Play 200 – Developers Pick The Most Influential Games on PlayStation
In the final part of our developer quoting look back over the history of PlayStation we asked some of the world’s most respected game makers what they thought was the most influential title released on the PSone, PS2 or PS3? They answered in their numbers and with a great deal of passion. You can find out which game was named the most influential ever in Issue 200 of Play on sale now, but in the mean time here’s what some of our panel of developers had to say.
Possibly something like Ico, because it made a lot of devs look at things differently. That was definitely a game changer. In the modern era I think God Of War has been incredibly influential for a lot of people. There have been so many games that have spawned new genres.
Miles Jacobsen OBE, studio director, Sports Interactive
Metal Gear Solid for PS2 was super important because it showed the graphical capabilities of the PS2. That game on that platform was huge, but for each platform there’s been a different game.
Richard Marks, head of Sony Computer Entertainment R&D
Looking over the entire library of PlayStation games, I’d have to say that the game I feel was most influential on the PlayStation was “Metal Gear Solid” on the original PlayStation. While I feel the franchise itself has lost its way since this seminal title, “Metal Gear Solid” was the first game that I feel really delivered on the promise of post 16-bit gaming and ushered in what was to become ‘next generation’ game experiences. I consider this work Kojima’s masterpiece, and one that re-defined what a ‘cinematic experience’ truly is while at the same time, putting out to pasture all the lame FMV games that tried so badly to do 1/10th of what Kojima was able to pull off in a fully playable game. On top of this achievement, MGS created the stealth game genre, and so many games owe their existence to this key game.
Timothy Gerritsen, director of product development, Irrational Games
I think both Tomb Raider and GTA have been hugely influential in general (Tomb Raider for pushing the 3rd person genre and it’s megastar character for pushing acceptance and knowledge of game characters into the mainstream, and GTA for pushing sandbox gaming in large open worlds and again creating a blockbuster known by everyone including non-gamers). However, as a longtime fan of peripheral games, I think I’d single out Guitar Hero above them – it was the first peripheral game that seemed to hit the mainstream (after years of niche titles) and as a result appears to have a launched a whole new segment of the industry with the large number of music and peripheral games that now fill the stores.
Marc Fletcher, programmer, 2K Marin
I was temped to choose Final Fantasy VII because of its quality and scope. It was definitely a very influential game for the industry because of its high production values; it redefined the meaning of AAA. But in the end, I have to choose GTA3. One of the first very successful game to create a fully immersive open world. A game in which you could not only follow the main story but also where you can create your own and tell your friends about it. A game of course that influenced the competition to create other successful franchises such as Assassin’s Creed
Vincent Pombriandt, producer, Ubisoft Montreal
I would have to say “Metal Gear Solid” or possibly “Resident Evil”. I know there were Metal Gear games prior to PS1, but I really believe “MGS” was the one that cemented the series in our consciousness. It also set a standard for presentation that is still largely followed today.
Barry Caudill, executive producer, Firaxis Games
I think it’s got to be Metal Gear Solid… For me even just the opening of that game — with the cinematic credits playing over top of the gameplay — that was the first “next” generation game experience for me. Even the most amazing games of late like Uncharted 2.. you can trace the roots of a lot of what they’re doing all the way back to MGS as the source. GTA III is a close second.
Brian Fleming, producer and co-founder, Sucker Punch
When GTA3 was released on the PS2 it was a game changer. An open world and featuring rich non linear storytelling with mature characters and setting made the title a landmark in videogames, and an icon on the PlayStation. The ability for GTA to weave antihero and pop culture together has influenced a huge number of games across many genres and platforms. For example, without GTA3 there would be no Crackdown, Assassin’s Creed, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout3, Infamous, Saint’s Row, Jak and Daxter, Just Cause, or Mercenaries.
Darrell Gallagher, head of studio, Crystal Dynamics
There have been so many incredible games on PlayStation for fifteen years that picking one is impossible. I think that ICO would, again, be my first choice. The game demonstrated that emotions and storytelling had their place in a video game. The importance of empathy, a complex feeling that few games explored before, made the game really unique to me and I know it influenced the work of many game designers.
