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

When they break big, you can say you loved them all along

They are:

A London-based studio born out of the ashes of the really quite legendary Argonaut (inventors of the SNES’ Super FX 3D chip, and co-developer of StarFox, 16-bit tech aficionados). Rocksteady’s first game was the innovative but slightly scrappy FPS Urban Chaos: Riot Response on the PS2 and Xbox, but in the three years since that the studio has made a serial-killer-insane jump in output quality, via a certain game based around a cape-flapping psycho vigilante.

They’ve already done:

As Rocksteady,UC:RRandBatman: Arkham Asylum. The Greek warrior-monickered company that spawned Rocksteady put out a staggering amount of stuff.

You should care about them because:

Batman: Arkham Asylum. That’s all you need to know. That such a young studio can make a leap from the likes ofRiot Responseto a genuine, bona fide game-of-the-year contender in such a short time makes Rocksteady a very serious prospect from now on. Creatively, artistically and in terms of technical mastery, we’ve seen very few games over the last few years match whatis achieved in Arkham Asylum, and to see it all realised with such confident self-assuredness has us drooling pure adrenalin with excitement over the studio’s next project.

They are:

The renamed, rebranded, gored-up new phase of EA’s Redwood Shores studio, the longest-serving design team at the publisher. With a glorious history dating way back before EA’s period of rampant license-whoring, Redwood Shores created the likes of Road Rash and the Strike air combat series. As Visceral, it’s firmly rooted itself back into its hardcore action game origins. Using a lot of veins and entrails.

They’ve already done:

As Visceral,Dead Space.Dead Space: Extractionis on the way for the Wii, as is Dante’s Inferno for the 360, PS3 and PSP. As Redwood Shores, the CV goes back around 20 years.

You should care about them because:

All that talk of “the new EA” we heard a couple of years ago? It was actually referring to the old, non-crap EA, and these guys personify that idea.

Creative, well-designed, incredibly polished and deeply satisfying hardcore gaming is what Visceral is all about, and in no time at all its output has rivalled or even beaten the triple-A monsters that have arguably influenced it.

We all know that Dead Space is amazing (in fact one or two Radar editors will resolutely argue that it beats the crap out of Resident Evil 5), but with Dead Space: Extraction, Visceral seems to be making not only a visually-brilliant Wii game but also a worthwhile and long-overdue cinematic evolution of the on-rails shooter. And amongst those who’ve played it, there are even whispers that next year’s Dante’s Inferno could actually beat God of War III. Seriously. We’ve heard them.

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