September 28, 2021

Nvidia Showcase: inside the surreal indie adventure Maize

Saying corn, teddy bears and a secret underground research facility are just some of the odd things you’ll encounter at the finish line of the game’s independence, Corn. Providing puzzle-based game back to the origin of the classic adventure title, the game features the kind of bold design of emotional game players look forward to the independent game genre.

NVIDIA chose it as one of the big reasons that the three titles appeared in its GeForce GTX standalone package. Promote the celebration of great independent game developers while also giving players the option to choose GTX graphics quality independent games to enjoy new hardware. Because of its unique charm and fascinating game, Corn is an ideal game to include promotion.

Music To Our Ears

So where does an idea for a game like Maize, with its curious characters and offbeat storyline, even come from? According to Finish Line Games’ CEO Daniel Posner, the original plans called for a far more straightforward title.

“Maize’s ‘kernel’ idea started out as a procedural maze game where living corn would rearrange the maze each time you played through it,” Posner notes. “But once we started building a setting and story arc, the scope grew and evolved organically to what Maize is today.”

As an independent studio, Finish Line Games could easily pivot from their starting idea to the final product that fans are enjoying today. However, total creative freedom can be too much of a good thing, a fact that the team kept firmly in mind.

“As an indie dev, the ability to develop ideas we are passionate about is very important to us,” Posner says. “But we still want to develop games that will resonate with players, so we ensured that Maize featured familiar mechanics amidst its absurd narrative.”

Those ‘familiar mechanics’ include a familiar first-person viewpoint, movement that’s assigned to the W-A-S-D keys, and cleverly designed object puzzles that require you to gather and use different in-game items in inventive ways. Gamers who loved titles like Myst and the recent hit The Witness will be on familiar ground, but Maize’s surreal wit and humor take things in an entirely new direction.

As Smooth As Butter

Nvidia Maize teddy bear

While Maize plays like an indie game, it certainly doesn’t look like one. Built using Unreal Engine 4, the game features stellar visuals that shine. This was another important aspect of NVIDIA’s decision to bundle it with select GTX video cards: the company knew Maize would take full advantage of the hardware.

“We relied heavily on the UE4 lighting system to increase the visual fidelity and immersion in Maize,” says Posner. “We also leveraged the Engine’s Matinee tool for all of our in-game cinematics, which made the workflow very straightforward.”

With a unique charm and top-notch graphics, Maize seemingly has all the qualities necessary for success. But the market is so competitive that it can be difficult to get noticed. This is yet another reason why NVIDIA created the GTX Indie Bundle: to help deserving indie developers get their game out in front of more potential customers.

“As an indie dev, our budgets are limited, so any additional marketing and PR support is very helpful,” Posner says. “NVIDIA has been a great partner throughout Maize development and we appreciate their support and help. The GTX Indie Bundle is a generous program and we are thrilled to be included in it.”

Enter The Maize

Nvidia Maize vault door

Corn has developed an avid follower due to buzz buzz, and its inclusion in the GTX standalone package should help it get more attention. So, the next end game their new found success?

“We want to see corn on as many platforms as possible, so we are exploring these opportunities,” Posner said.

The company is not too ready to discuss their next project, but Posner does have some suggestions to give corn fans the desire to play the next magical adventure of the studio.

The end-line game definitely can be expected soon there will be more fans on their social accounts, as players like corn will no doubt “listen” to whatever the next brilliant studio announced.