The next generation of video game hardware is almost here, and it's managed to generate a ridiculously heavy dose of excitement and anticipation. With games like Watch Dogs, Thief, and Wolfenstein: The New Order already looking at supporting both current and next-gen consoles, it's obvious that several studios are looking ahead. Then there are the titles the likes of Tom Clancy's The Division, which are geared specifically for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, proving that there's success to be found in solely creating content for the upcoming wave of platforms.
Developers have a lot to look forward to with all of the new tech they get to play around with, but the game players also have a reason to be stoked. Here are 10 studios that you should definitely watch with the utmost excitement when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hit retailers.
Having arrived in 2006, Platinum Games was born during the current generation, and it played a prominent role in delivering awesome 3D action games to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. Titles such as MadWorld, Bayonetta, and Anarchy Reigns are just three of the studio's original projects that really offered a wonderful mix of style and action. It's going to be a lot of fun seeing what Platinum does as it enters the next generation of video games. The company is known for turning out shorter games that make up for their length with their arcadey goodness and sheer badassery. This trend could very well continue for Platinum, but we could also see some major aesthetic enhancements that take advantage of the new tech.
Okay, so Gearbox Software may not exactly have the best track record what with Duke Nukem Forever being panned by critics and Aliens: Colonial Marines failing to deliver anything substantially enjoyable. That said, we can't forget that Gearbox also brought us the delightful Borderlands games, meshing together FPS gameplay with RPG elements within a sweet open world. Realistically, we'll probably see a Borderlands 3 sooner rather than later, and that's perfectly fine. It's even more exciting, however, to think about Gearbox taking that same level of dedication and creativity and putting it into a whole new franchise for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The best thing that Arkane Studios has put out to date is easily Dishonored. That game is so good that it's impossible to not see this studio becoming a major player within the next few years. Whether the team wants to continue pursuing Dishonored under the Bethesda umbrella, try out some new stealth projects, or go in completely different directions with its future titles, there could be a bright future in store for Arkane. Here's hoping we see more of this dev down the road.
United Front Games
United Front Games is a company with a lot of talent, and its previous endeavor was indicative of that. Sleeping Dogs proved that these folks could turn out one hell of a game. While sales didn't exactly reflect that, those of us who played through the open world crime adventure know just how awesome it is. It would be awesome if we got a sequel on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but it would also be cool to see what else United Front can come up with. The combat engine in Sleeping Dogs was loads of fun, and seeing the developer take advantage of new hardware to expand on its formulas would undoubtedly be really, really rad.
Suda51 and his team at Grasshopper Manufacture are just really good at delivering solid 3D beat 'em up experiences. While the dev's games are undeniably old school in terms of gameplay, their themes are unapologetically modern. The high level of comedy and sexuality mixed in with some truly bizarre situations make Grasshopper's games completely mesmerizing. Will we see new ideas from the company within the next few years? It's very possible. That said, we can probably expect that familiar over-the-type style that has become Suda's signature approach, and that's definitely a good thing.
One of the devs that made a major impact at this year's E3 was Respawn Entertainment. The studio announced its upcoming project Titanfall, and it showed that it's ready to enter the next generation in a big way. While the game is currently only scheduled for the Xbox One and PC, it was still one of the most talked about titles at the massive trade show. Whether or not Titanfall will ever make its way to the PlayStation 4 remains to be seen at this point, but even if it doesn't, Respawn is clearly an ambitious team that wants to make its mark on the next set of gaming consoles.
When Tomb Raider was rebooted earlier this year, it made for one of the most captivating games in recent memory. The new vision of Lara Croft and the fresh world she was trapped in combined to create a wonderful ride that was full of emotion and adventure. Obviously, a sequel is definitely something to be ridiculously excited about even though nothing's been announced just yet, but it would also be great to see Crystal Dynamics test out new franchises or even reboot other existing IPs. We already saw a glimpse of next-gen ideas in Tomb Raider such as the smooth transition between running in open spaces and immediately entering cover where possible. Then there's the world, which was fun to explore and interconnected to provide a natural-feeling environment. Crystal Dynamics, give us more of that and continue to expand on those concepts.
CD Projekt Red
With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt due out for next-gen consoles in 2014, it's apparent that CD Project Red is already moving on to bigger projects. As has been revealed, the game features a sprawling open world that is said to be much more massive than that of the environment in Skyrim. Then there's the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, which so far has been confirmed for the PC and won't be released for some time. Could we see this game head on over to Microsoft and Sony's platforms? Maybe. Either way, CD Projekt Red is moving into the next generation ready for action.
After creating the blockbuster hit series Max Payne and the cult franchise Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment is looking to add to its resume with the promising Quantum Break, due out for the Xbox One sometime in 2014. While this is a company that doesn't release too many titles during the course of a console generation, it definitely focuses on highly ambitious projects that just grab people's attention. It's impossible to predict what's in store for Remedy post-Quantum Break, or if the studio will resurrect Alan Wake, but one thing's certain: This is a dev with a big future, and the next generation could attribute to that future.
After not only giving us the impressive BioShock series but also delivering one of the best gaming experiences of the year in BioShock Infinite, Irrational Games has clearly stepped up and taken its place as a top developer this past console generation. Now it's time for the company to continue its rise and become one of the best devs during the next generation. Of course, that will take some time and some doing, but it's clear that the impact, talent, and drive are all there. It'll probably be tough for Irrational to top itself due to just how revered BioShock Infinite quickly became, but it's very possible nonetheless.
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