PSXE Trenders: Breakout Developers To Watch
It's one thing to start tossing around names like Naughty Dog, Rockstar, and Bungie. It's another matter altogether to follow a game developer from the little leagues to the big leagues.
Doing this is one of the reasons I enjoy this industry so much, you get to see a group with the right vision and talent put forth a whole new world that captures the imaginations of millions. It's always more exciting to me to watch and see what an unknown developer or an underdog developer is up to next than where a long-lived sequel is headed.
We know the next Uncharted, the next God of War, Grand Theft Auto, inFamous: Second Son, and the next Killzone will all deliver the greatness in this new generation. What we don't know is how things will work out for the up and comers that PSXE has been pleased to cover during the last Playstation generation.
The first I'd like to mention is the most obvious: Crystal Dynamics. What in the world were these guys doing all these years, holding back on us? The Tomb Raider reboot was a slam-bang punch to the gut of anyone who doubted the staying power of Lara Croft. Now we have an enhanced next generation iteration coming and I'm waiting on that one to replay the game. In the mean time though, I decided to play Tomb Raider: Underworld for my Lara fix. It's a fun game, but I feel like I'm playing something from a different development team. I know team members come and go but there's no denying that Crystal Dynamics has come out swinging from the little leagues right into the bigs and I can't wait to see what they do next, Tomb Raider 2 and/or an original project.
To illustrate the change accomplished here just compare two scores for this team at PSXE. Tomb Raider: Underworld pulled a respectable 7.0 and the 2013 reboot jumped to 8.9. Maybe the PS4 edition will clear that elite 9.0 hurdle if it is all it's cracked up to be. All I know is suddenly Crystal Dynamics is way up on my to watch list.
Another name on everyone's lips these days is a PS4 exclusive that is aiming high for franchise status: The Order: 1886. It will be the first console game by Ready At Dawn, who portable gamers know from their stellar God of War entries on the PSP. Those games managed to capture all of the creative brutality of their console counterparts and hardcore Playstation fans are going to be watching closely to see if they can make the leap onto PS4. It won't hurt that Santa Monica is helping out but as far as I'm concerned all eyes will be on Ready At Dawn to make a splash. AAA games are serious business and this kind of move could make or break anybody. Maybe it's too much to expect them to explode like Naughty Dog did, but wouldn't that be exciting?
Chains of Olympus garnered and incredible 9.8 and Ghost of Sparta trailed just a little behind with a 9.5 here. Keep watching this site for more on The Order: 1886 and Ready At Dawn.
Remember Arkane Studios? Yeah me either, but I do remember Dishonored. It was our GoTY in 2012 after all. Arkane is a French studio with some great credits to their name like Half-Life 2 and Bioshock 2 but they didn't exactly get the lion's share of the credit on those projects. There's no doubt that experience paid off. Dishonored was beyond ambitious in my opinion. Some may sneer at the steampunk setting, but I went through every inch of that world, read every little story, listened to every recording and paid plenty of attention to the making-of information. It was one of those experiences where the world was built on a vast fiction that made the whole thing feel so authentic and richly imagined.
I have no doubt Dishonored 2 will be on the way since the first game exceeded sales expectations. Can it be as good though? The game walked a very fine line between freedom and narrative, plus stealth isn't a mass-appeal product. I expect a lot from Arkane going forward and really hope they avoid the temptation to go faster paced and more accessible. Dishonored blinked in out of nowhere to steal 9.5 points from us.
Finally, where would the last generation have been without those crazy fun indie games? It would be without Joe Danger that's where! Hello Games has been in the news lately for having been flooded, which is very unfortunate. We really hope they have all their work backed up. Joe Danger was an innovative 2.5D stunt motorcycle scroller that called up wonderful memories of Excitebike and even Sonic the Hedgehog. If you don't the dated phrase, this thing won hella awards too. A sequel was just inevitable. That sequel was good but could have been better, nevertheless Hello Games could have a hot new property on their hands.
Joe Danger finished with a 9.2 at PSXE and Joe Danger 2: The Movie under-performed just a tad at 8.3. The best reason to watch these guys is that incredibly ambitious No Man's Sky, which you will definitely be hearing more about as development continues.
These are just some of the breakout developers that are trending here at PSXE. Go ahead and list some more if you'd like. For now this will give you a good idea of who to watch and what to expect from them in the future.
12/30/2013 David D. Nelson