News Opinion PlayStation XBOX PC

7 developers we buy games from on day one without any questions asked

7 Devs we trust.jpg

For years, we've warned and advised our readers to steer clear of pre-ordering games. Wait for reviews, we caution, never make a day one purchase because game companies are businesses, and not your friends. Their number one goal is to make money, and they want you to purchase their game mostly based on hype; not based on a finished product. That is the nature of this business.

However, there are a few developers that receive our thumbs-up for that pre-order purchase. Sometimes we encourage you to support a game developer because it's the right thing to do (like the upcoming Jengo and Beautiful Desolation that are both South African devs), or because a developer is doing something exceptional like Ninja Theory did with Hellblade. The seven companies below do not fall into those categories; we support them and want to pre-order their games for one reason only. They make good video games that deliver an experience that meets that value for money standard. Easily.

1. Bethesda

(Some of the games listed below weren't developed by Bethesda, but it falls under their umbrella as games they distribute, and all are owned by ZeniMax, of which Bethesda is a subsidiary.)

Bethesda has been developing and distributing video games for over three decades, and, of course, not every game they released was a hit. However, most of the main releases of their franchise games have been; and we'll pre-order from those any day.  I'm thinking the Elder Scrolls series, specifically starting with Morrowind (2002), then the mega-hit Oblivion (2006), and more recently, TESO that wasn't as good as its predecessors, but given the amount of time and players exploring its world we will still argue that it ticks that value for money box.

Then there is the entire Fallout series, with each of the five main instalments in the series delivering an exceptional experience. Bethesda's list of fantastic video game franchises is perhaps longer than any other distributor; there is also Prey, Doom, and Wolfenstein, each of these series' just keeps on getting better with each instalment in some way or another, and we'll gladly part with our money to play any of these games. They are not developed by Bethesda, only distributed and each of these developers forms part of ZeniMax Studios.

Bethesda hasn't announced the titles of their upcoming games, but we know they're planning "a very special evening" at this year's E3 that will include a 'big mix' of games. We also know they're working on at least two as yet unannounced games, of which one could be an open-word Game of Thrones game and the other, Rage 2.

2. Valve

Valve is arguably the sweetheart of PC gamers with six-game franchises that all demand day one purchase. Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Dota. Then there's that one series we do not speak of, which makes us love and hate lord Gaben. If any of the aforementioned franchises even hint at an upcoming game, the Internet will melt.

The only thing we have against Valve is that they're not making enough video games. We can scream, we can threaten, we can beg, Gaben is not listening, nor can he count to three. Valve did say outright that "they are still making games" but where are those? The only confirmed upcoming game developed by Valve is Artifact, a collectable card game based on Dota 2.

No, this is not the game we've been looking for, and the purchase of Campo Santo doesn't count. Or does it?

3. Blizzard

Oh, Blizzard how do we love thee? Let me count the ways." Diablo, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft, Warcraft, and Overwatch. I wonder if World of Warcraft will regain its millions of lost subscribers the day Blizzard announces a brand new Warcraft. I have spent more hours in Blizzard games than in any other game franchise. Valve games are a close second with over 1000 hours just in Team Fortress 2.

If there is one thing we can say about Blizzard, it's that they know how to capture the hearts and minds of millions - and keep it enchanted for many, many years. Blizzard's first hit was Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994), and although the company has gone through several major changes since its inception in 1991, it still has the original President (and founder), Michael Morhaime at the helm.

Blizzard hasn't announced any new IP's or even new franchise titles. The only current project is the World of Warcraft expansion, Battle of Azeroth, that releases in August.

4. Rockstar

Fun fact, Rockstar is the fourth video game developer from America that makes this list. What I love about Rockstar is their company philosophy, which is to be different, and to that end, they have delivered some of the most successful video games in history. Dan Houser, co-founder and vice president of creativity, told PlayStation Lifestyle the following:

"I think the future for us is to continue doing new things. Our games up to now have been different from any genre that existed at the time; we made new genres by ourselves with games like the GTA series. We didn’t rely on testimonials in a business textbook to do what we’ve done."

