Documenting indie video game developers has been an interesting experiment ever since 2012's hit Indie Game: The Movie. We Are Alright is a new documentary that follows the development of Lichthund's Lichtspeer so let's see if it's worth checking out.
Before I share my opinion about this film, I should mention that I reviewed Lichtspeer and didn't quite like it. In fact, I gave it the lowest score on Metacritic as of writing this. That being said, I have nothing against the folks who made it and actually thought it would be interesting to watch them develop the game. So, I decided to watch We Are Alright: A Gamedev Movie and I'm glad that I did.
For starters, the movie is in Polish with English subtitles so prepare to focus and read if you don't understand the language. The documentary was filmed by Borys Niespielak and scenes jump between Berlin and Warsaw where developers Rafal Zaremba and Bartek Pieczonka work both on their own and take trains to meet up from time to time.
We Are Alright specifically documents the final few months leading up to Lichtspeer's release on Steam and PlayStation 4 which I found to be rather disappointing because I would have loved to see more about the actual game's development as opposed to the stress and drama of dealing with last minute bugs and trying to get the game noticed by press and online personalities.
The entire film clocks in at just over an hour and a lot of that time is spent focusing on how each of the developers deals with the stress of releasing their game. Bartek seems like a hopeful realist in that he openly admits that he's pessimistic about his success yet anyone can clearly see that he wishes to have a fruitful launch. At the same time, Rafal comes across as more stressed out as he's quick to put his foot down when he sees his peers slacking off or not working on the tasks that he deems important. Meanwhile, Tom from Crunching Koalas (who helped with the console version's development) always seems super-chill and collected. Throughout the scenes depicting how each individual deals with the stress, we get the odd moment of wisdom which makes the whole situation relatable.
Speaking of relatable, I saw myself a lot in these guys while watching the film. I've dedicated the past four years of my life to running this site and there have been plenty of ups and downs. I don't want to ruin the ending of We Are Alright but I will say that it's humbling. You can put all of your time and effort into creating something that you love and it might not work out as well as you hoped but once you learn from your mistakes and realise that becoming the next big thing is mainly just a roll of the dice, it's time to appreciate what you created even if many others are unaware that you even exist. If only a few folks enjoy what you create, it makes it all worth it.
We Are Alright: A Gamedev Movie is a simple documentary about releasing a game. If you're looking for a film that documents the making of a game then this likely won't be for you. However, if you find the concept of a group of developers struggling with the stresses of releasing a game appealing then you'll be glad that you watched this. Have you seen We Are Alright? Let's chat about it below.
If you're interested, We Are Alright can be purchased on Steam here.