I gotta believe!

There seems to be more than the usual amount of kvetching going on around here, particularly in the Castlevania thread, about the good old days of gaming. So to buck the trend a bit, which developers do you see as the most promising, and why? The new generation of consoles that is almost upon us will likely be more of an evolution than a revolution, so talented devs are going to be more important than ever.

NOTE: I do NOT want most wanted games - most everyone can say they look forward to Gears of War and/or Oblivion because they’ve seens snatches of them. “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” and blah blah blah.

  1. Team Ico
    Shadow of the Colossus was great, but showed the limitations of the PS2 to handle advanced lighting techniques (without the aid of digital output and a HD screen at least) and vast open spaces. Their next gen games ought to be even better.

  2. Team Prince of Persia
    Despite its misteps in terms of characterization and ratio of combat/platforming, PoP2 showed that the devs honestly listen to feedback about their games in addition to having a keen feel for what modern platformers are missing. PoP3 looks to be even better, but whether it truely is the last PoP game in a trilogy as the devs protest or not, the games they will make for the next generation ought to be splendid.

  3. Q Entertainment/Team Lumines
    From Space Channel 5 through Rez and Lumines and Meteos, Mizoguchi has constantly defied or surpassed expectations and put an indeliably personal touch on his games. Even if Ninty-Nine Nights isn’t all that, Mizoguchi has shown himself to be both talented and versatile, I look forward to his future projects. The question is not whether his next games will innovate as his older games have, but rather WHAT they will innovate.

Not to burst your bubble, but “Team Prince of Persia” didn’t actually do Warrior Within. There was some minor crossover, but the core team has been working on another game since SoT.

Retro: They succesfully did with Metroid what Konami can’t seem to do with Castlevania. I have nothing but high hopes for these guys going forward.

Harmonix: They make great rhythm games. If they decide to support the Revolution I can see a lot of promising interesting new games coming from them. Even if they don’t I still see them doing good stuff.

Insomniac: The Ratchet series has been rock solid, best action/platformers of the current generation in my opinion.

I completely agree, but they need to tell Nintendo to butt the fuck out. The Metroid Prime games are awesome, with the exception of all the goddamned timewasting bullshit tacked on to the end.

“What the fuck do you mean I have to go through the entire game again, looking for invisible objects based on some weak hints?”

And my addition to the thread is the KOTOR team at Bioware, who are currently doing Mass Effect.

Casey Hudson, the producer and creative mind behind the game, is a huge Deus Ex fan, and I’m absolutely sure that he’ll blow people away with the game. Really hyped to see what him and his team can do. Also, I’m pretty sure that the people who tend to turn each bioware game in to the same game with different graphics aren’t involved with this one, so it quite possibly will be the best Bioware game to date.

Team 2d Castlevania:
Well, they’ve just been on a tear ever since Symphony of the Night. The first two GBA ones were just ok, but Aria and Dawn are the two best Castlevanias ever, and they show no signs of slowing down. This is my favorite series/franchise overall, and if they release an entry in it as good as Dawn of Sorrow every year, I’ll be happy.

I thought Morrowind was just ok, but they own the Fallout license now, and the first two Fallouts are my two favorite games ever, so, as your title put it, I gotta believe.

Piranha Bytes:
Meanwhile, these guys are making extraordinary and rather unique RPGs that are some of the best ever. Or one of the best ever, anyway. Gothic 2 was amazing and with Night of the Raven, it’s even better. I’m eagerly anticipating Gothic 3, but I’m maybe even more curious to see what they do after that, because I believe they’ve already said it won’t be more Gothic.

Say what you want about them, but Nintendo is really doing some great games these days. Their ability to innovate in hardware and build games around that hardware is a unique strength of theirs; it’s already paid off on the DS and I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the Revolution.

Lumines was mediocre in my view, and the upcoming PSP version of Every Extend has almost nothing to do with them, but based on the strength of Rez and Lumines, Q just has to be on this list.

Arc System Works:
Less and less people seem to appreciate them, but man, Arc understands 2d fighting games like no one else. Each new iteration of Guilty Gear is a thing of beauty, and their upcoming Fist of the North Star game looks great too.

Team Katamari Damacy guy:
Please make a game that isn’t Katamari Damacy. I’d like to know what else is kicking around inside that head.

I liked KOTOR2 a lot, but I think they’ll do even better once they start opening their horizons a bit more, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.


I actually think they’re getting better, not worse. I can’t honestly say I’m super excited about what they’ll do in the future, but I feel like they’ll continue to be a reliable producer of just plain good games.

Kind of a dark horse here, and I know you said we shouldn’t harp about games that we’ve already seen, but man, doesn’t Gun look so cool? But seriously, it’s not just that; it’s that they’re branching out, and if they can make games as rock solid as Tony Hawk in any number of different genres, that’s something to be really, really excited about.

Edit: Man how could I forget Nippon Ichi? That’s what they get for not making a DS/GBA game, I guess.

Oops, thought this was a thread about PaRappa.

What ever happened to those devs by the way?

What ever happened to those devs by the way?[/quote]

NanaOn-Sha. Did a some more cool games including the awesome VibRibbon. They just finished a DS Tamagotchi game.

Damm got to this thread late, and my favorites have been posted already:)

Tilted Mill: Love the city builder series and can’t wait to see Caesar 4.

