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Post by Dass on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 5:55 pm

After talking about games in another thread I thought I'd put the question forward as to who everyone's favourite game developers are either past or present. I'm personally someone who pays more attention to a games developer over almost anything else when browsing, it gives me a idea of past and future performance. I'll detail some of my favourites below both past and present, hopefully some of you will share yours as well.

Black Isle - Best RPG studio to grace a PC as far as I'm concerned eclipsing Bioware, Bethesda and Troika. They created one of the best series ever in Fallout including its sequel but they went on to surpass that with Planescape Torment, not many studios create a masterpiece and then go one better.

Bullfrog Productions - A history of game making that spanned 13yrs and hardly a bad game in all that time, great studio and sad loss when it got chewed up in the EA machine. Games include Syndicate Wars, Theme Hospital/Park, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper, Populous and Powermonger.

Valve - For many helped keep the PC market alive at a point when many thought it would become obsolete with the rise of the console market, introduced the gaming world to Steam a application that is now mirrored by many. Another company that in over 10yrs have hardly put a bad game out there, they can lay claim to introducing us to the FPS online community and being at the forefront of the genre. Games include Half Life, Team Fortress, Portal, Left 4 Dead and the brilliant Counter Strike.

Looking Glass Studios - They wouldn't develop a lot of games before going bust but what they did do would influence the gaming industry tremendously, many of the employees would go on to create other great games such as Deus Ex, Bioshock and some sequels of the original Looking Glass games. Games include Thief and System Shock.

Westwood Studios - The founders of the modern RTS genre as we know it they never quite reached their potential after being bought over by EA but what they did give us was a new look genre influencing many games to this day. They also gave us a great dungeon crawler for its time and one of the well remembered D&D games. Games include Eye of the Beholder, Command & Conquer and Dune (mentioned as much for being the Granddaddy of the modern RTS as for anything else).

Bioware - Have kept the good games coming over a sustained period and if it hadn't been for falling outs with Interplay & Atari may have provided us with a few more, though they may not have given us Dragon Age or Mass Effect quite so soon. There defining game is still Baldur's Gate and sadly nothing they have done has eclipsed this but they have still created some great games. Games include KOTOR, Baldur's Gate, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age and NWN.

LucasArts - Pre 2000 they were doing what they did best creating some of the most memorable adventure games to grace a PC and in their last game they created there defining achievement with Grim Fandango. They have left the adventure genre to concentrate on their Star Wars IP in the last 10yrs and have yet to go back to it which is such a great shame. Games include Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, The Dig, Sam & Max, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle and Indian Jones.

ID Software - They have created some of the most defining games in the single player FPS genre and later this year we will find out if this trend is to continue. Their milestone marks include Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake and what could soon be Rage which pretty much sums up some of the great milestones in the PC market.

Team Ico - Only released 2 games with a third on the horizon but what a 2 games those were, the word to describe their games is elegance. Its always a wonder and a joy to play what they create and keeps you wondering what next great surprise they will bring to bear. Games include ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

There's plenty more I can't remember at this time but those are the ones who have made an impression for various reasons, I look forward to hearing what other people's favourites are. Very Happy

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Post by Thomond on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 6:42 pm

Valve are pretty great,don't release many games but the games they do are amazing.

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Post by ADMIN on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 7:07 pm

Mythos Games used to be one of my faves. Julian Gollop was the guy in charge and made games like Laser Squad, Rebelstar, Lords of Chaos, UFO, Magic & Mayhem etc.

Other ones that have to be mentioned...
Bitmap Brothers. Speedball 2 Brutal Delux, Xenon 2 Megablast, Cadaver
Sensible Software. Sensible Soccer & Cannon Fodder

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Post by Dass on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 7:15 pm

Can't believe I missed Sensible Software, kicking myself now as I loved SWOS and Cannon Fodder.

Did you ever play the coverdisk bonus games they released?.

EDIT: Their best games has to be this though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRi3TwMu-JY

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Post by ADMIN on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 11:59 pm

Haha quality!

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 12:19 am

They did a few great spoofs of their main games on the coverdisks of Amiga magazines. I'll post links to some of them below and yeah nothing will ever eclipse Sensible Trainspotting. Laugh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p69gUK70VE - Germans v English with Cannon Fodder chars and a grenade that would explode as a ball killing players who happened to be near.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ORBaEJT_PY - Cannon Soccer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3tu_GPCu4 - Apples or Oranges you decide.

