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

Ruffian Games


They are:

A newly-formed, Microsoft-funded studio based in Scotland, made up of ex-members of Realtime Worlds, as well as staff from Xen Services, who provided assistance on the likes of Fable II and Project Gotham Racing 4. The big news though? That Realtime Worlds influence means that Ruffian has team members who worked on Crackdown. And Ruffian is now working on Crackdown 2.

They've already done:

Crackdown 2 is Ruffian’s first project, but collectively its staff have worked on CrackdownMortal KombatG-PoliceToo HumanWheelmanTimesplitters 4Burnout Paradise, and both The Beano and The Dandy. Those last two are incredibly important.

You should care about them because:

Do we need to explain this one? Crackdown 2! Many are sad that original developer Realtime World’s isn’t in charge, but with some members of the original team and yet another big pile of Microsoft money behind the project, we are excited. Very very excited.

Black Rock Studio


They are:

A Disney-owned, Brighton-based studio specialising in big, bold, action racing games. Previously knows as Climax Racing, Black Rock cut its teeth on various ATV and MotoGP games before really hitting big with last year's OTT, SSX-with-an-engine racer Pure.

They’ve already done:

ATV Quad Power Racing 2 on GC, PS2 and Xbox, MotoGP ’06 and ’07 and Pure.

You should care about them because:

With racing games making a comeback at the moment via GRID, DIRT, Forza 3, Gran Turismo 5 and Bizarre Creations’ Blur, the more teams we have bringing fresh approaches to the genre, the better. As arcade racers go, Burnout Paradise is of course simply amazing, but it won’t do anyone any good for Criterion to be the only fish in the nitrous pond.

Black Rock has already shown a glittering talent for crazy, exaggerated, mad-in-the-face video game racing thrills with Pure, and new road racer Split/Second looks to build on that handsomely, giving us essentially Burnout with the option to explode the track all over your pitiful opponents. We’ll take two large portions with a side order of more please.


They are:

A Finnish developer building a healthy reputation for turning accessible, old-school game mechanics into fun, inventive, and slick modern gaming.

They’ve already done:

Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor on PC, Trine on PSN and PC.

You should care about them because:

The two Shadowgrounds top-down shooters were fun-but-flawed, simple, punchy fun (some of those flaws by the developers’ own admission coming from simple inexperience), but with Trine, Frozenbyte really seems to have hit its stride. A 3-player co-operative, 2D platform puzzler, it plays out like a cross between LittleBigPlanet and SNES classic The Lost Vikings. It looks great, it's a hoot to play with friends, and all considered is an absolute little gem of this year’s PC and PSN library. If Frozenbyte can build upon this sort of quality, it's soon going to be a very big deal in the downloadable marketplace.

Next: Blood, guts and flying rodent avengers.

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  • 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