PS3 Attitude’s Top 100 Developers – Part 6
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 few weeks we’ll be revealing our one hundred favourite developers, and believe us when we say that there are some incredibly talented teams included. We’ve now revealed fifty developers in our mammoth list, and today we’re revealing ten more.
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 (or has already been featured in a previous article).
NetherRealm Studios – United States of America
NetherRealm Studios is located in Chicago, and has only been known as such since earlier this year, following the regrettable bankruptcy of Midway Games in 2009. The developer has created a number of games for several consoles, including the third-person-shooter Stranglehold for the PlayStation 3.
However, the team’s spot on this list is mainly due to the upcoming reboot of Midway’s own Mortal Kombat that releases next year. NetherRealm promises the most gruesome fatalities ever, and it will even be one of the first third-party PS3 games to be fully playable in 3D (which will no doubt be appreciated by the eight people in the world with 3D televisions).
Neversoft Entertainment – United States of America
The Californian-based Neversoft Entertainment was founded in 1994, and since then the team has released every single one of its games on a PlayStation console. The company was acquired by Activision in 1999 with the success of the first Tony Hawk skateboarding game, and went on to develop a further eight games in the series. More recently, Neversoft has developed a total of seven games in the Guitar Hero franchise, after the IP was purchased by Activision in 2006.
Whilst some may argue the series has become stale in recent years, improvements have been made in every game, and culminated in the very recently released Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, which has an awesome soundtrack and enough challenges to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, what’s next for the company is still somewhat up in the air, due to Activision’s dissolution of Red Octane and Neversoft’s Guitar Hero team, so we wish them all the best for the future.
Ninja Theory – United Kingdom
Ninja Theory was founded in 2000 as Just Add Monsters before changing their name four years later. Their first major release as Ninja Theory was the underrated PS3-exclusive action-adventure game, Heavenly Sword. At the time of its launch in September 2007 it was easily the best-looking game on the console, and also boasted a simple-yet-fun combat system with an interesting story that featured characters actually worth caring about.
The team’s next release, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, comes out next week and looks to be every bit as epic as their previous title. The game is based on a classic Chinese novel and retains Heavenly Sword’s hack and slash combat, but adds Uncharted-esque platforming. Further comparisons with Naughty Dog’s behemoth can be made regarding the setting and art style, which abandons the usual browns and greys in favour of a much brighter and more interesting colour palette.
It was also recently announced at the Tokyo Game Show that the developer is currently working on the next Devil May Cry game, finally clarifying the many ongoing rumours. Simply titled DmC, the game is a complete reboot of the series, and features a brand new (and much more mental) Dante. Not much is known about the game at this stage, but it’s safe to say the franchise is in safe hands.
Nippon Ichi Software – Japan
The Japanese developer Nippon Ichi Software was established in 1991, and has created a number of games since then, most of which have been exclusive to PlayStation consoles. The franchise they are perhaps most famous for is the Disgaea series of tactical role-playing games, which are known for their unusual battle system, cartoonish art style, and sense of humour.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice was released in 2008 exclusively for the PlayStation 3, and was Nippon Ichi’s first title on the console. At its launch, the game was only moderately well-received by critics, but has since developed something of a cult following among fans. Disgaea 4 is scheduled to come out in Japan in February, and we eagerly await its release over here.
Obsidian Entertainment – United States of America
Obsidian has been around since 2003, founded by former members of Black Isle Studios following its closure. Like a lot of other studios on this list, they started out developing games for PC, but have turned their attention to consoles in the last few years. Unfortunately their first effort on PlayStation 3, Alpha Protocol, was disappointing, but don’t worry because they have a couple of great-looking games on the horizon.
As Black Isle Studios was the original creator of the Fallout series, we’re looking forward to playing Fallout: New Vegas next month. On the surface it looks a lot like the Bethesda-developed Fallout 3, but we’d argue that isn’t a bad thing. Coming up next year is also the action role-playing-game Dungeon Siege III, and an as yet unannounced project that certainly has us intrigued.
