It takes a great deal more than skill and perseverance to crack the podium and earn the title as one of the best video game developers on the network. Truth be told, there aren’t all that many who’ve successfully managed to climb to such a spectacular height and survive the financial warfare long enough to reap all the benefits that come with the ascension. But as far as 2023 goes, here are the firms that have managed to break said code and either earn, or essentially retain a foothold at the apex. Let’s talk all-stars, and the works that helped forge their names in stone.
Evidently the kingpins of survival-horror, it’s Capcom — a powerhouse studio that stands in possession of several of the greatest franchises on the market, including but not limited to Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, and Street Fighter. It goes without saying that, from a top-down perspective, the Japan-based studio holds one of the largest watermarks on the map, and rightly so.
9. Square Enix
Final Fantasy is frequently billed as one, if not the greatest ARPG series on the planet, and understandably so. And even without its sixteen mainline installments plus countless spin-offs, Square Enix still has a fair few other cards in its favor — Kingdom Hearts, Tomb Raider, and Dragon Quest, to name just a few. Fair to say that, with an abundance of award-winning ideas and projects under its belt, it’s unlikely Square will be heading anywhere south anytime soon.
8. Bethesda Softworks
Two words: Elder. Scrolls. If not for the globally praised open world RPG series, there wouldn’t be, well, thousands of other copycat IPs running amok. Arguably one of the best and most recognizable sagas on the planet (and not to mention just one of the dozens of established properties on the nexus), the long arm that is Elder Scrolls is reason enough for Bethesda to secure a place on the list. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then here’s a reminder — Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, and Dishonored.
7. Electronic Arts
If it wasn’t for its ever-evolving EA Originals label, Electronic Arts would’ve been destined to live in a shadow of its own making—an umbrella, of sorts, built by the likes of FIFA and Need for Speed. And while these two franchises alone are more then enough to warrant the publishing house’s place on this list, the fact that it also makes room for independent projects is partly the reason why, when all’s said and done, Electronic Arts is one of the most respected of its kind — even if it has bled certain IPs dry thrice over.
FromSoftware certainly isn’t short on best-selling games these days, what with Elden Ring recently nabbing the Best Game of 2022, and not to mention a slew of other accolades from the likes of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls. And while its fan base is evidently more lenient towards games that are disadvantageously stubborn, it’s fair to say that, when all’s said and done, its network is still one of the most supportive on the planet.
5. Rockstar Games
Thanks to the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption being two of the most sought-after franchises on the planet, Rockstar Games can pretty much rest assured that, regardless of what happens in the future, its status has already been fortified and sealed. Those two award-winning sagas aside, Rockstar has also found great success with IPs including Bully, Midnight Club, and L.A. Noire — all multi-million dollar franchises in themselves.
4. Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog has guaranteed its spot in the hall of fame thanks to two things: Uncharted, and The Last of Us. And not just those two, but also the entire Jak and Daxter series, as well as the beloved Crash Bandicoot franchise. As a household name in the gaming industry, Naughty Dog wields the keys to infinite power and creative control. And while the studio itself only launches a new project every once in a blue moon, it’s rare that such projects are ever launched without having exceeded unfathomable standards.
There isn’t a developer or publisher in the world that can match the creative brilliance of Nintendo — especially when such a household studio has quite literally thousands of award-winning games in its arsenal. Fact is, this has been the case for several decades now, and at no point has the handheld-loving outfit ever served up a mediocre number for the sake of cashing quick profits. As the rightful owners of Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other noteworthy franchises, it’s doubtful that Nintendo, as a unit, will ever seen a rain cloud — let alone a storm.
You could quite easily argue that Ubisoft has had its fair share of barrel-dwelling IPs in the several decades it’s been on the block, but the fact is, the developing and publishing house is still in possession of dozens of critically acclaimed franchises, including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Splinter Cell, Watch Dogs, Prince of Persia, and of course, Rayman. Safe to say that, with so many projects under its belt, Ubisoft is hands down one of the most prolific firms out there, and certainly one that continues to go from strength to strength.
Konami has Hideo Kojima to thank for its ever-faithful fan base and universally celebrated IPs, that’s for sure. Take Meal Gear Solid, for example; this franchise alone has managed to rake in millions of gamers over its healthy reign, which, as a result, has transformed the studio into an unstoppable force of unmatched entertainment. And even in 2023, with Kojima no longer in the picture, the team still has just about every key to every padlock in the realm of modern gaming. Is it the best in the business? Not quite, though it definitely comes close.
So, what’s your take? Do you have a favorite developer in 2023? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.