Video Games

Video Games
Sturmer's avatar

Oh, that’s a tough one! Every time I think about this, it’s always a list, not just one. Each person on that list is there for a reason. It’s like with movies or books; everyone has a list, and it’s really hard to pinpoint a single favorite. Moreover, as a journalist who regularly meets these people, it sometimes becomes quite personal, making it even harder to choose a favorite game developer.

If I have to choose just one, it would be Chris Metzen – an artist, producer, game designer, and voice actor. I’ve selected him because of the immense impact of his approach to epic storytelling in gaming. He set a standard, showing everyone how it should be done.

Chris has not only inspired developers across two generations with his creative vision but also, the projects he contributed to have set the gold standard in their respective genres

Boomer's avatar

I'm so excited to see what he does with Warcraft now he's back!

I know the Warcraft movie might not have been exactly what the fans wanted, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you had to pick one title he worked on as your favourite, which would you choose?

Sturmer's avatar

Diablo, no doubt about it

Retro Stu's avatar

This was tricky because I could name whole studios that I adore but I decided to go for those who worked as small teams to create incredible games.

First up are Simon Filip and Case Portman of Studio Thunderhorse, responsible for creating Flynn: Son of Crimson. It's a wonderful 2D action platformer that takes all that was good about games like Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap and yet keeps it fresh and exciting. For a first game (aside from mobile games) this game is pretty damn flawless. Simon was responsible for writing, Case took on the job of programming and they combined efforts on the design to bring together the incredible efforts of the art team before adding the wonderful music from Jacob Lincke. I'm really excited to see what comes next from this team.

Second up are David Fenn and Mark Foster - the two man team at Acid Nerve. Together with a few others they created Death's Door which is easily one of my favourite games for a multitude of reasons. Whilst they didn't make the game entirely alone they certainly took on the brunt of the work with Mark taking on game design, programming, story & writing and animation with David taking on game design, level design, music & sound and production. A huge endeavour that created something challenging, rewarding and engaging tied together with the music that just sets the tone for everything beautiful in this world they made.

I might talk about music a lot on this platform but as a music production graduate it's one thing I get pulled into a lot and for me it can make or break a game and in both cases here it definitely elevates them to the next level.

Boomer's avatar

I don't know who mushroom hat dude is on the Studio Thunderhorse site, but I love it! 😆

Retro Stu's avatar

One of the best NPCs in the game!

Laura's avatar

If I had to choose just one, I think it would be From Software.I always hated the From games. The inherent difficulty was just too much for me and I couldn’t comprehend how any could enjoy a series that was designed to be so difficult. In 2022 I set myself a challenge; to beat all the From games. I don’t know why, I just wanted to try. I started with Demons Souls remake, then went to Dark Souls 1 and this is where I fell in love. By February Elden Ring came out and the addiction was real. Ultimately, I failed the challenge overall due to some real life problems arising; leaving myself with all but two of the games completed. This challenge taught me A LOT. It taught me that I was far better at games than I ever thought. It brought out an incredibly persistent and stubborn side of myself; a side where failure wasn’t an option and I’d keep going until I succeeded. The From games are often slated because they are deemed “unaccessible” because you can’t physically turn the difficulty down but I’ve realised that these games can be for anyone. Their more than just games, they really became life lessons for me.

Is the challenge for everyone? Not necessarily. Would I recommend the challenge to everybody? Absolutely. You might think your rubbish at games, you might think that you don't have that persistence within you but if you tried you might find how wrong you are and find a new love within you for it.

Boomer's avatar

That's a pretty encouraging story! I'd worried about them being too difficult, but it sounds like they really had an impact on you.

Is it the art, story, gameplay etc. that appeal the most? Is there a specific person working for From Software that stands out to you?

Laura's avatar

Whilst I'll never downplay the challenges, I truly believe anyone could find enjoyment with the games, whilst at the same time, I don't expect everyone to enjoy them. Like you said, the games had a huge impact on me and taught me a lot which I know probably sounds really silly because its "just a game", but I'm sure many folks can relate to games having a lasting impact on us so I'm likely preaching to the choir.

Initially what drew me into the From games was I really wanted a challenge and I couldn't think of anything much more challenging. Initially, I fell in love with the simple gameplay loop. Go through an area, find a new checkpoint (bonfire), find a boss, die. Rinse and repeat. Its simple in and of itself, but its cathartic to struggle and keep trying and then finish the area and find the next challenge aka the boss. When you first meet a boss or see an area you think "oh my god, how am I supposed to beat this?" but then you throw that fear out the window and just "try" and you find "oh I can do X" and you beat it.

Visually, I didn't think much of the From games initially, but I quickly learned they had their own unique style that I couldn't dismiss. One of the main standouts for me was Elden Ring, being the newest game it truly is just a thing of beauty and everything feels unique. I beat just over 150 bosses and at no point did I think "urgh, not this again".

I'd argue that the most unique of the FromSoft games, in my opinion, is Bloodborne. The gothic, Lovecraftian world is just incredible but I'm sure there's also a good argument that Sekiro is the most unique but I haven't played that yet so I can't give an opinion.

