We could fill countless pages of this site with our thoughts on the creeping monopolization of the global gaming industry. The big players like EA, Rockstar, and Nintendo have been capturing an ever-larger slice of market share, with many indie developers and distributors being left out in the cold.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some seriously impressive developers outside of the big studios that have been making waves and creating great games.
Whether you’re a keen watcher of the industry or are just looking for some more interesting games to play, these are the top up-and-coming devs to watch out for in 2019.
We expect to be seeing the name Mundfish popping up everywhere in the new few months. This Moscow-based development team may be just starting out, but they’re already responsible for one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the year, Atomic Heart. This free-roaming, post-Soviet sci-fi horror game set the gamerverse alight with its mind-blowing trailer last year, and rumour has it pre-orders for the game are already through the roof. These guys are destined for greatness.
If there’s one shift that is transforming the gaming industry more than anything else, it’s the move towards online web gaming, particularly online casino gaming, which is on track to become one of the biggest sectors in the industry. Playtech, a game development company based in the Isle of Man, is powering much of this shift. They’re behind many of the most popular online slots and roulette games in the world and could very likely end up competing with the likes of EA in terms of size very soon.
The Chinese Room
The Chinese Room is a testament to what can be achieved when you have a good idea and a couple of pure creative geniuses behind the wheel. This tiny UK company got their start a couple of years back with Dear Esther, which was originally supposed to be a Half-Life 2 mod bit proved so popular that they managed to raise the full funding for a standalone game in a few hours. Since then they’ve been churning out highly original hits such as Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which was an instant smash hit. They’ve got more stuff in the works this year, so stay tuned.
This Danish studio was definitely the comeback king of 2018. After languishing under acquisition by Square Enix, they performed a management buyout last year and re-asserted their independence. After this, they want on to release the critically acclaimed Hitman 2 last November, produced entirely by their own efforts and resources. They’ve promised several sequels to keep fans happy and have just opened up their own subsidiary studio in Sweden, suggesting that things are looking very positive indeed for them. We love a good success story and IO Interactive is probably the best one we’ve seen so far.
As you can see, there is a mixture of developers here. Some are quirky indie companies, while others are emerging heavy hitters on the world stage. All of them are destined for greatness in 2019 and beyond, so make sure to watch this space and see what they achieve.