As video games continue to become more intricate and complex, it behooves publishers to seek out crack teams of industry veterans to make sure that the products that they’re pouring millions into are at least functional. Merely functional isn’t always exciting, but at least players won’t be angrily returning their purchases within seven days.
Sometimes, though, you have to make way for the new blood. While you’d think that developers in an industry such as this would need some time to find their sea legs, you can occasionally see a bright new studio hit the ground running and immediately leave a lasting impression.
Here are five studios with sterling debut games this generation.
Halo 4 by 343 Industries
While some might scoff at Halo’s inclusion on a list such as this, there’s no denying that 343 Industries had some huge shoes to fill after Bungie went independent. While the previous year’s Halo Anniversary was technically their first project, Halo 4 was the first game they’ve built from the ground up. While they didn’t overhaul the way Halo plays, they definitely put their own spin on the franchise, and fans are eager for more.
Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games
If it feels like I talk about Hotline Miami a lot, it’s because I do. It’s easily one of the most fascinating games that I’ve played this generation, if not ever … and it was made by two people. That’s incredible. They’re currently working on a sequel that takes the murderfest from the 80s to the 90s, and hopes are riding high.
Everyday Shooter by Queasy Games
Queasy Games is, by and large, a one-man operation for Jonathan Mak, and his 2007 game Everyday Shooter is still considered one the best available on PlayStation Network. Described as an abstract musical schmup, every shot and enemy hit drives the music along. Six years later, there’s still nothing quite like it … except for 2012’s Sound Shapes on Vita, an abstract musical platformer also by Mak.