Top 20 PS3 Developers
What are the best developers on PS3? Well this feature, originally printed in issue 216 of Play, ranks and rates them all. LIST-ME-DO.
Developer Name: Polyphony Digital
Where They’re Based: Tokyo/Fukuoka, Japan
Biggest Hits: Gran Turismo 5 (85%), Gran Turismo PSP (85%)
You’re either maddeningly obsessed with Polyphony’s output, or you’re maddened by its mere existence. Regardless, there’s no denying the talent – and obsessive nature – of the studio, known as it is for constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done with PlayStation technology. Throw in the commitment to supporting GT5 post-release with impressive DLC and free patch content and you have a developer we’re happy to welcome into our top 10.
Developer Name: BioWare
Where They’re Based: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Biggest Hits: Mass Effect 2 (97%), Dragon Age 2 (86%), Mass Effect 3 (93%)
We’d have more love for BioWare were it not for the fact it took the studio so long to bring us Mass Effect – and we can’t even have the first game. Nevertheless, the worlds created by the Canadian company, rich in lore and so, so deep, help bring to life some fantastic RPG experiences. Recent forays into questionable DLC practices have made us raise a collective eyebrow, but there’s no doubting the sheer quality shown by BioWare.
Developer Name: Harmonix
Where They’re Based: Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
Biggest Hits: Rock Band 2 (96%), Rock Band 3 (84%)
As recent party/dance releases show: people will buy anything. What makes Harmonix stand out from the crowd is its sheer talent; its ability to make games that are fun for everyone, regardless of playing ability. Bringing utterly fantastic music games to the fore is one thing, but the Rock Band Network – DLC done very, very right – just solidifies the studio’s reputation in our mind as one of the absolute best.
Developer Name: Irrational Games
Where They’re Based: Quincy, Massachusetts, US
Biggest Hits: Bioshock (93%)
As if creating one of the most atmospheric and intelligent gaming experiences of all time wasn’t good enough, Irrational has gone on to help out with the creation of the sequel – unfairly overlooked – and moved on to create what looks to be (another) one of the most interesting games of the generation in Bioshock Infinite. Irrational doesn’t patronise or pander to its audience: it’s a studio making its own way.
Developer Name: DICE
Where They’re Based: Stockholm, Sweden
Biggest Hits: Battlefield 3 (88%), Medal Of Honor multiplayer (86%), Mirror’s Edge (71%)
Stumbling over single-player experiences doesn’t detract from what DICE is: purveyor of incredible multiplayer action and some of the most technologically proficient games on PS3. Then, when the company throws something like cult classic Mirror’s Edge our way, we realise it is capable of more than just mindless man-shooting. To top it all off, it’s still a company that provides DLC we’d both class as ‘good’ and ‘value for money’.
Developer Name: Team Ico
Where They’re Based: Tokyo, Japan
Biggest Hits: Ico & Shadow Of The Colossus Classics HD (94%)
Two games released, neither of them originally on PS3, yet Team Ico is number five on this list. Where’s the logic? It’s there, believe us. This is a studio that creates games you won’t see from anyone else. It introduces worlds we’ve never seen anything like in videogames. It brings about feelings – not only that, but feelings we don’t normally get from other games, like regret. It’s a studio that pushes technology in ways beyond just making things look good, and the influence Team Ico has had over gaming as a whole should never be understated. The mere fact this development team exists, that it is still beavering away at The Last Guardian, gives us hope that the future of gaming won’t all be shouty men and paid-DLC costume unlocks. There’s room for subtlety and nuance, and it’s Team Ico making that room.
Developer Name: Kojima Productions
Where They’re Based: Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Biggest Hits: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots (92%), Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (92%), Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (91%)
It says something about a studio when it has been named after one man – that might well be ‘ego’, but it’s probably more to do with the consistent high quality he, and his development teams, produce. The Metal Gear Solid series is one that has helped to make the PlayStation what it is today – MGS4 introduced us to one of the earliest true ‘next-gen’ games, while Peace Walker showed just what could be done on PSP given enough effort. Then, the coup de grace, when the HD collection came out and reminded us just how many great (and ridiculous) ideas Kojima and his Productions studio has managed to put in its games over the years. Unsuccessful segues into the world of online can be overlooked: Kojima Productions makes technologically superb games and is a huge reason why PS3 is as dominant as it is today.
Developer Name: Valve Software
Where They’re Based: Bellevue, Washington, US
Biggest Hits: Portal 2 (95%), The Orange Box (93%)
‘It’ll be out when it’s ready’ has probably never applied for to any other studio than Valve, at least when you consider how many games the studio has put out over the years. It is a talented, committed team of individuals with a unique non-management structure and an ethos that states: “it’s amazing what creative people can come up with when there’s nobody there telling them what to do”. What has that done? The finest compilation of games ever committed to PS3, including one of the best games ever made in Half-Life 2, along with one of the best puzzle games we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in the shape of Portal 2. Turns out just letting people get on with it is a good idea. Bringing Steam to PS3 is just the icing on an already delicious cake. Insert your own ‘is a lie’ demi-joke.
Developer Name: Rockstar North
Where They’re Based: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Biggest Hits: Grand Theft Auto IV (98%), Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City (94%)
There’s quality and there’s quality. Rockstar North is slap bang in the middle of that latter, italicised, category. The worlds created through Grand Theft Auto are genre-defining and inspire countless other creators in their own games. The production values are phenomenal, raising the bar for all those that come afterwards. Technologies backing it all up show us things we’ve never seen before. There’s even a half-decent online mode on GTAIV. While pretty much a one-series studio for the last decade, this hasn’t harmed the Scottish team’s output in any way: it’s always creative, it’s always impressive and it’s always something that would harm PS3’s performance were it to not appear on it. This combination of unarguable technical prowess and importance puts Rockstar North within spitting distance of the top spot, though for us they have to settle for an admirable silver.
Developer Name: Naughty Dog
Where They’re Based: Santa Monica, California, US
Biggest Hits: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (96%), Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (90%), Jak & Daxter Collection (82%)
Could it be other company? A combination of releasing some of the best games on PS3, consistently pushing forward into new technological avenues, introducing multiplayer that is both worthwhile and not crammed in unnecessarily, not (entirely) taking the mickey when it comes to DLC and, probably most importantly of all, helping out other developers in the PS3 community means Naughty Dog is our unequivocal choice for the top spot. It is the best developer on PS3. It is one of the best all-round developers on any gaming device. Without the Uncharted series we might have been stuck with a floundering, unfocused PS3 – Sony clearly didn’t know what it was doing with the machine, but up stepped this brash veteran to show us all what the console needed: Nathan Drake. A mascot for modern times and the face of Sony’s renewed push in the console wars.
Then ND went above and beyond by actively helping out other studios with their PS3 development; sharing the knowledge and benefiting the development and gaming community as a whole. It is a studio that understands the value of high production values, good writing and solid gaming mechanics. It’s not perfect, we hasten to add, but even the elements that seemed like hasty experiements at the time turn out to be welcome additions – like the aforementioned ‘worthwhile’ multiplayer.
Naughty Dog: congratulations. We salute you.
Read some other lists, yeah?
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