EGMR Awards 2015: Developer Of The Year
We owe a lot to developers, without them we wouldn’t have been able to experience the worlds we’ve come to love. Year after year developers are hard at work creating games for us to enjoy, crafting incredible works that we will talk about for years to come. The incredible amount of effort these developers put into their work deserve as much praise as humanly possible for what they deliver to us. The following developers have gone above and beyond Call of Duty to provide us with incredible experiences both in and out of their games, which is why they are some of the best developers of 2015.
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This award is very difficult to hand out. Developers often bring out more than one game each year, maybe multiple amazing ones and a few not-so-great ones, or simply just one game – so you can see why we can’t judge on quantity. Naturally it’s quality we’re looking for, but that’s not the sole contributor, since there are also many quality games out there that continue to be released with each passing month. So how exactly do we hand out this award? Well, we take a look at the games that come out and think long and hard at what they accomplished and what the developers accomplished with them. The developers that take risks and are rewarded, go out of their way to bring something we gamers want, those who try their best to please us, working hard all the way, and never turning their backs on us – all of these are contributors to receiving this award. Whether it’s going the extra mile to make us happy, giving us something special in addition to their game or being genuine and sincere in what they’re doing, we feel it’s necessary to give credit where it’s due. The kind of games where we can clearly see the developers love and passion shine through are singled out.
Bethesda know exactly what their fans want. This probably explains why they kept Fallout 4 under wraps for so long. They knew that whenever they let out details for the next Fallout games fans were going to want to get their hands on the game as soon as they possibly could. The time between the announcement and release of Fallout 4 is probably one of the shorter periods we’ve seen with upcoming releases. Bethesda know what they’re doing with their games and while fans may question their methods at times, they have yet to deliver something not enjoyable. On top of their delivery of Fallout 4 this year they have detailed how they plan to close the gap between their fans by bringing mod support to the console versions of their game. Most developers would have just left it at having their game on console, but Bethesda knew exactly what to do to please their devoted fanbase. This is why they are held with such high regard as well as being one of the best developers this year.
CD Projekt RED
Besides running one of the only real alternatives to Steam, CD Projekt Red also delivered one of the best games we’ve ever seen this year, in the best possible way. In an age when we see more DLC for a game than content in the actual game, CD Project Red bucks the trend in the best way possible. Not only did they release The Witcher 3 as a massive game packed with content, but they proceeded to release a fair amount of free DLC that players would normally be charged for. CD Projekt Red does a lot for their players and they also treat them with a lot of respect. They understand the importance of the relationship between developers and players, which explains the mutual respect that exists in this relationship. Of course they do have some shortcomings, but they way they handle themselves and the quality content they produce is what makes them such incredible developers.
Kojima Productions’ story is a little more tragic than that of the rest of our nominees. We all know what Kojima Productions are capable of and what they have produced in the past. They have managed to produce some incredible games with their Metal Gear Solid series and when Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain edged closer and closer to release, no one could possible blame you for being excited. Metal Gear Solid V was set to be a masterpiece, the final piece in the Metal Gear Solid saga that would give loyal fans the closure they deserved. This is unfortunately what players received. While in any other situation this would be seen as a failure, not a reason to celebrate but there is a lot more to it than just this. While Metal Gear Solid V managed to divide the fanbase, it’s quite difficult to claim it was a bad game. The game was incredibly well designed and played like a dream, it was an incredibly good game that was marred by a lackluster Metal Gear Solid experience. Even though this is the case, Kojima Productions need to be celebrated. The fact of the matter is is that it’s difficult to produce the game you want to when a publisher is actively getting in the way. Konami did more harm than good to Kojima Productions and this seriously harmed Metal Gear Solid V, and this is why we think they are some of the best developers. Kojima Productions, in the face of a terrible situation, managed to produce an incredible game under terrible circumstances which shows their incredible ability as developers.
There’s just something special about developers who are willing to go the extra mile to entertain their fans. Not only did Nicalis produce the incredibly enjoyable but unforgiving The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, but they also decided to take the game’s fans on an incredibly well thought out scavenger hunt. In order to unlock the The Keeper character in the game, fans had to participate in an intricate Alternate Reality Game that saw players go on real-world expeditions in order to solve the mystery and unlock the new character. This saw players having to make use of Twitter, pre-recorded voicemails and a bit of scavenging in order to unlock The Keeper. This incredibly complicated event saw fans having to work together to solve this mystery that came with the Rebirth expansion, Afterbirth. While you may want to argue that this incredibly well thought out Alternate Reality Game pales in comparison to some of the other productions we’ve seen this year, we firmly believe that Nicalis did something incredible by making the effort to create such an intricate event using everything they had at their disposal. Nicalis did something extremely different and interesting that made use of every available resource they had to develop an incredibly unique event that could be used by more developers to produce similar excitement within their communities.
It takes a lot to produce some of the incredible games we get to play. The worlds and characters lend themselves to stories that we begin to love and hold dear to us. To take some well established franchises and develop them in a way to improve them and make them into your own, well that takes something special. Telltale Games have gotten this down to an art and have provided incredible games while they’ve been at it. Telltale has managed to take beloved franchises and make sure you’ve fallen in love with them again before you’re through. Telltale have done a lot of things right when it comes to the story of their games and a long the way set the standard for episodic gaming. They seemingly revived the adventure game genre and improved on it along the way. Even if Telltale have had some hit or miss games in the past, their recent offerings have shown the quality of their development and why they deserve to be taken note of.
We’re honouring developers we loved this year, who gave us more than just their games, and for that reason we aren’t going to dissect why any studio didn’t win the award. Ideally they’re all winners, but our choice for the number one spot is one we felt most passionately about and it really doesn’t take away anything from the rest. It only goes to say that one developer stood out as most deserving of recognition.
What is there to be said about CD Projeckt Red that hasn’t already been said? They seem to hit all the right notes as developers and deserve all the praise we are able to give them. Not only did they produce one of the best games to come out this year, but they have also managed to generate and extremely dedicated following due to their treatment of their players and how they’ve shown them their appreciation. You don’t often get to feel like a developer has the players best interests at heart, but CD Projekt Red has managed to do just that this year. CD Projekt Red have have blown our expectations of developers away and that is why we see them as the Developer of the Year for 2015.