PS3 Attitude’s Top 100 Developers – Part 7
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 sixty 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).
Q-Games – Japan – Echo307
Q-Games, located in Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan, has been around since just after 2000 and has worked on a wide range of products for all three major console manufacturers. Aside from the games that everyone knows them for, they’ve also worked on some very obscure projects, like tech demos for the PlayStation 2 and part of the XMB interface on the PlayStation 3.
While none of the work Q-Games has done is anything to turn your nose up to, the project we know them for the best is the PixelJunk series. Early titles such as PixelJunk Racers and PixelJunk Monsters were classics that are still played today, due to the developer’s fantastic support of them. As the diverse series of games progressed, we saw the release of even more popular titles such as PixelJunk Eden.
Most recently, Q-Games has developed PixelJunk Shooter – what we believe to be one of the greatest exclusive titles on the PlayStation Network. Not long from now, they’ll be following Shooter up with the first proper sequel in the PixelJunk series, PixelJunk Shooter 2. Adding Q-Games to this list was an easy decision; their quirky yet massively appealing games have provided some of the greatest gaming moments we’ve ever had with PSN titles.
Quantic Dream – France
The Paris-based Quantic Dream was founded by David Cage in 1997. Their first game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul was released for PC in 1999; a PlayStation version was planned, but was cancelled due to the title’s disappointing reception. Therefore, the studio’s first release on a PlayStation console was 2005’s Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in North America) that introduced gamers to Quantic Dream’s unique interactive storytelling, adult themes, and believable characters; all of which would be expanded upon in their next major release, Heavy Rain.
A tech demo for the game, known as ‘The Casting’, was shown at E3 2006 (before the release of the PlayStation 3), and gave gamers just a little taste of what was to come. When it finally released in February 2010, we were blown away by its cinematic feel, twist-filled story, and incredible range of choices and interaction within the game’s world. It’s a shame we won’t be seeing any more DLC but the recent Move patch is still a great reason to replay the game, and no other game on PS3 has entertained us for quite so many playthroughs as Heavy Rain.
Raven Software – United States of America – Echo307
Raven Software is a game developer that demands respect almost solely because of their rich history. Founded in 1990, they’ve worked on almost every kind of game you could imagine, although shooters have been their primary focus. Their long development past has seen them create games from both the Star Wars and Star Trek series. They also had a hand in the Quake series with the development of Quake 3. In 2009, they rebooted the Wolfenstein franchise with a fresh look and feel.
Most recently however, they created a new IP, titled Singularity. While a lot of what they’ve done has been solid work, their highpoint for our dollar is this latest project. Singularity takes the basic shooting mechanics that we all know and love from FPSs and adds a twist – the ability to alter time. This new power is used to both solve puzzles and, more interestingly, defeat your enemies.
While Singularity drew a lot of comparisons to the BioShock series, we absolutely loved it and thought it easily stood on its own two feet. It’s a shame that Activision – their publisher – didn’t back the game with more support. Layoffs in 2009 might have a lot of people questioning their future, but we’re very excited for whatever it is they’re working on next.
Relentless Software – United Kingdom
Relentless Software is an unusual developer, in that the studio is famous for working a standard 9 to 5 week, without any overtime; hence why they have to be ‘relentless’. The Brighton-based company was founded in 2003, and started off converting Sony-developed games for foreign markets. However, in 2005 the team launched the incredibly popular quiz series, Buzz!
The first game in the franchise, Buzz!: The Music Quiz, wasn’t initially successful but sales swelled to a million in the run up to Christmas, and the longevity of the series was sealed. Six PlayStation 2 games later, and it finally went all HD with Buzz!: Quiz TV on PlayStation 3 in 2008, which featured over 5000 questions and online play for the first time. With last year’s Quiz World and upcoming Move-enabled The Ultimate Music Quiz, the franchise’s line-up looks as strong as ever.
Proving that they’re not just one-hit-wonders, in the last year the team has also released the episodic puzzle adventure, Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle, exclusively on PSN. Whilst not perfect, the series is well worth a play due to the hilarious characters (all voiced by one man!), inventive puzzles, and fun multiplayer. Relentless Software clearly knows its audience extremely well, and we look forward to whatever they do next.
Rockstar North – United Kingdom
Rockstar North is perhaps one of the most famous (or should that be infamous?) developers in the industry, as a fair amount of controversy has surrounded many of the company’s releases, including Manhunt and many of the Grand Theft Auto games. The studio was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1988 as DMA Design, and in its pre-PlayStation days was most well-known for creating the awesome Lemmings series of puzzle/strategy games.
However, in 1997, the team released the first game in what would become the most famous and highest-rated videogame series in the world: Grand Theft Auto. The arcade-style mission-based gameplay was good fun, but it wasn’t until 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III on the PlayStation 2 that DMA truly made their mark in the industry. By abandoning the cartoonish top-down visuals in favour of a more realistic third-person view, the studio single-handedly invented the sandbox genre, and inspired countless copycat titles.
