The gaming industry is home to hundreds of talented developers who tirelessly pour their passion into crafting the titles we play. These individuals work long hours (maybe even too long) to ensure that the games we dive into are as immersive and entertaining as they can be. Though a lot of titles aren’t received too well by critics or fans, the people behind them deserve our unyielding respect for all of their hard work. The following are the studios that haven’t made a single bad game so far.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Rockstar North
The fact that Grand Theft Auto V is the most profitable entertainment property in existence should give video game fans an indication that its main studio, Rockstar North, certainly knows what its doing. Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, San Andreas, Chinatown Wars, Vice City, and Max Payne 3 are only some of the stellar titles to be found within the company’s portfolio. It’s hard to believe that all of these games came from just one studio, given how each has earned top ratings from critics across the industry. However, given the studio’s harsh working conditions over the years, maybe making classic games at the expense of others isn’t always worth it.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog has evolved from a studio responsible for Mortal Kombat rip-offs to one that’s in charge of delivering PlayStation’s greatest exclusives. That’s not to say that the company’s games before Crash Bandicoot were bad, but many were uninspired. It wasn’t until the studio crafted the orange marsupial’s titles that it began building a reputation for itself. Jak and Daxter and Uncharted put Naughty Dog on fans’ radars, then The Last of Us came and transformed how we dissect the medium. If you haven’t played one of the studio’s games before, you need to fix that right away. And, similar to Rockstar, Naughty Dog does make Game of the Year-quality games but at a cost of sadistic crunch periods.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Ninja Theory
Ninja Theory hasn’t been afraid to explore different genres and topics since its inception in 2000. Novel adventures like Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West were developed by the studio, and the company helped contribute to the incredibly popular Disney Infinity series. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the studio’s most recent game, is a profound study of mental illness and even gave portion of the game’s initial profits to Mental Health America and started a charity for mental health tutors.
Some may argue that the studio’s Devil May Cry reboot, DmC, isn’t worthy of praise due to its redesign of Dante, but there’s no denying that the title adopted the franchise’s signature hack and slash style incredibly well. It’s no wonder why Microsoft acquired the company earlier this year. Ninja Theory will most likely impress again with its next title.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Retro Studies
Retro Studios had the difficult task of creating mature exclusive titles for Nintendo’s GameCube. The studio succeeded via its Metroid Prime trilogy, which saw bounty hunter Samus Aran battle space pirates and strange experiments on several different alien planets. Retro Studios went on to revive Donkey Kong Country from there, reintroducing fans to the clever platforming mechanics the series is known for. No one knows what the company is up to nowadays, though a good guess would be that it’s working hard on a Switch title. However, there have been claims that the studio is currently in disarray and that the crunch periods making Metroid Prime were pretty intense.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – CD Projekt Red
Though CD Projekt Red has only released a handful of games so far, the studio has firmly marked its place as a reliable source of quality video game entertainment. The first Witcher title stunningly recreated Andrzej Sapkowski’s literary world with great attention to detail. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings introduced a more complex narrative that changed depending on which faction players aligned themselves with. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt upped the production values yet again, producing one of the most fleshed out and mesmerizing games of the console generation.
CD Projekt Red has also made great games at a cost—the studio has also been accused of killer crunch periods and said it is “not for everyone.”
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Valve
Before it became synonymous with Steam, Valve was known for popular PC franchises like Half-Life, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Portal. The company isn’t afraid to explore unique ideas and play around with the conventions of game mechanics. As especially evidenced in Portal, Valve has a knack for thoughtful game design and down-to-earth writing that keeps players hooked indefinitely. It’s a shame that the studio doesn’t develop games quite as often as it used to, though fans do have Artifact to keep them busy for now.
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Blizzard
Though it can be argued that Blizzard’s work in the 90s doesn’t hold up well today, it’s hard to deny the studio’s pedigree. Responsible for massive franchises like World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, the company knows how to craft imaginative video game properties with sustainable business models. Blizzard is a trendsetter that knows its market, allowing it to polish new projects to perfection before they release. The company holds its own convention every year, which is a good indication that there’s a healthy amount of fans out there.
Blizzard has been known to crunch but some figures from the studio have said that it is handling crunch better by sending people home to rest. This is part of them taking mental health care seriously since they “put a lot of a pressure on [themselves].”
Studios That Haven’t Made a Bad Game – Rocksteady
Video game titles based off of popular entertainment franchises didn’t have a great reputation before Rockstar released Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first game in the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham trilogy. The studio isn’t known for much outside of the caped crusader, though it did develop one game called Urban Chaos: Riot Response for PlayStation 2 and Xbox back in 2006, which garnered an average score of 73.
Since the aforementioned Arkham titles, Rockstar has been relatively quiet. Rumors suggest that it’s working on another DC property, though only time will tell for sure what the company has up its sleeves. As opposed to most studios on this list, GamesIndustry.biz gave an award to Rocksteady for being one of the best places to work for in the U.K. games industry.
The developers above shouldn’t discredit the hours of hard work that other developers contribute to the massive projects they work on. This especially true given how a good portion of them probably risk their health and social life too much for these highly regarded games. Gaming is filled to the brim with ridiculously gifted developers that should be celebrated every day for the long hours they work. And this industry should adapt and evolve to make sure studios can make these fantastic games without burning out its talent and sending them to other industries or an early retirement.