Top 10 Developers
10. Mojang- Minecraft
A group of Swedish developers creating an unexpected online gaming sensation sounds farfetched, but when Minecraft was released as an alpha in the spring of 2009 it caught the attention of gamers by the thousands. Minecraft 1.0 was released in November 2011 and by February 13th 2012 over 5 million units had been sold. Not bad when you mention that Mojang is made up of 17 people.
9. 343 – Halo:Combat Evolved Anniversary
When reading about Halo:Combat Evolved Anniversary, I thought it was to be the game equivalent of a Hollywood reboot (take a successful older movie and remake it to rake in the moolah from mostly nostalgia-struck parents). 343 did a wonderful job with the graphical retouches and updating the Halo experience for this next generation of gamers to look back on.
8..Techland Software – Dead Island
With some cult classics like Call of Juarez originally for the PC, for a lot of gamers, Techland was a new name when Dead Island was released in the fall. The “zombie apocalypse” genre has been done and redone to death (no pun intended) so it’s a challenge to repackage an old concept in a fresh way without repeating the same old clichés. But somehow Techland managed to pull it off. A lush tropical island overrun with brain eating zombies? A wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Nintendo has withstood the test of time by taking their existing franchises such as Mario, The Legend Of Zelda, Smash Bros. and Animal Crossing; and giving them face-lifts to re-energize the games and fans alike. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword took and old formula and spiced it up with the motion controls for the Wii, and putting Paper Mario on the 3DS are a few examples of the little tweaks Nintendo makes to keep up with the kids.
6.Insomniac Games- Resistance 3
With notable titles such as Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance, this company has been generating hit after hit since the mid 90’s. 2011 was a good year for Insomniac, with the anticipated release of Resistance 3. As if making a science fiction post-apocalyptic first-person shooter wasn’t hard enough, the splendor of the gameplay and the graphics blew critics away.
5.Rocksteady – Batman: Arkham City
Coming out of nowhere with a Batman title in 2009 was an impressive surprise for nerd masses everywhere. The real treat was when this rowdy group of Brits produced a sequel like no other this fall that was a true delight to play, or just look at. The gameplay from Arkham Asylum was refined and polished making combat exciting. And with the plethora or counterattacks constantly being uncovered, it’s exciting to see what Rocksteady is going to do in the coming years.
4.Valve – Portal 2
Valve takes their time when releasing a game, prompting the term “Valve Time” in game industry jargon. But if you can manage the long intervals between games, your patience is well rewarded. The highly anticipated sequel to Portal, Portal 2 (original title) was released in April 2011 to raving reviews from critics and gamers alike. Along with other title such as Half Life, Left 4 Dead, and Counter-Strike, Valve has a knack for creating hits. And developing the digital distribution site Steam, there are over 1500 games available through Steam and include heavy-hitters like Bethesda, Rockstar, 2K, Sega, Activation, and Square Enix to smaller independent developers.
3.From Software – Darks Souls
From Software may not be as well known as the other developers listed (being mostly known for the Armored Core series) but they have risen in the ranks not just for developing one of the greatest games to come out in 2011, but also making the most ridiculously difficult games ever created. 2009’s Demon Souls was a cake walk compared to 2011’s Dark Souls. In a world where everything can kill you and will, Dark Souls somehow manages to keep you in your seat through all the carnage by making the feeling of accomplishment so immense you have to keep pushing onward.
2.Naughty Dog – Uncharted 3
Naughty Dog has had a more than a few hits over the years: Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted are some serious titles to top. And with every new installment in the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog draws more and more attention to their amazing graphical abilities and game design. They’re not making a band of characters explore the world in search for antiquities, you’re seeing real people with problems and inner turmoil find lost civilizations and overcome obstacles. And when the characters come alive for the player, it takes the experience to another level. The banter among the characters during gameplay add a something to the experience that makes you feel like you’re taking part in the events unfolding and even taking a liking to history in the process.
1.Bethesda Softworks – Skyrim and Rage
Bethesda’s hits include RPG’s such as the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, and shooters like Doom, Prey, and Rage. Even though there is a plethora of complaints about the bugs that need ironing out in most of Bethesda’s games, they are responsible for creating some of the best fantasy worlds in gaming history. It seems there is no end to Bethesda’s latest hit The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s quests, dungeons, and exploration. Skyrim is it’s own living, breathing world filled with culture, history, and dragons to slay. Getting lost in one of Bethesda’s worlds has come be expected, and with every new release raising the bar and being a trailblazer graphically and gameplay wise, they somehow manage to top themselves year after year.
By Alexa Young