The game’s extremely positive reception prompted Rockstar Games to purchase DMA Design, and it was subsequently rebranded as Rockstar North. The following years saw the releases of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, both of which were unanimously praised and the latter is the highest-selling PS2 game ever. The developer’s first release on PS3, Grand Theft Auto IV, also broke industry records (selling six million copies in the first week alone), and remains the highest-rated game on many review-aggregating websites.
GTAIV’s story was much more serious than previous games in the series, but it was all the better for it, with likeable characters and what felt like a living, breathing city. Earlier this year Rockstar North made our dreams come true and finally released the downloadable episodes The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony for PS3, which we thoroughly recommend if you’re yet to try them. The team is currently working on the PS3-exclusive title, Agent. Very little is known about it at the moment, but judging by the team’s track record, PS3 users have a reason to be very excited.
Rockstar San Diego – United States of America
Angel Studios was founded in 1984, and was purchased by Rockstar in 2002. The team is most famous for the Midnight Club series of street racing games, which originated on PlayStation 2. In October 2008 the fourth game in the franchise, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, was released for the PS3, the developer’s first game on the console. It featured addictive gameplay, fantastic graphics and great online multiplayer, so we hope this isn’t the last we see of the series.
More recently, the studio has received universal acclaim for the epic Western third-person-shooter, Red Dead Redemption, the spiritual successor to the forgotten PS2 gem, Red Dead Revolver. Very few period games capture their respective settings quite as well as Rockstar San Diego’s epic. Pretty much everything you’d want to do in a Western videogame can be done in Red Dead; gang shootouts, duels, horse breaking, cattle herding, hunting, poker and five-finger fillet are all included, along with so, so much more.
Rockstar Vancouver – Canada
Rockstar Vancouver was established in 1998 as Barking Mad Studios (before being acquired by Rockstar Games in 2002) and is most famous for the originally PlayStation 2-exclusive Bully (known as Canis Canem Edit in the PAL territory). In our opinion, this developer should be commended for two reasons: 1) for making a game set in a school that was actually fun to play, and 2) for putting up with the controversy that surrounded the game before its release, created by people who obviously hadn’t actually played the game.
The studio is yet to release a game for the PlayStation 3, but is currently working on Max Payne 3, the next entry in the acclaimed series created by Finnish developer, Remedy Entertainment. Not much is known about the title so far, other than it is set in São Paulo, twelve years after the events of the previous game. The title has unfortunately been delayed a couple of times now, and is currently scheduled for a 2011 release. However, we’re confident that it will be well worth the wait when it finally arrives.
Rocksteady Studios – United Kingdom
Rocksteady Studios was founded in London in 2004. The team’s first game, Urban Chaos: Riot Response, was released two years later for the PlayStation 2 but failed to really make an impression on critics and gamers alike. However, in 2009 the studio came back with a vengeance and delivered not only one of the best titles of the year, but also the highest-rated superhero videogame ever, in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
The game was praised by pretty much everyone who played it, due to its fantastic character design and art style, superb animations and voice acting (particularly Mark Hamill’s show-stopping performance as the Joker), and varied and entertaining gameplay. It was therefore no surprise when the next game in the series was announced at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards (revealed later to be called Batman: Arkham City) – it’s just a shame we have to wait until late next year to play it!
SCE Japan Studio – Japan
Sony’s Japan Studio is arguably the company’s most experimental division, but that also means that they often have the best ideas. The team has developed a number of games for all four PlayStation consoles (although the majority of which are on PS3), and is most famous for the LocoRoco and Patapon series on PSP, as well as the Ape Escape series. This developer has also created a whole range of titles for PSN, including echochrome, The Last Guy, Siren: Blood Curse, and Trash Panic, and we look forward to the launch of echochrome ii, which uses the PlayStation Move as a torch.
The company has also released a number of Blu-Ray titles over the years. The less said about Kung Fu Rider the better, but the studio was also responsible for the first full retail PlayStation Eye game, The Eye of Judgement, and for helping Level-5 with White Knight Chronicles and From Software with Demon’s Souls. Finally, two Ape Escape games are currently scheduled to be coming to PS3 in the future; the Move-enabled Ape Escape Fury! Fury!, and the full-blown sequel, Ape Escape 4.
SCE London Studio – United Kingdom
SCE London Studio was founded in 1993, and has only been known as such since the merger of Sony’s Camden Studio and Team Soho. Before the arrival of the PlayStation 3, the studio was most famous for franchises such as This is Football, The Getaway, many of the EyeToy games, and of course Singstar. The latter of these is the only one to have so far made it to PS3, but to make up for it there is already a total of eight Singstar games on the console with no doubt many more to follow, beginning with Move-enabled Singstar Dance next month.
The London Studio is also at the forefront of the development of PlayStation Home with Sony’s Cambridge Studio (which by the way is well worth checking out if you haven’t done so for a while – there’s actually stuff to do now!). The company also created the alternate-reality virtual-pet game, EyePet, which has recently been patched to include PS Move and 3D support. Now if only the team could finally give us some more news about The Getaway 3 and Eight Days, then we’d be happy!
And now there are only thirty developers left! As always, be sure to check back every Monday, when we’ll be revealing the rest of our epic Top 100 Developers list.