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Post by ADMIN on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 9:08 am

Although I know you're not a fan anymore one that has to be mentioned...

Blizzard.

Not just for the all conquering World of Warcraft but for the likes of Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo and going even further back...Battlechess!

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 10:09 am

Although I'm not as big a fan of their games as some and I think their current CEO would have a good CV if the Prince of Darkness (Not the Ozzy Osbourne gig) job ever came up I can't deny their influence as a developer.

Also I loved Battle Chess on my Amiga and was also partial to another title of theirs Lost Vikings. Its their main titles I don't rate as highly as I found other games of the time to be superior to them, though doesn't take away that they are still great games.

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Post by liverbnz on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 10:11 am

Theme Park/Hospital were excellent Bullfrog productions. The EA remake of Theme Park showed EA up as the unimaginative, uncreative and out of touch developer that they are. The McDonalds of the (video game) developing world. There was so much potential in that line of games as well.

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Post by TwisT on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 10:14 am

How about Rockstar Games? GTA, Manhunt, Max Payne, L.A. Noire.....

In regards to Amiga, I still fire it up now and then, and Sensible Soccer would be right up there as one of my all time favourite games.

Can I add Sid Meier to the list as well. Fantastic Amiga developer that came up with the Civilisation and Railroad Tycoon. Officially the developer was MicroProse, but his name always featured on the games.

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 10:30 am

Yeah Sid Meier is fine while his games may come up as developed by either MicroProse or Firaxis he co-founded both companies and his second only creates games that have his name attached (so far anyway).

Rockstar are fine also though I'm not sure I'd include LA Noire & Max Payne in their development back catalogue, they may have published both but they didn't develop them. LA Noire was created by Team Bondi, who incidentally look like their going out of business after that one solitary game. Max Payne was originally developed by Remedy Entertainment and while Rockstar did help with the console porting, it wasn't until Max Payne 3 that Rockstar got their hands on the reigns.

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 10:34 am

liverbnz wrote:Theme Park/Hospital were excellent Bullfrog productions. The EA remake of Theme Park showed EA up as the unimaginative, uncreative and out of touch developer that they are. The McDonalds of the (video game) developing world. There was so much potential in that line of games as well.

Yeah EA didn't have a good rep for doing well with studios they acquired though they are getting better with the appointment of Riccitello in 2007. They recently announced this year a deal with GOG (Good Old Games) to sell some of the old Bullfrog games through their site now updated for modern systems, which should now mean no more random display or dos problems that often accompany older games.

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Post by liverbnz on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 2:06 pm

Dass wrote:
liverbnz wrote:Theme Park/Hospital were excellent Bullfrog productions. The EA remake of Theme Park showed EA up as the unimaginative, uncreative and out of touch developer that they are. The McDonalds of the (video game) developing world. There was so much potential in that line of games as well.

Yeah EA didn't have a good rep for doing well with studios they acquired though they are getting better with the appointment of Riccitello in 2007. They recently announced this year a deal with GOG (Good Old Games) to sell some of the old Bullfrog games through their site now updated for modern systems, which should now mean no more random display or dos problems that often accompany older games.

Well that's positive. I'd love to see a sequel to Theme Hospital. I'm not sure if the market is still there for it and I suppose that's what EA would consider most. Still, I can live in hope.

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 2:37 pm

EA are getting better at trying to do individual titles in recent years rather than just milking their franchise games. The sad fact being when they did release Mirror's Edge (EA DICE, Battlefield fame) and Dead Space (Visceral Games, formerly EA Redwood) a few years ago despite being received well and having a some flaws the sales figures never reached close to that of their franchise games.

EA is to large these days to try and back pedal to being a more innovative entity without harming its size and jobs. It has to now find the line between allowing the developers it does acquire to have more creative rights in making quality games and keeping the money spinning franchise games ticking along. In recent years Bioware, DICE and Visceral Games have shown the EA may be learning from its errors all those years ago and trying to find a more balanced approach.

As for a Theme Hospital sequel, I think EA still own the name rights but I can't see them picking it up in today's market sadly. Your best bet would be for Lionhead Studios to pick up that old thread but Peter Molyneux seems to have moved of in a different direction in recent years.

