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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.

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10 years ago

Yeah I'm really looking forward to what Ready at Dawn can do with the PS4. They seem to be able to handle things very well.

The other I can't wait to see more from is Cerny Games. I have to apologize for my previous comments of doubt regarding Mark Cerny and his team, which were based purely on the review scores of Knack. I expected higher review scores because we have the lead designer of the PS4 creating a game for that console. However I kept hearing people say they loved it, which kept my hope alive with the obvious contradiction between consumers and reviewers..

I appologize because Ive been playing the game recently and its actually super good. Its certainly exceeded my expectations. I wasnt expecting a 10 game, and its not but its certainly better than its previously been credited. And quite a bit better than I imagined when I purchased it. Im adoring my time with it to be completely honest. And graphically its beautiful. So with that said, Im looking forward to their next game one to rejuvenate the brand to reviewers and two so I can get another enjoyable experience. I'm speaking more so of Knack 2, however another new ip is welcome.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/30/2013 11:16:46 PM

10 years ago

+1 for contributing 🙂

10 years ago

I suppose I'll at least give you a thumbs up then! For the article of course. Since there is a like button for everything else in the world, there should be one for articles also. 😉

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/31/2013 12:24:40 AM

10 years ago

cant do this without acknowledging rocksteady and ninja theory.
two studios who really were nobodies, and now two studios who have really given us some of this generations best games!

really feel sorry for ninja theory, there probably the most under appreciated developers out there!
heavenly sword was one of the first games to show off the ps3s full potential, and more importantly its still one of the most engaging combat systems out there.
not to mention it had a really engaging story.
NTs strength has always been in its character development, something pretty much EVERY developer struggles with!
cough ND…………
just look at enslaved, is there a better built relationship out there than tess and monkey?
even the side characters did not feel like side characters, but family!
and the ending, finally a ending that leaves you pondering and reflecting the events of the game, and leaves you thinking with a final message.
not the usual contradictory cliched bullsh*t!

than rocksteady, who went from rock who?
to one of the most beloved developers out there!
they took the struggling batman series, took the old tired eh its a comic book it cant make a good game cliche, and, well, proved all that wrong.
arkham asylum is still one of the best games released this gen, better than origins and especially better than city, because of its well designed levels and gadgets.
it was so disappointing and frustrating to see the amazing enemy variety, well designed levels, and gadgets, go to the whim in the sequels.
in AA i loved sitting on those gargoyles and playing cat and mouse with the enemies, it was just so funny throwing a batwrang and watching the enemies freak out and cower.
you could use your gadgets to lure enemies into your traps.
AC and even AO, you do that and thats it magically now they know exactly where you are even though there miles away.
f*cking HATE magical AI really spoils and ruins a game!

4A too have really amazed me, metro last light totally should be shooter of the year!
if a massive well known studio like IW did it it would totally of won, but since its a small non US company, it of course, as usual, gets snubbed!

here is a tiny unknown almost indie studio in eastern EU releasing the biggest most amazing technologically marvel games.
i mean instead of ferrari creating the worlds fastest car, its a 10 man band working in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere.
who would of expected that!
but not only is it so technically amazing, the best looking game out there!
but its also so much fun, so unique.
i can honestly say its like NO other game out there, how many games can you say that to?
and how many can you say that to who fall into the flooded copy and paste shooter category?

Last edited by ___________ on 12/31/2013 1:52:19 AM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Some nice choices up there. For me, Ninja Theory is one to watch. Each of their games has represented a solid improvement over the last and they just keep managing to wow me. Can't wait to see what comes next, especially now that they have a better idea of how to make combat feel fluid and satisfying.
United Front Games. Never played ModNation Racers or LBPKarting but Sleeping Dogs was a home run, if ever I've seen one. No, it wasn't GTA but it was still brilliantly fun and I can't wait to see more on Triad Wars.
Sanzaru Games. The guys behind Sly 4. In all honesty, I haven't played it yet and I've heard that it doesn't quite match up to its predecessors but the fact that Sony trusted them enough to hand them such a well respected series is proof positive, to me, that they are a team to watch.
Finally, YAGER Development. They came out of nowhere and blew just about everyone away with Spec Ops: The Line. I daresay that more than a few people are looking forward to their next project and hoping that it is just as intense and thought-provoking.

10 years ago

Solid choices there, Sleeping Dogs was a surprise.

10 years ago

I totally agree with what's said here: It's just so much more fun with the underdogs and newcomers.

For me, CD Projekt Red is *the* biggest newcomer of this generation. I had never even heard the name before they just appeared out of Poland with a franchise that could just as well have been from one of the big guys: The Witcher 1+2.

Or how about that 4A Games studio in Ukraine? Metro: Last Light is an amazing game. How could that have been created on a low budget in a little office in Kiev?

This is what I love about this branch of the entertainment industry: It's not all about US or UK production companies.

Last edited by Beamboom on 12/31/2013 5:31:48 AM

10 years ago

My pet love of the amateurish and visually stunning fun in Two Worlds II has me watching Reality Pump, another cool Polish dev. The French are really stepping up too these days.

Can't believe I didn't think of 4A for the article.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/31/2013 6:38:37 AM

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