10 up-and-coming devs you need to know about

As much as gaming is getting bigger, bolder and in many ways better all the time, it’s also in permanent danger of stagnating. We live in an era of safe bets and sequels, wherein a handful of tentpole developers and franchises hold up the whole damn tent, and as great as their stuff usually is, the same great stuff can only stay great for so long.

Every so often we need a big injection of brand new fun, and thankfully we seem to be gearing up for one of those right this very second. Whether all-new teams, new dream team groupings of talent from previous devs or established thumb-pleasers who are now really getting into their stride, this new guard of game-makers is brewing a healthy new pot of fun right now, and over the next year or two we’ll all be drinking deep from it. Here are the up-and-coming devs who are going to be making your screens grin with joy very very soon.

Hello Games


They are:

The most brand-shiny-new team on this list, Hello Games is a four-man crack squad of fun-mongers with a collective history spread over a broad selection of your favourite games. A tight team of friends who’ve honed their trade making games for the likes of EA, Criterion, Kuju and Sega, they’ve now struck out on their own with the sole intention of bringing fun, creativity and charm back into gaming in a big way. You know, those things that made us all love video games in the first place, before the grim-faced space marine slapheads marched in and painted everything with a clotting splatter of blood-red emo.

They've already done:

Between them, Hello’s team has previously worked on the Burnout series, BlackVirtua Tennis 3Sega Superstars Tennis and Geometry Wars: Galaxies.

You should care about them because:

Let’s face it, the things that Hello is promising through its mission statement of making you “so excited you’ll cry rainbows” are exactly the things we need a hell of a lot more of in gaming right now. With that sort of thinking, a solid gold track record creating jubilant digital Good Times at their previous companies, and a gleeful collective reverence of the glory days of the SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis, these are clearly good people doing good things. We can’t tell you exactly what those good things are right now, but as soon as the time is right we will do so with a deliciously excitable ferver.

Twisted Pixel Games

They are:

A small but slick and damnably idea-packed company founded in 2006 who specialise in clever and characterful games for Xbox Live Arcade. Founded by three long-time video game veterans-for-hire, Twisted Pixel has not a jot of respect for the foolish idea that downloadable games have to skimp on either scope or quality, so far hammering out two XBLA games with full-fat content and dripping with sweet, creamy production values. Tightly designed, hardcore experiences that anyone can enjoy, Twisted Pixel’s works play like a dream and are funny as hell, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, consider this your marching orders.

They've already done:

The Maw and Splosion Man.

You should care about them because:

Twisted Pixel started out strong with 3D adventure The Maw early this year, and rapidly followed that up with the absolutely glorious cavalcade of 2D invention that is Splosion Man (a game with which Dave H and Matt developed a swift and all-consuming obsession this summer).

With its games getting more ambitious and more fun with every release, the next one, Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley, is an ungodly exciting prospect. The trailer is packed with the now trademark Twisted Pixel personality, and although few gameplay details have been revealed, Gunstar Heroes has been mentioned as an influence. BLOODY GUNSTAR HEROES!

Next: Combat witches and drive-by shootings.

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • misfit119 - September 30, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    Dead Space blows anything that RE5 has to offer right the hell out of the water. Its atsmosphere is much more immersive, the gameplay feels much tighter, the hordes of enemies make the ability to move and shoot not a luxury but a necessity and it's overall one of the best games I"ve played in recent memory. However it's repetitive as hell and you spend a lot of time in samey looking areas, yes. But RE5 was just as repetitive even if the backgrounds changed. Plus Dead Space spared us any ridiculously stupid Gears of War inspired segments and replaced it with an annoying, but not quite as annoying, turret section. That said I'm actually looking forward to Dante's Inferno more than GoW3. GoW3 looks fantastic but so does DI. GoW3 looks to play almost exactly like the previous game, simply on a bigger scale. But both of them have crazy presentation and huge battles going on... I'll tip my hat to DI. At least that game has a protagonist who'se main motivation isn't "His boundless rage" but something more, ya know, interesting.
  • iluvmyDS - September 28, 2009 4:48 p.m.

