Top 10 Developers We Miss
As development studios continue to fall prey to these tough times of austerity, games™ reflects on the past to present the Top 10 Developer We Miss.
10. Bizarre Creations
Years active: 1994-2011
Another great British developer whose talents were, in our opinion, squandered by a company that bought it out and didn’t know what to do with it. In Metropolis Street Racer and Project Gotham Racing, Bizarre perfected the hybrid of arcade racer and sim; in Geometry Wars it reinvented arcade games for the modern age, practically teaching the world how best to use online leaderboards in its sequel; and in The Club and Blur it continued to inject arcade game values into mainstream genre games, though, sadly, struggling to communicate those ideas to a wide audience. In its final years, Bizarre’s talent was wasted on a rushed James Bond game, depriving the world of any more of the great ideas it had up its sleeve.
Years active: 1987-2004
The original Peter Molyneux series, years before Lionhead or 22Cans, this is where the great man made his reputation with a string of highly polished and inventive computer games like Theme Park, Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper and Magic Carpet. Like many studios of the time, Bullfrog was swallowed up by EA, and though some of its IP was kept alive, the passion for new ideas and ambitious designs went with Molyneux to Lionhead.
8. Techno Soft
Years active: 1980-2001
At the height of the 2D shoot-’em-up, Techno Soft was among the very best developers in the world, thanks largely to its excellent Thunder Force series, which combined exceptional visuals, exciting music and varied gameplay to excellent effect. Sadly, the studio rarely diversified its output – its similarly accomplished pinball games remained niche, while what may be the first RTS, Herzog Zwei, was too far ahead of its time – and the team failed to move with the times and died out. Sega recently attempted to revive Techno Soft’s work with the PS2’s Thunder Force VI, but it just wasn’t the same.