Keep in mind that Grand Theft Auto V is the most profitable entertainment product of all time...ever. Rockstar started making games in 1999, and as with Bethesda, not every game they made was a success, but again, they have a few franchises that have extremely loyal fans, and we'll purchase any game from those the moment pre-orders open. Those are; Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and of course, the Red Dead series. We all know that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of 2018's most anticipated releases, but what about Agent? Rockstar denied that the game is dead, but they have yet to reveal any official news about it. I would also love a new LA. Noire game! I have played both the PC and Nintendo Switch versions, and I hope Rockstar plans to someday bring Cole back for another adventure.

For now, fans have only to wait until October 26 to play the next Rockstar game, Red Dead Redemption 2.

5. CD Projekt RED

I dare say, that CD Projekt Red is perhaps the video game developer that has the respect and adoration of most gamers - regardless of their platform of choice. They are also the first game dev on this list that isn't American, but Polish. Another thing that sets them apart from the other names on this list, is that CDPR only develops role-playing games, and to date, they have only focused on one franchise, The Witcher series. The Witcher 3 is hailed by fans and critics as the best role-playing game ever made, and it also received the most Game Of The Year Awards (over 250), the most ever awarded!

Other game developers can learn a lot from CDPR about giving customers value for money. I am referring to how they structured the Wild Hunt's (free) DLC, the price of the main game and its subsequent expansions. Those expansions were all as big as some games in total. Remember this remark from Marcin Iwiński, co-founder, CD PROJEKT RED? “I’d like to extend my thanks to all the gamers who played our game and gave these DLCs a try. Nothing makes a developer happier than seeing gamers have fun with what they created. I would really like to see such initiatives become an industry standard rather than an exception to the general rule, and I hope that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has set a good example.” So say we all.

With CDPR's next game, Cyberpunk 2077, they step away from the Witcher for the first time. It is one of my most anticipated titles - ever. I love its cyberpunk theme (more than High-Tech and Low Life), and the promise that it will be even more ambitious than The Witcher 3. We have no release date yet for Cyberpunk 2077, just a rumour that it will be playable at E3 2018.

6. White Paper Games

I know I am taking a bit of a chance with WPG, but I am basing my decision on the success of their previous game, Ether One. I have also had an extensive interview with Pete Bottomley, WPG founder, about their next title, The Occupation, and I believe it is the right game for the right time. I explain more in "Why you should take notice of The Occupation."

For me, Ether One was a masterpiece, a love letter to the pen and paper genre, an anthem to puzzle games. Critics around the world praised the game for its mood, puzzles, and a story that will linger in your mind for years to come. IGN described it as "a game about the smell of perfume that brings back a memory, the heartbeat that never quite fades, and the happiness that still has to be locked away," while Destructoid experienced it as "a sort of reverse Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind approach." As an Indie title, it also launched with a price tag that more than delivered on that value for money standard.

The Occupation is set to release later this year on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It is a single-player, adventure-stealth game that plays off in a single building. You are a reporter, and your decisions determine the narrative. It plays off against a tense political backdrop, and takes places in real time, over four hours. I love what I've seen so far about the games' visuals, story, and score - all strong features that were also praised in Ether One.

7. Naughty Dog

(By Marco Cocomello)

As Han is not a PS4 player she asked me to recommend a studio that I would buy games from day one and that is none other than Naughty Dog. Ever since their original release of Crash Bandicoot onto Jak and Daxter, the studio has lived in my heart. We then enter the golden years with the release of the first-ever Uncharted game in the series. I remember reading reviews about it and seeing 10/10s everywhere and wondering if it was even possible to release a game so great. The Uncharted series continued to release stellar action-packed adventures that took me to unknown locations in search for ancient treasures and there is really nothing else like it. We then have The Last of Us which is without a doubt one of the greatest video game stories ever told. To be able to bring such a strong world to life with loveable characters and a gripping story is truly masterful. Naughty Dog are artisans and they deserve every inch of respect they get. 

Do you have any developers that you would add to this list? If so, drop us a comment in the section below.

Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

"Our games up to now have been different from any genre that existed at the time"

Other news from around the NET:

Recent Comments

Community on Disqus

Latest Reviews

Forza Horizon 4 Review

Forza Horizon 4 Review


With a gorgeous open world, epic car roster and a new seasonal system, this year's Forza is the best...

V-Rally 4 Review

V-Rally 4 Review


V-Rally 4 delivers some great off-road racing that all rally fans will enjoy.

comments powered by Disqus