    Love most of them already, especially Chair and Twisted Pixel. :D
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - September 28, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    agreeing with John117 that media molecole should have been on there. I loved (and still do) LittleBigPlanet. But nice artical anyways GR!
  • legory - September 27, 2009 5:01 p.m.

    I've known about Twisted Pixel far before 'Splosion Man. Which I can say I'm proud of.
  • John-117 - September 27, 2009 7:07 a.m.

    I think you probably missed the greatest up and coming development studio, Media Molecule. They're incredibly small but were still able to make the amazing LittleBigPlanet. I agree with pretty much all the studios mentioned but this list is missing its best entry.
  • Spybreak8 - September 27, 2009 5:04 a.m.

    Yea thx for the article, Twisted Pixel looks like a great little studio. As for me, I'm looking around, just graduated with Game Art & Design degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online! Level Designer for me so def looked at Visceral!
  • gmilf71 - September 27, 2009 4:14 a.m.

    Wait a minute, clover studios did okami.
  • Tomsta666 - September 27, 2009 1:44 a.m.

  • TheWebSwinger - September 26, 2009 10:03 p.m.

    This article encouraged me to take a look at that Comic Jumper game, and now I can't wait to play it! Another great one, GR. p.s. Dante's Inferno > GoW3? Come oooon.
  • lovinmyps3 - September 26, 2009 4:47 p.m.

    Let's hope at least a couple of these guys can join the ranks of Infinity Ward, Kojima Productions, and Rockstar!
  • GMAN2 - September 26, 2009 4:20 p.m.

    What about the people making Brink?
  • crumbdunky - September 26, 2009 4:08 p.m.

    Only "1 or 2 Radar editors" think DS hammers RE5? Are all the rest deaf, blind and dim? Fact is DS is twice the SP game that RE5 is and whether in co-op or "babysitting big bum" SP mode RE5 just isn't survival horror and certainly isn't a real Resi game. Dead Space is so much the kind of game RE5 should have been that it's really not amusing anymore-and the relative sales of the two games show what a sheep minded bunch we gamers have become when something new and amazing is overlooked because of a great name for a bunch of piffle from Capcom which derails one of the proudest franchise histories in console gaming. No justice whatsoever, imo.
  • caboose4400 - September 26, 2009 1:04 p.m.

    cra....cra.......crackdown 2?.......please excuse me while i go cry out in enjoyment for there IS a god
  • Diosjenin - September 26, 2009 11:17 a.m.

    Where the hell is Tale of Tales on this list?
  • Tommykrem - September 26, 2009 8:42 a.m.

    What about Tumbleweed studios? They are working on a game called Umami for PSN. It looks great, and they're way more up and coming than Black Rock Studios.
  • Pumbli - September 26, 2009 8:12 a.m.

    I was wondering... Shouldn't Media Molecule be on there? I mean it's not lke they've been around for a very long time and the few games they've released have been pretty good.
  • cart00n - September 25, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    As I keep myself aware of all things gamey, I knew of every dev on this list. Nice to have them all collected on one list, tho'... reCaptcha: the quavery
  • moonwalk_mafia - September 25, 2009 7:32 p.m.

    I was gonna flip a shit if Twisted Pixel was not mentioned here, but alas, you saved my shit from being flipped. TP is fantastic, and Splosion Man was one of the best and most addictive arcade games I played all summer. And the original songs they made for the game were hilarious! For the rest of my life, whenever I eat a donut that song will pop into my head
  • destroyerofall - September 25, 2009 6:21 p.m.

    I WANT to like Dante's Inferno... But the game is just so heavily saturated with unoriginality, I just have 2 turn away in disgust. Same feeling I get when I see Quantum Theory... Reminds me of when devs would just do a pallette-swap & call it a new character. I don't expect every game 2 break the mold, but COME ON!
  • Hurricrane - September 25, 2009 6:01 p.m.

    I LOVE all these devs, really glad you recognized Chair though, they have been amazing with only 3 games in the pocket