[Following its female-centric debut, the Gamasutra 20 returns to honor those game developers that our editors our editors think are breaking through in 2008 in terms of promise, execution, or attitude.]
The editors of Gamasutra are delighted to present are second ever Gamasutra 20 list - this time honoring the twenty teams we consider to be Breakthrough Developers in 2008.
Of course, with the burden of deciding comes comes some notable challenges. What's to say whether a studio is 'breakthrough', especially if it's been working on games for some time? How do you even define the concept, anyhow?
After much discussion, we feel strongly that, much like the discussion of what 'indie' constitutes, the 'know it when you see it' test applies. There is no single thread which links each of the honored developers, other than excellent work or work in progress that makes us think about games in a fresh, vital manner.
So, for this first ever Gamasutra 20, you'll find some honorees that have recently released games, others have yet to publish a title. Some companies have been around for decades, while others have been in existence less than two years. There are studios with dozens of people, and others with only a couple of full-time employees. What they do have in common is that all of them are making big professional leaps.
While there are many more teams out there who are growing and doing excellent work, we feel the 20 following studios truly exemplify what it means to break through.
A little housekeeping, first. Gamasutra 20 honorees are not ranked, and therefore their listings appear in alphabetical order. Here's a key to the developers whose work and attitude is honored:
1. 2D Boy (Page 2)
2. 5TH Cell (Page 3)
3. Area/Code (Page 4)
4. Atlus (Page 5)
5. The Behemoth (Page 6)
6. Certain Affinity (Page 7)
7. Double Fine (Page 8)
8. Grasshopper Manufacture (Page 9)
9. Gearbox Software (Page 10)
10. Hothead Games (Page 11)
11. Infinite Interactive (Page 12)
12. Level-5 (Page 13)
13. Media Molecule (Page 14)
14: Metanet (Page 15)
15. PlatinumGames (Page 16)
16. Q-Games (Page 17)
17. Thatgamecompany (Page 18)
18: Treasure (Page 19)
19. Valve South (formerly Turtle Rock) (Page 20)
20. Wadjet Eye Games (Page 21)
Each entry is followed by a short write up from a Gamasutra staff member -- explaining exactly why we think the creator deserves to be on the 'Breakthrough Developers' list.
Gamasutra's publisher Simon Carless, features director Christian Nutt, editor at large Chris Remo, news director Leigh Alexander, and Game Developer magazine editor in chief Brandon Sheffield all contribute their thoughts.