NOTE: Welcome to the debut episode of The Indie Initiative. This new series the aim is to bring you an overview of different indie games, their studios and the people behind them. The first episode features Refactor Games. If you want to be a part of The Indie Initiative, please do fill out this form.
Nathan Burba has had a goal for years to bring excitement and play back to gaming. The CEO and co-founder of Refactor Games has been in the business for over ten years and has seen many changes.
“There’s just something missing [in the regular game space],” he said. “You have this one juggernaut game that you either play or you don’t. And then you’re done, there’s nothing else.”
After years of working exclusively in virtual reality, Burba helped launch Refactor Games in January 2022 with the goal of bringing unique and accessible games to all types of gamers. So far, the studio has released one game for early access: Soccer simulator
Football Simulator aims to recreate the joy that people experienced playing older football titles. But it does so in a way that helps it stand out from the crowd of sports video games.
“This is a long throwback to the old NFL 2K-style football game, but with an added element of physics,” says Burba. “It’s kind of like taking NFL 2K, updating the game and making it the best version of a game like this, and then adding the Gang Beasts aspect to it.”
The game features an RPG-style season mode where players control their team’s coach in an open world. You can walk around, interact with different areas, find and find upgrades like new plays, and work to become the best coach in the league with the best team.
And while it’s now the only one, Football Simulator isn’t the only project Refactor Games has in the works. The studio is actively working on two other titles: Journeyman – which is available for wishlist On Steam – and Battleground Mars.
“With Journeyman, it’s basically WoW [World of Warcraft] meets Dark Souls,” explains Burba. “I want to have that WoW experience where I have a character; I have different classes, but I want it to be really compelling real-time combat.”
Burba says finding common ground between these two inspirations has been key to the game’s development. He says that with Journeyman, he doesn’t want the game to feel like a grind like WoW. He wants players to be able to just jump into the game with friends, play a bit, level up and come back later.
“I have children and little time,” she said. “I want to go back to that experience of jumping in, doing it and jumping out.”
The studio’s last game currently in development is Battleground Mars. Battleground Mars is an action shooter where players take control of clones of billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who are fighting for control of the red planet.
When released, the game will feature an immersive story and 100-player online multiplayer.
Burba’s passion shines through in a nearly 30-minute conversation about The Indie Initiative, which you can watch and listen to above. To support Refactor Games, Insider Gaming is buying and donating copies of Football Simulator.
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