For those that make it big, the Minecrafts, The No Man’s Sky’s and the Celeste’s, a quick look through Steam shows hundreds and thousands of games that for right or wrong, nobody has ever heard of. We Are Alright, a new documentary by Polish filmmaker Borys Nieśpielak, is a new warts-and-all documentary about the innards and at times the rather nasty realities of indie game development.
So tell us, have you head of Lichtspeer? No? Well that’s pretty much the point nailed there front and centre.
We Are Alright takes a back seat drive into the world of Bartek Pieczonka and Rafał Zaremba in the months leading up to the launch of their spear-throwing indie game Lichtspeer, as they try to get to grips with the joys of the PlayStation certification, the wearying grind of bug-fixing crunch, and the all too realistic view point that in regards to their game, ‘what if no one cares?’.
At times, We Are Alright is properly dark. It highlights the stress and the strains associated with indie game development whereby those with an unshakable vision put relationships and other people’s hard worked cash on the line for what in truth comes down to a huge dosage of faith and empathy in their creations.
Along the way they offer deep and meaningful insights into the reality of indie game development. The overwhelming physical and psychological aspects of releasing a game on Steam among so many hundreds and thousands of others on a platform swamped with asset flippers and general detritus.
We get to see the team go though the the necessary ball ache of the media chase for clicks and views on well known websites (oh we can but dream) and in dealings with streamers and YouTubers who can make or break a game with a passing comment or wry glance to the camera.
We Are Alright at times feels down right lo-fi and yet that’s in keeping with its aims and the story it’s seeking to tell. It’s enjoyable watch if at times a scary viewpoint into the working practices of an industry that’s as fickle as those who demand so much from it.