By now, the term 'Next-gen' has transformed itself into 'Current-gen' in the minds of videogame enthusiasts. Gamers all across the world have seen what the consoles are capable of, played the cream of the crop, bickered about which version has more Trees, etc.
While there have been a few flops this Gen (Yes, we're looking at YOU Too Human & Lair) there have certainly been plenty of hits. With excellent software having been released for all 3 platforms, we turn our attention to the teams behind the software.
#5- Nintendo EAD (Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports, LOZ: Twilight Princess)
Nintendo's dramatic shift into casual gaming caused a lot of anger and complaints: "Why all the casual games?!?", "Do they even care about core gamers?!! "What The heck is WiiFit?", all these were questions thrown at the Japanese video game juggernaut.
While it's clear the 'Old Nintendo' is long gone, the 'new' Nintendo still has the most valuable feature of the departed: The ability to produce kick-butt games. Mario Galaxy is a shining example of what Nintendo EAD has brought to the table this gen; Innovative gameplay that is pure fun to play through.
Though Nintendo EAD's Online efforts are virtually non-existent, their continued efforts in producing great offline games have been met with nothing but success and praise from gamers worldwide.
#4- Epic Games (Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War 1 & 2)
Whether you're a fan of Cliff Blezinski or not, there's no denying the brilliant work his team have done this generation. Gears of War 1 was both a critical and commercial success, having sold 5.5 Million copies worldwide and receiving unanimous praise for its innovative gameplay mechanics.
Epic Games not only delivered a great single player experience in Gears of War, they also managed to fit in a great Online multiplayer component which to this very day is still actively played. With Gears of War 2 launching on November 7th, Xbox 360 owners eagerly await the next installment in the Gears of War universe.
#3- Kojima Productions (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
It wouldn't be far-fetched to say Hideo Kojima, father of the Metal Gear Solid series, is a genius. Metal Gear Solid 4 is arguably the best video game title to have been released in the past 10 Years; A phenomenal storyline coupled with gripping cinematics, outstanding gameplay coupled with flawless controls, and a well balanced Online component that perfectly blends into the Metal Gear Solid world.
In short, it was a masterpiece. There isn't much more to say other than Kojima Productions next title will be one of the most anticipated video game releases of this generation.
#2- Criterion Games (Burnout Paradise)
Welcome to Paradise City! When Criterion Games revealed that the next installment in the Burnout series would be 'open world', many concerns were raised; How would Criterion pull off Burnout gameplay in an open-world environment?
Thankfully, the code monkeys over at Criterion knew exactly how they would pull it off, and needless to say, they pulled it off fantastically. With no loading screens nor menus, Criterion created a seamless and unique racing experience that embodies the Web 2.0 concept to the fullest.
But it isn't just the outstanding Online and offline gameplay in their latest game that earns them the #2 spot: It's their continued support for the game. Never has a developer supported their game after release as much as Criterion Games has, and this is what sets them apart from the pack this generation.
#1- Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, Resistance 1 & 2)
From a cute purple Dragon to a not so cute Alien with razor-sharp teeth, Insomniac Games have come a long way. With each Playstation platform, Insomniac have delivered a stand-out game that hosts a stand-out character; For the Ps1 generation, Insomniac introduced Spyro the Dragon.
For the PS2 generation, Insomniac introduced Ratchet & Clank. And for this generation, Insomniac Games have introduced Nathan Hale, a character whom neither has a Purple tail nor fuzzy Yellow ears. Resistance: Fall of Man was Insomniacs first title for this generation, and it was a massive success.
The PlayStation 3 launch title has sold over 3.5 Million copies to date, and is arguably the most technically impressive video game launch title ever released. So why was Resistance 1 a true show of developer talent?
For one, Insomniac Games had never developed a First Person Shooter game prior to Resistance 1, it was truly a feat for the developer to nail the first person perspective gameplay coming from a 3rd person perspective only background. Two, the game had a stunning presentation- An atmosphere of battle and extra-terrestrial violence like never seen before in a video game.
Finally, Resistance 1 was the first console game to boast 40 Player Online gameplay, something which other developers have yet to match to this very date. Insomniac Games not only released a superb first person shooter this generation, but they also debuted one of the first videogame developer podcasts titled "The Full Moon Show", a podcast which is made available Online on the first of every month.
With the incredible amount of talent at Insomniac Games, it's no surprise the sequel to Resistance 1 is one of the most hotly anticipated videogame release of the year. More PlayStation 3 News...