As far as people who work for FromSoft that stand out to me it would likely have to be Hidetaka Miyazaki who is the writer, the creative designer and president of FromSoftware. He started off unable to get a job anywhere in the gaming industry (as far as I know) and I'm fairly sure From were struggling to tread water for so long and now you'd never think that to be the case because the games are so successful and have become their own genre. There are common themes you'll find throughout all the From games and in my eyes that feels like its Miyazaki's finger print being implanted on the games and whilst those themes can be found throughout, they don't feel used or overdone.

I'm sure I've bored you and you didn't ask for my thesis on FromSoft, sorry!

EveOnlineTutorials's avatar

CCP Games AKA Eve Online

For 20 years CCP Games aka Eve Online has been a stellar example of "never fold" under pressure, even in a situation where content creators have moved on and the limit of Twitch viewers is in the 100's not thousands, CCP has stayed fast to its course.

It was viewed with suspicion on the company's direction when the subscription cost was increased to become the most expensive MMO on the market, was it a last-ditch attempt or not? Yet with all this, CCP stayed fast to its course and prospered.

Even with a GM cheating in-game, the game stayed its course, I admire CCP games on the whole simply because it has never once, folded or bowed to public pressure. With it delves into VR which we once did content on, spark as well, etc, they decided that this was what they were doing and that was that, when they tried to delve into MCT, it backfired, but they did not bow, they simply said "fair enough" and moved on.

With constant free expansions and new content being brought in, the game continues to offer the best sci-fi experience on the market with its incredibly massive amount of content and abilities within the game itself.

There is no other game IMO that offers that same pulse-raising PvP action, the emotionally altering fleets, the friendships that can made, the enemies you make, the politics, it all mashes together into one of the best games on the planet.

PY

This is a really tough question but if I think about the games I have spent the most time in over the years it would have to be Blizzard for Diablo and the now gone Westwood Studios for the C&C franchise.

Both developers nailed it when it came to creating a complete experience around the games whether it was story, audio, gameplay moments, or even multiplayer. With that in mind, you have to tip the hat to the likes of David Brevik. Eric Schaefer, and Louis Castle. There are probably too many to name in each of the teams that made these franchises timeless.

Lanah Tyra's avatar

Probably you are all expecting me to say Yoshi-P, director and producer of FFXIV, and you wouldn't be wrong. He brought back FFXIV from the failed 1.0 and made it a success running since 10 years, said it's his life's work and he has plans at least for the next 10 years for the game. He is totally one of my favourite developers, and I could sing his praises for hours.

Yet today I'ld like to tell you a story about my other favourite, who is celebrating his 49th birthday today: FFXIV's composer, Masayoshi Soken.

Please listen to this song first, and then read on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFGw1RI0Kts

It's the soundtrack of one of the most epic boss fights from the Shadowbringers expansion (if not the whole game) it's on my top 5 best boss fights list. Soken wrote this track in his hospital bed while receiving chemotherapy. He begged Yoshi-P to let him work, to let him finish this song in time for the patch release, not just because he knew how excited we all were for this part of the story, but for himself as well, to have something to hold on to while battling his illness, so Square Enix CEO arranged for kit to be brought into the hospital for him, so he could keep on working.

And knowing the story behind the creation of this song, the lyrics make so much more sense. The boss fight itself is a fight for life, it starts with a healer check, dropping everyone to 1 HP with limited time to heal the party up, and it has the most difficult Active Time Event in the game, where no matter how fast you smash the buttons on your keyboard or controller, you'll only finish it a couple of seconds before the time limit. And if anyone fails it from the part, it's a wipe.

Here is Soken's speech from the 2021 Fan Festival (which was a digital edition due to Covid) where he first talks about his illness (there is live translation to English)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ze1LoN3_L4

Soken and Yoshi-P are the heart and soul of FFXIV, and I can't wait to see where the game will take us in the next expansion.

Max Grauer's avatar

Ubisoft and their Assassin's Creed developers. While they do have trouble with the polish of their games, the worlds they build are amazing and super accurate. There aren't many games where you can play in Renaissance Italy and climb to the top of the Colossuem or climb up to the top of the spire at Notre Dame during the French Revolution.

Samuel's avatar

Oh boy do I truly love Indie passion projects.

I'm pretty sure we know what's coming next

Shoutout to Zeekerss!

Never have I ever, seen an indie game take the Steam world by storm, and Zeekers pulling ~12 million copies soldon their latest game, Lethal Company just goes to show how true love and passion into a game goes a lot longer than thousands of people making a game for money (Looking at you Activision)

Lethal Company is still only in early-access, and Zeekerss is not showing any signs of slowing down. He actively listens to the community on their needs and wants for the game, show love and care for every aspect of it, and even implements the best support for modding! And to consider that this game is made by only a single developer who went from Roblox games to multi-millionaire best seller...

The game is cheap. The game is loved. The game is most of all, the most fun ever.

And that can only happen with a great, solo developer. Zeekerss!

avrona's avatar

Right now for me the obvious choice is CDPR. The Witcher series and now Cyberpunk were games that were literally unlike anything else with their attention to detail. They nail the charm and atmosphere and worldbuilding in their games, in a way that no one else on the market does right now. With the state of gaming in general in the last few years and the many bad decisions other big devs are doing, their games remained consistently solid. And I'm not bias just because they're from my home country...

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