PS3 Attitude’s Top 100 Developers – Part 9
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 eighty 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).
Sucker Punch Productions – United States of America
Sucker Punch was founded in 1997, and despite being an independent company, is now most famous for being one of Sony’s second-party developers, and has worked with the company exclusively since 2000. Their first project on a PlayStation console was the Sly Cooper trilogy on PS2. Whilst arguably not as popular as, say, the Ratchet or Jak series, the Sly games were still extremely entertaining, so it’s great to know that they’re coming to PS3 in The Sly Collection.
Like Insomniac and Naughty Dog before them, the Sucker Punch team created a brand new IP for their first release on PS3. To this day, 2009’s inFamous has some of the most stylish presentation and fun gameplay on the console, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Empire City. Unsurprisingly, we’re massively looking forward to inFamous 2’s release next year, particularly how the gameplay will utilise the PS Move.
Sumo Digital – United Kingdom
Sumo Digital is perhaps one of the most underrated studios in the industry. They have been developing games for PlayStation consoles for seven years, several of which have been released on PS3. Unlike a lot of companies, Sumo Digital divides its time pretty much equally between full-retail and downloadable games, and have developed a number of titles and ports for the PSN, including GTI Club+ and OutRun Online Arcade.
In terms of Blu-Ray games, the company has worked very closely with Sega, and their first full PS3 release was a port of the arcade game Virtua Tennis 3, which was followed up with Virtua Tennis 2009. The studio has also created a couple of original titles on behalf of Sega, namely Sega Superstars Tennis and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, both of which have been well-received for their charming presentation and accessible gameplay.
Team17 Software – United Kingdom
Team17 has been known as such since 1990, and from the launch of the PSone, many of its titles have been released on PlayStation consoles. The studio’s first release for the PS3 was a brand new downloadable version of the classic titles, Lemmings, after they had had great success with a fantastic port of the original game on PSP. More recently, we’ve seen the release of Alien Breed: Impact on the PSN, a reboot of Team17’s classic franchise, which will soon be followed up by Alien Breed 2: Assault.
However, since 1995, one series in particular has dwarfed everything else the team has released: Worms. The original title brought turn-based strategy to the masses, and the series has been evolving ever since, culminating in Worms 2: Armageddon, which was finally released on the PSN last month. The basic gameplay hasn’t changed in fifteen years but it simply doesn’t need to as it’s still as entertaining as ever, particularly in multiplayer, so we look forward to where the franchise goes from here.
Team Bondi – Australia
Team Bondi is the lone Australian developer on this list, and was founded in 2004 by Brendan McNamara, writer and director of the awesome PS2 title, The Getaway. McNamara was joined at Team Bondi by several of his Team Soho colleagues, and their first game, L.A. Noire, has been in development ever since, meaning that the game will have been in development for seven years once it is released next year (assuming it actually does come out next year!).
Despite its incredibly long development time, not much specific information is known about it; other than that it is set in the 1950s, tasks the player with solving various crimes, and pushes the PS3’s hardware to its limit. Particularly impressive is the game’s facial animation, which allows astute players to tell when NPCs are lying. As stated above, L.A. Noire is expected to be released next year, and we seriously hope it is!
Team Ico (part of SCE Japan Studio) – Japan
Team Ico was founded in 1997, and is part of Sony’s Japan Studio. The team is led by Fumito Ueda, who sees it as his mission in life to elevate games to the point where they can be taken seriously as an art form, in the same way as films and music. The company’s two PS2 titles, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, are widely regarded as being amongst the most beautiful and thought-provoking videogames ever made, so the recently revealed PS3 re-releases have got us very excited.
The studio’s first original PS3 game will be the much-publicised The Last Guardian, which was officially announced at E3 2009. The title tells the story of the relationship between a boy and his cat/dog/bird, and will feature similar themes and gameplay elements as the team’s earlier projects. According to Fumito Ueda, the game is now at the crunch time of development, and will be released late next year, which if you ask us can’t come soon enough.
