Acclaim often comes to individual games, but the developers of those games often go unnoticed. However, a study published today might give due praise to the game industry's best developers. The industry trade periodical Game Developer released a study titled "Top 50 Developers 2009," a follow-up to its inaugural study in 2008. In the report, the magazine named Nintendo's Kyoto studio, Blizzard Entertainment, and Ubisoft Montreal as this year's best developers.
According to Game Developer's online sibling, Gamasutra, Nintendo was named 2009's best developer due to its "incredibly strong sales and high industry reputation." The past year saw the Shigeru Miyamoto-led studio release smash hits like the workout title Wii Fit and the cartoony racer Mario Kart Wii, which have sold 18.2 million and 15.4 million units worldwide, respectively. The site also lauded the company for Wii Play and the puzzle game Brain Age.
Second place went to Blizzard, namely for the commercial and critical success of its latest massively multiplayer online role-playing game expansion, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, which sold 2.8 million copies a day after its release. Last year, its second expansion pack to its World of Warcraft series won GameSpot's 2008 Editors' Choice award. On Game Developer's 2008 top-developer list, Blizzard was ranked third, behind Infinity Ward, the developer of the critically acclaimed shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Since the developer did not release any games in 2008, it was not eligible for ranking this year.
Rounding out the top three is Ubisoft's studio in Quebec's biggest metropolis. Buoyed by critical and commercial hits such as Far Cry 2, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, and the cel-shaded Prince of Persia reboot, the company shot up nine places after finishing 12th last year.
Game Developer's rankings were based on the retail performance of games in the US, UK, and Japan and their average scores on review aggregator Metacritic. (Metacritic is owned by GameSpot parent company CBS.) Gamasutra also released an anonymous survey that asked community members to rate game developers on reputation.
DEVELOPER - TITLES
1) Nintendo Kyoto studio - Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit
2) Blizzard Entertainment - World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
3) Ubisoft Montreal - Far Cry 2, Prince of Persia
4) Rockstar North - Grand Theft Auto IV
5) EA Canada - FIFA Soccer 09, NHL 09
6) Konami Tokyo studio - Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
7) Valve - Left 4 Dead
8) Epic Games - Gears of War 2, Unreal Tournament 3 (Xbox 360)
9) Electronic Arts Tiburon - Madden NFL 09, NASCAR 09
10) Treyarch - Call of Duty: World at War
11) HAL Laboratory - Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
12) Capcom Osaka studio - Devil May Cry 4, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
13) Traveller's Tales - Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones
14) Bethesda Game Studios - Fallout 3
15) Insomniac Games - Resistance 2, Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty
16) Namco Bandai Games Tokyo studio - Soul Calibur IV, We Ski
17) EA Redwood Shores - Dead Space, MySins
18) Koei Yokohama studio - Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI, G1 Jockey 4 2008
19) Kojima Productions - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
20) Harmonix Music Systems - Rock Band 2