EA La I think ( the development team from WestWood). Loved the command and conquer series and have high hopes for the next LOTR RTS.

That’s all I can think of right now.

Bioware. What can I say? I can complain all day about their games, but with the exception of Jade Empire, I still play the fuck out of them. I complain because I love.

Its funny that no one has mentioned Squarenix yet - just less than 3 years ago with FFX out and XI, XII and KH on the horizon they were still hot stuff. They pretty much fell off the face of the earth after Kingdom Hearts 1 didn’t they?

Well, KH2 is still on the way, and it is on my top 5 most wanted list. Loved the first game. FF no longer grabs me like it did before part VII (the modern era of FF, I guess).

I’ll vote Nippon Ichi, and the guys making Shin Megami and DDS. Those are slick games that innovate and use new settings.

Preach on, my brother! Finally somebody mentions Nippon Ichi and Altus (the SMT guys). I’ll second those, and also Arc (best fighting games ever made), Bethesda (delay Oblivion all you want, guys – I won’t have the system for it for a while yet), Squarenix (although I really need to catch up on their releases of the last few years) and Tilted Mill (I’d kill a nun for Caesar 4 – but then I never liked nuns), and add Sid Meier’s Sid Meier, Elemental (makers of SR2), Battlefront (the Combat Mission dudes), and Shrapnel (Dominions 2). Probably some more I can’t think of at the moment.

I definitely have a pronounced soft spot for Paradox (Hearts of Iron 2, Crusader Kings). Don’t know if I can include them on this list, though, because I’ve really only scratched the surface of the six or so Paradox games I have. I keep promising myself a huge Russia campaign in HoI 2, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. So really it’s like I have at least two really good and mostly untouched Paradox games waiting for me – it’s harder to get excited about new releases that way.

I’ll grudgingly include Bioware and Obsidian. KotOR and KotOR 2 were the most flawed and disappointing games I’ve loved playing in the past couple of years. If that sounds like a left-handed compliment to you, IT IS. But it’s a compliment nonetheless, and I do think they may create some really amazing stuff in the future. So I guess I’m with Angie on this one.

I haven’t played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, but I hear they’re awesome, so I have high hopes for the creators.

Troika belongs on the rubbish heap of history. Arcanum was a bunch of tedious crap, a broken combat/experience system, and horrible horrible graphics, all made intolerable by my love of steampunk, which raised my anticipation for the game to a boiling, eviscerating level. ToEE was a dungeon crawl, whoop-te-do. And Vampire: Bloodlines… hmm, I take it back. Troika belongs in the SEWER of history.

Edit: Subsequent posts have made me realize two truly shameful omissions on my part: Creative Assembly (It’s entirely possible that I’ve spent more time with the Total War games than any other series) and Irrational (my only problem with FFv3R was that it was too short). I am still waiting for Irrational to do other eras of comic books – a game inspired by the X-Men of the late eighties and early ninties would be the sweet nectar of the gods to me.

Irrational - when you start with a game like System Shock 2 (that showed a rare understanding of the source material) you have to watch them! The FF games have also shown their desire to go their own way.

Starbreeze - Riddick was “just an FPS” but it was done with such style and polish, again understanding the source material, that I eagerly await their future output.

There are others, but these two sprang to mind immediately.

Bioware are my favorite current dev. Making what is IMO the best single player CRPG ever (Baldur’s Gate 2) buys them a lot of good will, and following with KOTOR didn’t hurt. I wasn’t crazy about NWN but need to try Platinum with the Hordes expansion to give it another shot. Would have played Jade Empire but for lack of an Xbox. :(

Other than that, Spiderweb are good; Rome TW made me a sudden fan of Creative Assembly; and err that’s all I can think of at the moment.

*: The as-yet-and-probably-never-will-be developer of the next Tribes game that is actually an epic team-based combat game, not flying deathmatch. I’m still hurt by Irrational Australia, whose ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be a lot of fun’ I bought into hook, line, and sinker.

Less fussy, real responses:

Nintendo: Can’t believe how great the DS line-up is, especially since I thought the DS was a huge misstep.

Chronic Logic: I haven’t forgotten Gish. Platformers are still a favorite, and I loved how one fundamental change in movement/interaction made the standard sewer-crawl fun again. Plus the art direction was back-of-spiral-notebook great. Sadly, I’m not sure they’re really functioning as a developer anymore.

You’ll be saddened to know that there is no Starbreeze anymore. All the devs were canned after Riddick for PC shipped. It’s just a shell studio now.


You’ll be saddened to know that there is no Starbreeze anymore. All the devs were canned after Riddick for PC shipped. It’s just a shell studio now.[/quote]

That’s why unquestioning faith in a dev is probably misplaced. LucasArts started out brilliant, went to heck. Same for Sierra On-Line. Now, I’m wondering whether Blizzard has any magic left.

Although past performance is no guarantor of future success, here are some companies I believe will dazzle me within 2 years, and the reason I feel that way;

Nintendo-Including APE (Fire Emblem, Paper Mario Gamecube)
Capcom-Resident Evil 4
Treasure- Heroes (Gunstar and Guardian)
Squaresoft-The Final Fantasy Series

On an unrelated note, why do companies insist on calling their turn based SRPG’s “Tactics?” Wouldn’t it be better to just call them, “FE.” Honesty is the best policy. (I ask because Suikoden Tactics is coming out soon, and it keeps me up at work.)