Edge Developer Awards 2013: the top 50 studios working today
10. Riot Games
Founded 2006 Origin US Notable games League Of Legends
Leading the charge into the MOBA genre, Santa Monica-based Riot Games now claims that over 30 million players pile into League Of Legends, its free-to-play strategy brawler, every month. Now an eSports mainstay, Riot’s balanced design, constant updates and community involvement has helped LOL become a way of life for some. The question is: what’s next?
09. Arkane Studios
Founded 1999 Origin France Notable games Arx Fatalis, Dishonored
With a complex history of cancelled projects and quiet contributions to titles such as Call Of Duty: World At War and BioShock 2, Arkane was already fascinating before it launched our game of 2012, Dishonored. Its particular attention to player choice and peculiar capacity to weave art, sound and game design into an elegant whole place it in our top tier of studios.
Founded 1986 Origin Japan Notable games Armored Core, Dark Souls
Japanese development might face detractors, but FromSoftware has been proving them wrong, cultivating bold new realisations of the RPG in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. These games’ appreciation of the value of challenge has attracted legions of fans, and also reconfigured our expectations of console games.
Founded 1991 Origin US Notable games Marathon, Halo
Profiled in issue 250, this FPS and console multiplayer innovator cut its ties with both Halo and Microsoft back in 2007, but it has taken with it a passion for raising the bar and a deep respect for players. It’s enough to ensure its new epic, Destiny, should meet even its own stratospheric expectations.
06. Rockstar North
Founded 2002 Origin UK Notable games Grand Theft Auto
This obsessively secretive studio altered the course of the whole game industry with Grand Theft Auto III, and has continued to define not only the open-world adventure but also the upper limits of videogame production values ever since. Its ambitions for games’ ability to entertain through both story and action is an inspiration for all developers.
05. Naughty Dog
Founded 1989 Origin US Notable games Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted
Naughty Dog is the Spielberg of developers: unabashedly mainstream and capable of enthralling broad audiences with humour, drama and sheer spectacle. No other studio has its grasp of dialogue and character, and few meet its proficiency in applying technical innovation to its creative ideas. All of which means Naughty Dog is Sony’s most important developer.
04. Platinum Games
Founded 2006 Origin Japan Notable games MadWorld, Bayonetta, Vanquish
Independence is a profound value of this storied Japanese developer, and a big part of why its games are so bold and why it takes such evident care over them. The results of Platinum’s confidence in its talent are such wild fancies as Vanquish and Bayonetta, while the upcoming Wonderful 101 and Metal Gear Rising promise equally offbeat and engaging delights.
03. Nintendo EAD
Founded 1983 Origin Japan Notable games Super Mario Bros, The Legend Of Zelda, Wii Sports, Metroid
Videogames, Nintendo, Mario, Miyamoto: for 30 years those words have been inextricably linked. No studio in the world understands the science of play better than Nintendo EAD, and most developers remain its students. Perhaps its greatest achievement is in how it hides the fantastic complexities of its craft so completely under its games’ perfect surfaces.
Founded 2009 Origin Sweden Notable games Minecraft, Scrolls
Mojang is a new kind of developer, one forged in egalitarian indie culture and hardened by the incredible success of Minecraft. Without losing any of its renowned individuality, it has grown to support releases of its hit on new platforms, and now holds conventions and publishes games, all while it continues to develop more of its own. It also holds the industry spellbound as its founder, Markus Persson, champions both player and developer rights. Mojang is an inspiration for having achieved something very special: giving us the freedom to create.
Founded 1996 Origin US Notable games Half-life, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, Dota 2
Valve is probably the most recognised of all developers. If Valve holds any secrets that point to videogames’ destiny, perhaps one of the more important is the rising eminence of the people who make them, and the growing relationship between them and their players. But there’s more to Valve than just customer service, and we delve inside the developer to discover what makes the company so special in a 12-page feature in issue 250 of Edge, which goes on sale on January 17 in print, for Android from Google Play and, in award-winning, interactive form, for iPad on Apple Newsstand.