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Top 10 Game Developers

Top 10 Game Developers

It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and talent to make a good game.  To make a bunch of them, though, takes something more.  Something special.  Here are the Top 10 Game Developers who have made gaming such a pleasure.

10.  Konami:  Looking back through Konami's catalogue, you see a bunch of legendary games:  Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, and Contra just to name a few.  While Konami has seen some low spots in their history (like their entire Nintendo 64 lineup), few companies have such an expansive and stellar list of titles they can boast, and upcoming entries like Metal Gear: Rising and a new Zone of the Enders title on the horizon, this old company still has some legs.  Any developer that has their own secret code has to be legit.

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9.  Bethesda:  While their number of released titles isn't as staggering as some of the other companies on this list, Bethesda proves that quality truly does outweigh quantity.  While early titles like Home Alone and Wayne Gretzky Hockey didn't exactly show their chops too well, a little series called The Elder Scrolls may have crossed your radar once or twice.  Bethesda showed us what the 360 was truly capable of with Oblivion, and pushed the envelope even farther with Fallout 3 and Skyrim, two of the best games of this generation.  They have even stepped up as a publisher as of late, releasing titles such as RAGE, Brink, and the upcoming Dishonored and Prey 2.

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8.  Blizzard:  World of Warcraft.  Diablo.  StarCraft.  Ever heard of these titles, maybe?  That's because they gross more money than even exists somehow.  Give it to Blizzard:  They may not release their games in a timely manner, but they sure know how to polish those bastards to perfection.  Blizzard knows how to make games people...lots of people...enjoy playing, and, coupled with the power and money of Activision, they seem nigh unstoppable now.  Of course though, I have neglected to talk about their crowning achievement:  The Lost Vikings.  You know you loved it.

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7.  Ubisoft:  Ubisoft may lag behind Activision and Electronic Arts as far as third-party publishers go, but their in-house development chops are second-to-none, and they are good at creating experiences you can get nowhere else.  Beyond Good & Evil, Assassin's Creed, and Rayman are some excellent and original games, and Ubisoft showed it knows how to work a license with the stellar Tom Clancy-based lineup of Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and Rainbow 6, not to mention the awesome Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  They've shown they are one of the few companies not named Nintendo who can successfully tackle the Wii, and it was announced today that the Just Dance series just surpassed 6.7 trillion copies sold.  Seriously.

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6.  BioWare:  BioWare isn't just good.  They are freaking smart.  I mean, two of the guys in charge of the company are doctors...like House.  That's all the incentive I need to buy their games!  It also doesn't hurt that titles like Dragon Age, Knight of the Old Republic, and a little series called Mass Effect are among the best games you'll ever find in terms of storytelling.  They've conquered every challenge put in front of them:  They reached new levels of game interconnection with the Mass Effect trilogy, they are crushing the MMO space with the stellar The Old Republic, and they created a good Sonic game (The Dark Brotherhood) outside the Sega Genesis!  I'm not sure which is the most impressive.

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5.  Square Enix:  I'll be honest with you.  Square Enix would probably place higher on this list, but I have a feeling their best days may be behind them.  That's not to say they aren't producing good work now, especially in the publishing department with hits like Final Fantasy X-III, Deus Ex and the upcoming Hitman: Evolution and Tomb Raider.  However, will they ever be able to match the brilliance of games like the early Final Fantasy games, Secret of Mana,  SaGa Frontier and Parasite Eve?  Only time will tell, but, for now, Square Enix remains the standard for RPGs. 

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4.  Capcom:  Capcom can field more recognizable mascots than most entire consoles.  Besides being one of the oldest third-party developers around, they have consistently created good games with the times. Mega Man, Street Fighter, Breath of Fire, Resident Evil, and Devil May Cry are among their venerable portfolio, and show that they can develop any genre for any platform.  The departure of several key creative leaders has been a major hit to the company recently, but Capcom continues to be one of the premiere heavy hitters in the industry.

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3.  Rockstar:  When you play a Rockstar game, there is usually little doubt that you are playing a Rockstar game.  While Grand Theft Auto is the recognizable flagship of the company, smash-hits Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne, Bully and Midnight Club are all examples of Rockstar's fine craftsmanship.  They also have a knack for licensed games, creating one of the best ever in 2005's The Warriors.  With a fierce identity and incredible talent, Rockstar certainly live up to their name, and continue to step up their game with every release.

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2.  Valve:  While it may be odd that a company founded in 1996 with only a handful of full-fledged releases, most of which were based off of mods of existing games, could be the number two developer on this list, to look at it that would be to miss the forest for the trees.  Games like Portal, Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress are played with a fervor unmatched in the video game world.  Their online distribution service Steam is one of the greatest things on the Internet, and they have one of the most out-spoken and charismatic leaders around in Gabe Newell.  They mod their own great games into better games, they have their own successful Source engine, and Steam owns almost every distribution service out there.  Simply put, Valve rocks.

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1.  Nintendo:  Is it even possible to overstate the importance of Nintendo's game development on the industry as a whole?  I don't think so.  Besides creating legendary franchises like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, and Star Fox, most of Nintendo's games play like textbooks on good game design.  How many games hold up as well as Nintendo games over the long haul?  Almost every new installment of their flagship franchises manages to innovate in some spectacular way, they are still leading the console war, and they're handheld gaming portfolio beats some entire home consoles.  Nintendo single-handedly changed the way we game, not once, but multiple times, and are the best game developer ever.

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