Team Ninja – Japan
The Tokyo-based Team Ninja is a subsidiary of Tecmo, and was founded in 1995. They are known for both the Dead or Alive series and the most recent releases in Tecmo’s own Ninja Gaiden series. In its heyday, Dead or Alive was a fantastic fighting series, but recent titles have not been released for PlayStation consoles. As far as we’re aware, Dead or Alive 5 has not been officially announced (although it’s definitely in production), but we hope that it finds its way to the PS3.
Two games that have made it to PS3 are the hack-and-slash action-adventures Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Though they can’t compete with God of War’s presentation or sense of scale, there’s no other option if you’re looking for a challenge. Ninja Gaiden 3 was announced at this year’s TGS, but it is not yet known whether PS3 gamers will have to wait for Ninja Gaiden Sigma 3 to get their hands on it, or if it will release simultaneously on all platforms – we hope it’s the latter.
thatgamecompany – United States of America
thatgamecompany is without a doubt one of the most creative developers in the industry. Despite being such a small studio and only founded four years ago, the team has already created some of the most innovative games we’ve ever played. Their initial release as thatgamecompany was a PSN port of their own flOw, the first title of a three-game deal with Sony, which was incredibly simple but hypnotically beautiful.
This is something that was expanded upon for their next release, 2009’s Flower, which somehow managed to be surprisingly emotional without uttering a single word. It remains one of the best-looking games on the PlayStation Store, and we implore anyone who has not already done so to give it a download. The studio is currently working on their third PSN game, Journey, which looks to be just as unique as their previous projects – a very good thing.
Titan Studios – United States of America
Titan Studios was established in 2008, and is owned by Epic Games. Being such a new studio, the company has currently only released one title, Fat Princess, which is exclusive to the PlayStation Network. The title received a fair amount of hype leading up to its July 2009 release, and despite a few connection problems early on, it didn’t disappoint, with charming presentation, addictive gameplay and some interesting design ideas.
The game is also notable for its post-release support, with help from the team at Atomic Operations. This has not only included various patches, but also several free maps, and the Fat Roles DLC that was released in June 2010 and added ninja, pirate and giant classes. We have no idea what this developer is up to at the moment, so we look forward to whatever they do next.
Traveller’s Tales – United Kingdom – DolphGB
TT Games as we know it now is a combination of the developers Traveller’s Tales and TT Fusion (previously known as Embryonic Studios) and the publisher TT Games Publishing. Most famous for their range of Lego videogames, taking properties such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman and, most recently, Harry Potter, and injecting them with a brand of brick-by-brick magic and a sharp sense of humour. Surprisingly, TT Games also own the rights to games based on ‘The Guinness World Records’ book – we bet you didn’t know that (well, unless you own a Wii).
The TT Games Group was formed in 2005 and was acquired by Warner Bros in the winter of 2007. Traveller’s Tales themselves have actually been making games since 1991, and have regularly featured in the top 20 of the Develop 100, marking them out as one of the UK’s most successful developers, and if they keep pumping out fun and addictive titles that appeal to a broad range of gamers, we have no doubt they’ll continue to be.
tri-Ace – Japan
tri-Ace was founded in Tokyo in 1995, and is most famous for the Star Ocean series of fantasy role-playing games, most of which have been released for PlayStation consoles. The studio’s first international release for the PlayStation 3 was a port of its own Star Ocean: The Last Hope, the definitive version of the title. Despite a few flaws, it’s still an extremely enjoyable JRPG due to its fun combat system, myriad of crazy characters and incredible amount of gameplay content.
In March 2010, just a month after the release of Star Ocean: The Last Hope – International, tri-Ace released their second PS3 game, Resonance of Fate. Like The Last Hope, this title isn’t without its annoyances, but its interesting premise, unique battle system, and challenging difficulty more than make up for its shortcomings, so we’re definitely looking forward to the company’s next release.
Next week is the last ten developers! As always, be sure to check back next Monday, when we’ll be revealing the final ten in our epic Top 100 Developers list.