Christian game developers have toiled in obscurity for all these years largely because we’re broke and making a video game is an expensive proposition. With little access to capital games have struggled with older technology that doesn’t compete with current expectations and anemic (…or totally absent…) marketing budgets. The two factors make the whole enterprise of building a Christian game a daunting task. The Catch-22 of course is that investors want to see some proven indication that a title has a reasonable chance of making a profit but it’s been next to impossible to prove the point when nobody can make a realistically funded effort. (Left Behind notwithstanding…ahem)

But two recent releases have me smiling about things to come. The first is Heaven The Game (which we reviewed here) and the other is Adam’s Venture. Neither game is what you would really call a AAA title and neither plays on a console which is where most of the gaming market is right now, but neither title could have been cheap to make, and that means somebody is starting invest some serious dollars into this niche I’ve been talking about for years.

Heaven includes some of the coolest sets and 3D models I’ve seen in a long time – truly fantastic stuff that must have required a gob of man-hours to create and render. Adam’s Venture apparently runs on the Unreal 3 engine, not the current $3 gozillion version but still a non-trivial expense.

I’m really excited to see these games come out. Not because they are perfect (full disclosure: I haven’t played Adam’s Venture) but because they are DONE. They are both real, functioning products in the marketplace and show all the indications of products that required significant time and money to complete.  And I’d say they both represent a raised bar in the space that bodes well for everybody in the little room called Christian gaming. As investors start to see a momentum building in this space and a market that demonstrates a willingness to buy products that reflect their values, I expect we’re going to see more and more titles with bigger and bigger budgets – a rising tide lifts all ships.

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6 Comments
  1. Thankfulness is a great attitude to have. And as long as we hold together through Christ as a spiritual community (as opposed to a movement), we will be blessed.

    Here’s a mind-blowing quote from “Life Together”:

    “The existence of any Christian life together depends on whether it succeeds at the right time in bringing out the ability to distinguish between a human ideal and God’s reality, between spiritual and human community.

    “The life or death of a Christian community is determined by whether it achieves sober wisdom on this point as soon as possible. In other words, life together under the Word will remain sound and healthy only where it does not form itself into a movement, an order, a society, a collegium pietatis, but rather where it understands itself as being a part of the one, holy, catholic, Christian Church…”

  2. We’re making history.

  3. That is a rough truth Neil – but I suspect a common one. The reality of unfinished expensive projects though is not unique to Christian gaming. It’s common in most every creative business. The problem is that creativity wont bow to a budget or a timeline and if a content creator gets 80% done with a game, a movie, or a book but it just isn’t quite there, the money people often lack the motivation to see the last few steps through.

    Not to say I blame them, the economics are real and need to be accounted for too and a blank check is just bad business. Most creative endeavors need a stick to go with the carrot…

  4. I’m a Christian game developer and I TOO am excited by the quality of these newer offerings. “Raising the Bar,” however, is expensive in such a limited market, and when developers make such high-end choices, they often can’t afford to complete their projects, or are so broke after the first one they never make a second. Catch-22 indeed.

  5. Spot on John. The broader implication of increased investment is the real news…and fits nicely with Soma’s long-range goals of acting more in a publishing role to help other broke indies make that step up to less-broke indies.

  6. While I’m excited about the possibilities of a relatively cheap development platform with a broad audience (like the iPhone/iTouch), heavier investment in the Christian gaming market is by far more exciting. Not only does it mean resources will be easier to come by, but it adds an air of legitimacy that has to date been missing. I think as more resources find their way to more developers (or even just one or two quality devs), we’ll see the general opinion of Christian games rise as well. It becomes an ever growing cycle – hopefully one that will mirror the market growth of Christian music.

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