The next game on my list, From Dust, is not an indie game. It is published by Ubisoft, one of the largest game publishers. But it is made by Eric Chahi, the same man who made the striking Another World, and marks his first game since 1998. And its premise sounds like something that only an indie studio would attempt: a game centered around deformable terrain, with realistic water and lava physics, that sees the player morphing the landscape in order to guide tiny tribal villagers to safety. Re-routing rivers, stemming lava flows by building mounds of earth, and more, all made possible by the terrain-deforming tech.
Unfortunately, Ubisoft’s involvement caused a lot of outcry when From Dust was released for PC, several weeks after its Xbox debut. After Ubisfot stated that the game would not feature their infamous form of DRM (that’s “digital rights management”, a new term that really just means copy protection) that requires players to be online at all times and will kick them out of the game if their connection is interrupted, From Dust launched on Steam and did indeed feature said DRM. Disgruntled customers complained loudly, and Steam even issued refunds, which is almost unheard of. Eventually the DRM was removed with a patch, and I was able to purchase the game and try it out.