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Favorite Publishers/Developers

Everybody has their bad games, but these publishers and developers have churned out enough great stuff for me to keep me genuinely interested in their work, even if it goes into genres I ordinarily don't play. If there's one on this list, I highly recommend checking out their work.

List items

  • Atlus' US subsidiary, as well as the main parent company itself, know how to put a lot of love in their games to the point where it really shines through and becomes each of their games' underlying qualities. Trauma Center: Second Opinion was my first real exposure to this publisher and developer after years of hearing stuff about them and it's been a great ride experiencing all of their games ever since.

  • Clover may be dead and gone now, but when the developer was in its prime, there was nobody better in my opinion at taking their own new IP and running away with it. The original Viewtiful Joe and Okami are among the games from the PS2 generation which I think were among the very best. Rarely did it ever truly disappoint.

  • Grasshopper is always reliable about creating games infused with your necessary dose of insanity, an endeavor which I really respect from a creative standpoint. While some of their games have been controversial in terms of quality, I have yet to play a game of theirs which doesn't wear its differentness proudly, even if there are some issues here and there along the way.

  • As the people who brought us Panzer Dragoon Orta and The Typing of the Dead, two games which I'm personally very fond of, Smilebit deserves its own mention on the list. Not everything they did was necessarily high quality, but when they had that inspirational spark, they knew how to make great games that took full advantage of their ideas.

  • When it diverts itself from fighting games, Arc System Works has a tendency to not churn the greatest stuff. But if you get them to work on a Guilty Gear game, chances are they're making something special. When considering how that series is the only 2D fighting one I consistently play to this day, I think then that the developer behind them deserves its due mention on the list.

  • Although my fondest memories from this developer's games lie in their N64 works, even to this day, Rare knows how to take an original concept and make it into a really memorable game. Whether it's in the area of foul comedy, 3D platforming, first-person shooters, or many others, Rare has a knack for being a pioneer and going in unconventional directions with their games.

  • I'll grant you the fact that as of this writing, they have yet to actually release a game. But it's hard not to still love a studio whose Clover-like creativity roots are still very, very evident. This is a development team which is both modern and Japanese, but without the constraints typically associated with both labels. Greatly looking forward to their work in the years to come.

  • Level 5 is one of the few RPG houses I hold in really high esteem in addition to Atlus. My experience with their games lies within their Layton series, granted, but it's hard not to see that they put a lot of love and work into their other games as well. Besides, few other developers can claim to have had such close ties with Studio Ghibli, at least when it comes to one of their projects. That's not a bad thing to have on a resume.

  • More often than not, Treasure does a lot of things well. Really, really well, in fact. As a developer, they've been a bit more on the quiet side in recent years, but they've got an excessively impressive resume that justifies the downtime. From anime fighters done right to top-down shooters that influence the genre to this day to side-scrolling action platformers that still hold up well, Treasure rarely slips up.

  • 8-4 is a localization firm done right. Time and again they've demonstrated that quality translations have an equal reliance on being true to the spirit of the original Japanese script and an inherently intelligent English language script. They essentially provide translations that are more than translations, producing English writing that is often appreciable on its own for its inherently high quality without losing sight of the original Japanese intentions. As a result, bad-playing games with good writing better show their true colors and great games feel as though they were always in touch with a Western audience from the get-go. As a budding hobbyist translator myself, these standards put them in the top tier that is only also inhabited by Atlus USA and Nintendo Treehouse.