing.

Did you see many indie games? Because I didn’t.

As team Polygon settled in to cover the event remotely, we got sideswiped by a few big announcements in the pre-show. Among them was news that cult hit role-playing game Undertale was coming to the PS4 and PS Vita.

But why were they pitching the popular indie game before the show even started? The game deserved more attention. The room here went completely nuts, as did all of our individual social media feeds, because people love Undertale. So why not give it a more prominent place in the show?

Sony usually loves indie games, and the company tends to give them a good amount of attention during it’s E3 presentations. Remember 2013? Eight indie developers standing shoulder to shoulder on a massively wide stage, each of them playing their game live in front of a global audience. Along with the lower price point, many saw indie games as the feature that sold them on the PS4.

PS4 indie
Eight indie devs took the stage in 2013 to help launch the PlayStation 4.

But for this year’s presentation, which was absolutely bursting with big games, indie titles were conspicuous in their absence. It will be interesting to see if they even have a presence inside the Sony booth this year on the E3 show floor.

The weird, surprising indie games we usually see during Sony’s presentation were largely missing, although games like Moss were welcome additions to the show.

I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. And I bet a lot of hard-working indie developers are too.