Try and think of your favorite video game. Do you know who made it? Do you know who stars in it? Who wrote it? The lead artist's name?
For most of us, the answer may actually be "no." Why? Because video game creators don't enjoy the same degree of individual promotion that cinema affords its actors, directors, cinematographers and writers.
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But just because this art form's marketing can often betray the artists behind some of our favorite games, doesn't mean we should neglect some of the greatest game creators alive today.
7 of the Greatest Game Creators & Their Best Games, According to Me
Gabe Newell, the man who dropped out of Harvard University to work for Microsoft; the man who essentially produced Windows versions 1.01, 1.02 and 1.03; the man who founded Valve L.L.C alongside Mike Harrington; and the man whose created works as beloved as Half-Life, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead.
While Valve has taken a step back from game development for the last few years, Newell's company helped change the face of gaming with the launch of Steam in 2003, and even though I consider Portal 2 to be his and Valve's greatest accomplishment, we can't deny the numerous ways that Newell has impacted the gaming industry as a whole. He truly is one of the industry's only celebrities and his famous pursuit of perfection has led to the release of some of the industry's greats. Just look at that face!
Creator and designer of some of the best-selling and most adored video game franchises of all time, Miyamoto is of the greatest legends the industry will ever have. A part of Nintendo since 1977, some of the games that Miyamoto has brought to life include Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; a list of titles that few game creators will ever match.
But in terms of selecting Miyamoto's best game, those of you swear by Ocarina will have to forgive me as a I shower Majora's Mask with praise. A game that I think features one of the greatest video game villains of all time, MM is a challenging title that forces players to come to grips with the realities of time and how limited it really is for all of us. It's a complicated game for sure, but the atmosphere of this dark adventure and its exceptional gameplay mechanics make it the greatest achievement of this man's career, in my own personal way.
The madness of Kojima can only be fully understand by engaging with the Metal Gear Solid games from start to finish. There are sections of these titles that we can hold up and desire other creators to emulate, but the flow of his gameplay is something that's unparalleled in the gaming world.
As we all patiently await the release of his new AAA action game, Death Stranding, all we can do is revel in the majesty of his accomplishments. As one of the gaming world's only auteurs, Kojima has created some of the most beloved video games of all time and he's cultivated quite the personality for himself. But, if I'm pushed to pick one out of this guy's insane oeuvre, it'd have to be Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Masterpiece from a masterful man.
As the creator of Final Fantasy, Sakaguchi is heralded as one of the gods of the industry. His unique vision has brought life to games like Final Fantasy 7, The Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon and Chrono Trigger. He helped define what made a Japanese RPG so exhilarating, unique and emotional.
But how to pick one title on such a remarkable list of games? Which title deserves the greatest praise? Well, for me, it'd have to be Chrono Trigger, the kind of JRPG that continues to inspire as games like I Am Setsuna seek to channel its wonders and recreate its nostalgic delights all these years later. Boy, can this guy wear a great shirt, too.
Renowned as one of the greatest adventure game creators in the history of the medium, Schafer famously designed titles that even those who hate games enjoy playing. The Monkey Island games, the Maniac Mansion series and Full Throttle were enjoyed by countless individuals throughout the world. After having spent over a decade of success at LucasArts, David Schafer became one of the founders of Double Fine Productions, a studio that's created titles like Psychonauts, Headlanders, Broken Age, Brütal Legend and so much more!
But I suppose I'd agree with the majority when I say that his crowning achievement as a game developer comes in the form of Grim Fandango. An exceptional adventure game brimming with attitude, charisma and finesse, this remarkably difficult game is a pleasure to replay, particularly in its remastered state on PlayStation 4. He's an exceptional writer and wondrous character designer, and we look forward to every game this man touches!
Neil Druckman & Bruce Straley
This dynamic duo have been helping Naughty Dog reach the acclaim that they're currently enjoying for years. Heralded as one of the most influential and inspiring developers in the industry, Naughty Dog boasts some exceptional games, like Uncharted 2, 4 and The Last of Us, which demonstrate the kind of narrative and mechanical power they possess; something we so rarely see in AAA video games.
The team of Neil Druckman & Bruce Straley definitely presented me with the only Uncharted game I truly liked with A Thief's End, but there's something about The Last of Us that makes it seem like a timeless masterpiece and the pinnacle of AAA game design. Will the two go on to make a sequel that can rival the tale of Joel and Ellie? We have faith.