PS3 Attitude’s Top 100 Developers – Part 1
Believe it or not, the PlayStation 3 was released nearly four years ago, and since then the console has been graced with hundreds of great titles. Therefore, we at PS3 Attitude thought we’d take some time to pay tribute to the people who create the games that make our mundane lives just that little bit more entertaining: the developers.
Over the next ten weeks we’ll be revealing our one hundred favourite developers, and believe us when we say that there are some incredibly talented teams included. Below are the first ten developers in our mammoth list, and we’ll be revealing the rest in the weeks to come. We’ll be giving our opinions on all one hundred development teams and their biggest games, and generally discussing why we think they’re so awesome.
Please note that the list is in alphabetical order, so don’t worry if it looks like we’ve missed off your favourite developer, because the chances are that it will appear in a future article.
2K Marin/Irrational Games – United States of America/Australia – Whoelse
2K Marin started as part of Irrational Games when it was founded in 1997. Since this time Take Two purchased them and they now go under the arm of 2K Games. Eventually 2K Marin, while still part of the same company, spun off from Irrational Games who in turn became 2K Boston; before eventually going back to their original name again, just to confuse everyone.
You’ll know them for their work on the two BioShock games. The series had a rocky start on the PlayStation 3 as, thanks to an exclusivity deal, it took over a year for the first BioShock to finally release on the platform. Despite its problematic release on the PS3, BioShock remains one of the best games of this generation thanks to its fantastic originality that separates it from other generic first-person shooters.
This year 2K Marin brought us a sequel, that despite the first game’s uniqueness, had very little different to its older brother, with the exception of the new multiplayer mode. However, we still love the series and look forward to Irrational Games’ recently announced title, BioShock: Infinite.
2K Czech – Czech Republic – Echo307
2K Czech has been around since 1997 when they were known as Illusion Softworks. Ever since their conception they’ve been known for producing mainly shooters. Their first was a game titled Hidden and Dangerous but they went on to create a long running Vietnam shooter called Vietcong.
Most recently, 2K Czech has been known for the Mafia series. With Mafia II just around the corner, 2K has a chance to firmly entrench themselves on the video game map. With its historically pleasing setting and open world design, Mafia II looks to be quite the crowd pleaser.
Recently, we got some hands on time with their newest offering and we can vouch that this developer knows what it’s doing with this franchise. The great atmosphere, solid gunplay and outstanding voice acting are just a few of the things that have us excited about both Mafia II as a game, and the future of 2K Czech as a developer.
Arc System Works – Japan
Arc System Works has a history of over 20 years, but is most famous for creating the fast-paced 2D fighting series Guilty Gear on the original PlayStation. The series has spawned many sequels, most of which were released for PS2, but the series has not made it onto Sony’s latest console.
Instead, the Japanese team created a new 2D fighting series, BlazBlue. Both Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift have been ported to PS3 with new features that were not present in their Arcade counterparts, including a fantastic online component. We just hope the next BlazBlue game can have a simultaneous worldwide release date!
Avalanche Studios – Sweden – Echo307
The Stockholm-based Avalanche Studios is one of the newer development teams in the video-game industry. Founded just 7 years ago, they’ve already managed to put themselves in a warm corner of our hearts with their most recent release, Just Cause 2. Prior to that they released the original Just Cause and a little-known PC game called The Hunted.
Just Cause 2 is an open world sandbox-style game that takes you out of the usual cityscape you’re used to. Instead, you’re placed on an island where lush forests, tall mountains and rolling hills are the theme. As well as being in a unique setting, you also get some unique tools to play with, like the grappling hook and parachute.
While the difficulty of latter parts of the game might be a turn off, we found the challenge to be a refreshing change. The grappling hook quickly became our new best friend and we were sending enemies skyward strapped to propane tanks in no time. We also found the overall size of the island to be extremely impressive. In the end, Just Cause 2 was just the kind of game we were looking for from Avalanche and we can’t wait to see what they’re working on next.
