I had this discussion with someone the other day, and after quite some time, we came to a mildly surprising conclusion:
Rockstar might be the most consistently great developer of the generation.
The primary contestants were Naughty Dog, BioWare, Valve, and Bethesda. Now, while Naughty Dog might be the one developer that has pushed the boundaries of interactive entertainment more than any other, we can essentially only consider one franchise: Uncharted . Obviously, that could – and should – change when The Last Of Us releases later this year.
BioWare has done fantastic things with Dragon Age and Mass Effect , but some consider DAII to be a minor slip-up, and although we at PSXE will always defend the greatness of ME3, the ending snafu will forever be an unfortunate black mark on that game. Part of ultimate success is pleasing the fans, after all. Valve was a consideration but as amazing as the Portal games are, we'll probably all be dead before Half-Life 3 comes out and I was never that impressed with the Left 4 Dead games. Then there's Bethesda with Fallout and The Elder Scrolls , which is great, but the inherent bugginess of those games (especially on the PS3) knocks them down a peg.
In truth, it could very well be Rockstar. Grand Theft Auto IV , Red Dead Redemption , L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3 have all been big-time hits according to both the critics and sales charts (although we're still waiting on the sales numbers for MP3). Plus, if you go back beyond this generation, you only find more greatness with old GTA titles and hey, who remembers the total coolness that was Bully ? Last but not least, you've got Grand Theft Auto V – and very possibly the new Red Dead – looming on the horizon, which, by all rights, should solidify Rockstar as the overall most impressive developer out there.
Of course, there's a ways to go and things can change. But for now, we've gotta say that all the talented guys and gals over there at Rockstar are truly…well, rock stars.