I think that it is also difficult to ignore the influence of a game like GTA on the industry, whether this influence is considered positive or negative.
RESIDENT EVIL’s brand has also been very influential in many ways and has been for a long time a console defining title for PlayStation.
Having worked for Eidos in the past, it is also difficult for me not to mention TOMB RAIDER, one of the first games to reach people beyond the community of hardcore gamers.
David Cage, director and founder, Quantic Dream
I would have to say Grand Theft Auto 3. That game created an entire genre and gave a new meaning to the word Sandbox. To this day, games are taking creative license from the formula originally executed to perfection by Grand Theft Auto 3. I don’t remember a game ever doing a better job at letting the player explore a world and Grand Theft Auto 3 created the perfect combination of that freedom and “mission” tasks. That was such a big part of the fun of the game. Genius.
Ed Boon, producer and creator of Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios
I guess I will have to go with Metal Gear Solid (PS1). This is the first game I can remember of that played with players’ mind (Psycho Mantis anyone?), made stealth dynamic and was among the selected few to deal with more mature themes. We’ve seen a lot of games, after MGS, taking a page or 2 from their book. Even on Deus Ex: Human revolution, we used MGS1 on several occasions for references! LOL!
Jean-Francois Dugas, game director, Eidos Montreal
The most influential games are the ones that haven’t just left their impression within the realm of games, but outside it as well. WipEout for PlayStation 1, for instance, was one of the first games to transcend then-traditional gaming demographics. It had a killer soundtrack and fast hallucinatory graphics that quickly made it a favorite of MTV audiences and club goers; both very different from what were considered ‘gamers’ at the time. On PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto 3 didn’t just establish the sandbox genre – it also pioneered the use of darker, more mature themes in its narrative to appeal to older, more mainstream demographics. And recently, we’ve had Heavy Rain on PlayStation 3, which aims squarely at mature, sophisticated audiences with its complex interactive story.
Hermen Hulst, managing director, Guerrilla Games
For me it was Parappa the Rappa! It showed that games could be different, entertain an audience of non-gamers, even get them to try playing games, and most surprisingly make everyone laugh.
Jamie Walker, studio director, Rocksteady Studios
I believe the most influential game released on the platform was Metal Gear Solid. It had production values that made it feel more like an interactive blockbuster than a video game. Raising the bar of what was possible in a game, all other development studios had to take notice. The gameplay was thrilling, fun, and intense. The story was engaging and integrated into the experience instead of existing only in cinematics. The follow-up games were even better, creating a franchise that few titles can match.
Tim Willits, creative director, id Software
Actually, now that I think about it let me give you a different answer to both, and there’s a very good reason why – it’s Uncharted 2. It’s my favourite game of all time and also as far as it revolutonised what we think about in games. It’s the first time that I’ve picked up a game and felt like we had bridged a gap between what we used to be as a gaming industry and what we should be as a game industry in the future.
Ru Weerasuriya, co-founder, Ready At Dawn
With regard to technical influence to other developers in the field, innovation to video games in general, and causing a riot with the PTA, I think Grand Theft Auto III dominates as being influential on all three of these levels. In the past, there have been many claims that games were detrimental to society, but I was always strongly opposed to this idea. When I first saw GTA3, however, the fact that the gameplay was in it of itself glorifying crime, I thought the game might actually be pushing the envelope a little too far. But I say this by no means in a negative way; in fact, quite the contrary. As with novels and movies, it takes exceptional ingenuity to conceive a game which truly breaks the barriers and spurs people into excitement, and I strongly believe that doing whatever it takes to make an impression on players is completely commendable in the world of gaming. The concept of “don’t try this at home” unquestionably applies to wrestling games as well, but I have true respect for developers who can conceive a game which captivates players to the extent that it can actually be considered a threat.
Taku Chihaya, senior creative director, Yuke’s Yokohama
Issue 200 of Play is on sale now from all good newsagents and supermarkets featuring the 200 Greatest PlayStation Moments. You can also get Play from our eShop and for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch via iTunes