I often feel bad for EA at times they got so much stick and a lot of it was deserved but in the end there early mantra was to only keep games that were successful in a profit scenario. The main fault for me lies with the consumer while some people are banging on about new experiences the majority are voting with their wallets for the same soulless sequels or next instalments year after year. Who are EA to ignore the masses...


I even depress myself at times. Laugh

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Post by B91212 on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 5:41 pm

Dass wrote:
As for a Theme Hospital sequel, I think EA still own the name rights but I can't see them picking it up in today's market sadly. Your best bet would be for Lionhead Studios to pick up that old thread but Peter Molyneux seems to have moved of in a different direction in recent years.

My Mrs would pay good money for an up to date Theme Hospital. Even now she occasionally fires up the ancient laptop for a blast on that or one of the older Sim City's.

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Post by Dass on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 5:55 pm

B91212 wrote:
Dass wrote:
As for a Theme Hospital sequel, I think EA still own the name rights but I can't see them picking it up in today's market sadly. Your best bet would be for Lionhead Studios to pick up that old thread but Peter Molyneux seems to have moved of in a different direction in recent years.

My Mrs would pay good money for an up to date Theme Hospital. Even now she occasionally fires up the ancient laptop for a blast on that or one of the older Sim City's.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news for your Mrs but the chances of seeing either game getting a updated version any time soon is slim, Theme Hospital for previously stated reasons and Sim City as Maxis seem to be only concerned with Spore and The Sims at the current time. The fact that Maxis farmed out Sim Societies (a kind of sequel to Sim City 4, name change due to different developer and being scared of ruining the Sim City name) to a different developer doesn't bode well and from previous reading they don't seem to have faith in there being the market for such a game nowadays.

They may eventually go back to it at some point but I doubt it will be in the next 5yrs. The site Good Old Games is worth keeping an eye on especially they have now struck a deal with EA for Bullfrogs old games as they make them 7/Vista/XP compatible, meaning your Mrs might not have to keep playing them on ancient laptop due to their age. Both games are currently not on the site but the fact Populous is and it was released in 1989 suggests they should be in time.

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Post by B91212 on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 6:20 pm

Dass wrote:
B91212 wrote:
Dass wrote:
As for a Theme Hospital sequel, I think EA still own the name rights but I can't see them picking it up in today's market sadly. Your best bet would be for Lionhead Studios to pick up that old thread but Peter Molyneux seems to have moved of in a different direction in recent years.

My Mrs would pay good money for an up to date Theme Hospital. Even now she occasionally fires up the ancient laptop for a blast on that or one of the older Sim City's.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news for your Mrs but the chances of seeing either game getting a updated version any time soon is slim, Theme Hospital for previously stated reasons and Sim City as Maxis seem to be only concerned with Spore and The Sims at the current time. The fact that Maxis farmed out Sim Societies (a kind of sequel to Sim City 4, name change due to different developer and being scared of ruining the Sim City name) to a different developer doesn't bode well and from previous reading they don't seem to have faith in there being the market for such a game nowadays.

They may eventually go back to it at some point but I doubt it will be in the next 5yrs. The site Good Old Games is worth keeping an eye on especially they have now struck a deal with EA for Bullfrogs old games as they make them 7/Vista/XP compatible, meaning your Mrs might not have to keep playing them on ancient laptop due to their age. Both games are currently not on the site but the fact Populous is and it was released in 1989 suggests they should be in time.

Thanks for the info, I'll pass the bad news on to the Mrs when I get home tonight (still am here and as usual I'm posting and not doing much real work Smile ) as she constantly lives in hope of updated versions. Will also take a look at Good Old Games - it's 50/50 odds on the old laptop seeing out the year before it gives up the ghost as it's had a hard life with liquid spillages, hot food being dropped on it, some of the keys are missing and the hardware has various issues. Being able to run on the newer units in the future would be a big bonus and I may even find some stuff on there - Thanks.


Last edited by B91212 on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 6:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Missed a bit)

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Post by Shifty on Wed 21 Sep 2011, 8:20 pm

The Oliver Twins were great they made the Dizzy games on the Spectrum!

Gremlin were another they made Utopia on the snes and a few decent games.

Imagineer were also good, they made sports games on the snes including world class rugby and Kevin Keegans Player Manager.
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