People Can Fly – Poland
People Can Fly was founded in Warsaw, Poland in 2002, and was acquired by Epic Games five years later. Compared to most videogame companies, People Can Fly is relatively small, and consists of only twenty permanent members of staff. The team is yet to release a game for the PlayStation 3, but we’re very much looking forward to their upcoming release: Bulletstorm.
The last thing we need is another generic first-person-shooter, so it’s a good job that Bulletstorm is far from generic; players are encouraged to kill enemies in the most creative and unusual ways they can think of in order to get the most experience points. The over-the-top arcade-style gameplay is a refreshing change for an FPS, and we can’t wait for its release early next year.
PlatinumGames – Japan – Danny_D
Imagine putting together the key people behind franchises like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Dino Crisis, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and God Hand into one team. Imagine if these key people also brought in their own key people to help them create even more games. Could this be possible? If so, what would they come up with?
Imagine no more; PlatinumGames is the creative force behind MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta and the upcoming Vanquish. Needless to say, expectations are very high for these developers and they seem to know it. When your name has the word ‘platinum’ in it you better be good, but these developers are not good; they’re very, very good.
Their first two games were not for the PlayStation 3 (hell, we wouldn’t even let them port one of them if it were up to us), but the other two most definitely are. Judging by their excellent work in Bayonetta we have nothing but great hopes not only for Vanquish, but for whatever this highly creative team can come up with in the future.
Polyphony Digital – Japan
If there was ever a developer that strived for perfection in every game it makes then it’s Polyphony Digital. The studio was founded in 1998 by Kazunori Yamauchi, and is a subsidiary of Sony. Although they have developed a handful of other games, their most popular franchise (by far!) is Gran Turismo. The racing simulation series has gone hand in hand with PlayStation consoles since the first game’s release in 1997, and has sold over fifty-six million copies, making it the best-selling racing game franchise of all time.
Back in 2008, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue gave us a tiny slice of Gran Turismo 5, and since then fans have been driving themselves crazy (do you see what we did there?) waiting for a release date for the full game. At E3 in June, Sony finally revealed that GT5 would be making its way to stores worldwide in early November, and we couldn’t be more excited if we tried. With incredible 1080p graphics, seventy tracks, and a thousand cars, it truly will be the real driving simulator.
PopCap Games – United States of America
PopCap Games are the undisputed masters of the puzzle genre, and in the ten years since its foundation, the Seattle-based team has created some of the most addictive games ever, across a large variety of platforms. A number of these titles have made it to the PlayStation Network, including Bejeweled 2, Feeding Frenzy 2, Peggle, and Zuma.
Bejeweled is one of the most successful downloadable-only games ever, and was responsible for popularising the match-3 sub-genre, and we’re yet to meet anyone who hasn’t become hopelessly addicted to the pinball-like Peggle. We therefore look forward to seeing which will be the next titles PopCap brings to the PlayStation 3.
Q Entertainment – Japan
Q Entertainment was founded in 2003, and is one of the many Tokyo-based developers on this list. The team is known mainly for the incredibly addictive puzzle series, Lumines (pronounced loom-in-ez), which mixed gameplay, light and sound in a truly unique and interesting way. The series originated on the PlayStation Portable in 2004, and finally found its way to the PlayStation 3 last year as Lumines Supernova.
The next title to be released by the studio will be the rhythm action game Child of Eden, the spiritual successor of Rez. Child of Eden was conceptualised by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and looks to be even more seizure-inducing than the developer’s previous efforts (which is a good thing). Q Entertainment has also been working with American developer, Harmonix, on a Japanese-exclusive version of Rock Band, which will be specially designed for the Japanese market.
Now we’re past the half-way point! As always, be sure to check back every Monday, when we’ll be revealing the rest of our epic Top 100 Developers list.