Is UK Game Development The Best In The World?
by Jason Bourne
UK Game Developers
Being a gamer from the UK as I was growing up I had no internet or anything like that back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I just ignorantly assumed that the majority of games that I was playing on my consoles at the time were either made in Japan or America. Little did I know that this little island that I live on was home to some of the very best video game developers on the planet. I am sure there are more than a few raised eyebrows, but I can back this up with a look at just a small sample of what the UK has to offer in terms of video game development.
While they were not the first video game developers to be based out of the UK you cannot talk about video game development without mentioning Rare. Back in the early days of Rare they would produce games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but it was there partnership with Nintendo on the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 that made them one of the best game studios in the whole world. Games like Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark just to name a few. If you bought a game with the Rare logo on it back then you knew you were getting a high quality game. Sadly when Microsoft bought out Rare they really lost what made them such a special UK development studio.
Some of the guys who were responsible for some of Rare’s biggest hits would leave the company and go on to form another UK based company called Free Radical Design (later called Crytek) These guys were responsible for giving the world the Timesplitters series. Timesplitters 2 was often regarded as the pinnacle of first person shooters on the Playstation 2. Many gamers all over the world are hopeful that one day we will get a Timesplitters 4.
One video game company that I have very fond memories of is Codemasters. These guys have been putting games out since the mid 1980’s and are still making games to this day. As a child I knew if a ZX Spectrum tape had the Codemasters logo on it that it was going to be great. They gave us the Dizzy series of games. And of course they gave us the world wide hit that was Micro Machines. For what started as a small independent video game company these guys really did take the whole world by storm. What is great about Codemasters is how with each new console generation they have managed to survive by being great at moving onto each new hardware.. Arguably there biggest hit this console generation is there Dirt racing games.
Rockstar North is one of the best known game studios in the world. When the first Grand Theft Auto hit back in 1997 this was when I first realised that the UK was pretty instrumental in the video games industry. I grew up in a small village in Scotland that was roughly 20 minutes away from where the first Grand Theft Auto games were developed in Dundee. Back then the were called DMA Design and this was the company that really got me interested in the game development scene in the UK. Japan may have Nintendo and America may have Activision, but here in the UK we have Rockstar North and I honestly feel that along with the other video game developers we have here make us one of the most exciting countries in the world for video game development.
Large & Small UK Game Developers
We have huge studios like Rockstar North who just put out triple A title after triple A title, but in addition to that we have a bunch of indie developers who are doing there own thing developers such as Blitz Game Studios, Jagex and Firefly Studios just to name a few. So while we may be one of the smaller countries there is no getting away from the fact that here in the UK, UK Game Developers produce some of the very best video game designers in the world.