Beenox – Canada
In the mid-2000s Beenox almost exclusively ported various games (mainly movie tie-ins) to PC and Mac OS, but since 2006 the team has worked on their own projects. The developer had a pretty slow start on PS3, with its first two releases being the movie tie-in, Monsters vs. Aliens, and the music spinoff game, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.
However, it’s the studio’s upcoming release that has us excited. The biggest hook of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is that the player controls four versions of Spider-Man, one for each of the ‘dimensions’ in the game, all of which are based on a different universe in the Marvel multiverse. It sounds a bit weird when explained like that, but trust us when we say it’s looking great.
Bethesda Game Studios – United States of America
The team at Bethesda are the undisputed masters of the role playing genre. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s the company was mainly a PC developer, but thankfully in recent years it has also turned its attention to consoles.
In March 2007, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion finally appeared on PlayStation 3, exactly a year after it was released for PC and Xbox 360. Despite the delay, Oblivion quickly became the highest rated game (at the time) on PS3, with critics praising its epic story, varied gameplay, and the vastness of the game world.
A year and a half later Bethesda released Fallout 3, after acquiring the series’ license from Interplay Entertainment. We loved the game’s gunplay, art style, and past-meets-future atmosphere, but we do hope that Bethesda’s next game isn’t so glitchy!
BioWare – Canada
BioWare’s first release on PlayStation 3 was as recent as November 2009, and came in the form of the epic Dragon Age: Origins. Unlike many other medieval role-playing games, Dragon Age focuses just as much on character development as it does on combat, to the extent that the player spends more time talking with other characters than they do fighting enemies.
Despite its somewhat slow pace, overall Dragon Age: Origins is still an incredible journey across the land of Ferelden, and its emphasis on choice makes for some unbelievable moments, and we can’t wait until Dragon Age II is released in March 2011.
However, there’s a certain other game from BioWare that we’re looking forward to even more: Mass Effect 2. It’s been one of the highest rated games ever on PC and Xbox 360, and it was announced at Gamescom that it is finally coming to PS3 in January. We couldn’t be more excited!
Bizarre Creations – United Kingdom
Bizarre Creations is the first of several Liverpool-based developers on this list. The team first rose to prominence for creating Geometry Wars and Project Gotham Racing on the Xbox. Despite this success, they, like many other developers on this list, only had a lukewarm start on the PS3, with the third person shooter, The Club. However, this changed with their latest release, Blur.
By fusing aspects of arcade and kart racing, Bizarre created something genuinely unique and brilliantly addictive, with a fantastic multiplayer component that many critics have hailed as the Modern Warfare of racing. The team was also recently revealed to be working on the next James Bond game, Blood Stone, so we hope it matches Blur’s level of action.
Black Rock Studio – United Kingdom
When it comes to racing games, Brighton-based Black Rock Studio is quickly becoming the team to beat. In fact, the company (which was formerly known as Climax Racing before it was acquired by Disney) has never released a non-racing game on any platform. The developer’s first game on PS3 was the underrated ATV-racer Pure, which brought massive tricks and bigger vistas to the console.
Their second and most recent release was the Burnout-inspired Split/Second, which set a new standard for destruction in driving games; the bigger Power Plays have to be seen to be believed. The team are currently hard at work on DLC that will hopefully give an explanation to the game’s cliff-hanger ending.
Blue Castle Games – Canada
The third Canadian developer on our list is also one of the newest, as it was only founded five years ago, by three people. Since then, Blue Castle Games has grown to a team of 170, and has already gathered a large fan base due to their over-the-top arcade baseball series, The Bigs. Thankfully, their next game, Dead Rising 2, looks to be just as entertaining.
The title is being co-developed and published by Capcom, the creators of the original Dead Rising. In DR2, the player controls Chuck Greene, who spends his time battling zombies in the Las Vegas-inspired Fortune City, with makeshift weapons made out of literally anything he can get his hands on. The player is rewarded for creativity, so you’ll need your thinking caps on if you want to get the most out of the game.
And that was our first ten developers! Be sure to check back every Monday for the next nine weeks when we’ll be revealing the remaining 90 developers in our Top 100.