NOTE: Welcome to the debut episode of The Indie Initiative. This new series aims to bring you a look into various 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 fill out this form.
Nathan Burba has had a goal for years to bring pick-up and play back to gaming. The CEO and co-founder of Refactor Games has been in the industry for over a decade and has seen a number of changes.
“There’s something that’s just missing [in the regular game space],” he said. “You have this one juggernaut game that’s there that you either play or don’t play. And then you’re done, there’s nothing else.”
After working solely in the virtual reality gaming space for years, Burba helped launch Refactor Games in January 2022 with the goal of bringing unique and accessible games to players of all types. So far, the studio has launched one game in early access: Football Simulator
Football Simulator is about recreating the joy that people had when playing older football titles. But it’s doing so in a way that helps it stand out from the crowded space of sports video games.
“This is very much a throwback to the old NFL 2K-style football games but with the added physics element,” Burba says. “It’s kind of like take NFL 2K, update the gameplay, and kind of make it the best version of that kind of gameplay, and then add the Gang Beasts aspect to it.”
The game features an RPG-like season mode that sees players control the coach of their team in an open world. You’ll walk around, interact with various areas, find and discover upgrades like new plays, and work to become the best coach in the league with the best team.
And though it’s the only one out now, Football Simulator isn’t the only project Refactor Games has in the pipeline. The studio is actively working on two other titles: Journeyman – which is available to wishlist on Steam – and Battleground Mars.
“With Journeyman, it’s basically WoW [World of Warcraft] meets Dark Souls,” Burba explains. “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 that finding a common ground between the two inspirations has been key to the development of the game. He says that with Journeyman, he doesn’t want the game to feel grinding like WoW. He wants players to be able to just jump into the game with friends, play for a little bit, level up, and then come back later.”
“I have kids and a minimal amount of time,” he said. “I want to get back to that experience of hop in, do it, and hop out.”
The last game the studio has in development at the moment is Battleground Mars. An action shooter, Battleground Mars sees players take control of clones of billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who are fighting for control on the red planet.
When it launches, the game will feature a story to experience as well as 100-player online multiplayer.
Burba’s passion shines in the nearly 30-minute conversation on The Indie Initiative, which you can watch and listen to above. To support Refactor Games, Insider Gaming is purchasing and giving away copies of Football Simulator.