With all these game of the year awards being handed out and lists being drawn up, it must be hard for a developer. You're being publicly judged. So why not turn it around and let the developers do the judging for once?
We recently asked a bunch of Australian game development people to pick their favourites for the year - and if we didn't ask you, we love to hear from you. First up, it's Jon Cartwright from THQ Studio Australia...Who Are You? Jon Cartwright What's Your Job? Director of Production, THQ Studio Australia What Are You Working On? Two unannounced projects
John, what's your pick for Game of the Year?
Hard to believe this isn't me just towing the company line, but I honestly enjoyed de Blob a great deal this year. For me it was a standout Wii title because it wasn't a party game; I kinda feel the market is saturated with those right now. It's nice to have a single player game on the Wii that you can get wrapped up in for extended periods of time; there's not too many of those around. Sure there's the question of whether they should have used a button to jump as opposed to the remote, but I think it worked well enough. Maybe with Wii Motion Plus they can get a future version of de Blob matching our crazy movements and jumping sideways. Overall it came across as very slick and polished, very Nintendo, and that was great to see from a 3rd party. The playfulness was wonderful, and for me harked back to the old home computer days when we didn't have licensed games so every developer was trying to establish their own characters and brands.
Anything not made by THQ?
Little Big Planet was the reason I bought my PS3 this year. I was looking forward to this for so many reasons, but in honesty was never really that sure what the game play was going to be. So it was a surprise to find out that it's a relatively hardcore puzzle-platformer at times. Now I love a good platform game, so that's all fine, but it did frustrate me that the physics system at its very core can also be its downfall when you accidentally break the level. The visual style is just wonderful; the levels look fantastic, like some sort of mashup of 70's UK kids TV shows and a scrapbooking session on acid. Sackboy is a very endearing character, and whilst the customisation adds nothing to the game experience per se it's hugely impressive and compulsive to boot. Playing other people's creations makes for an intriguing experience; clearly the tools are very capable, but the level of skill from the creators is somewhat mixed. The biggest win is that people are involved and engaged beyond the core game; it'll be interesting to see how long this lasts for. There's something about the spirit of this game that makes it feel like it should have been born on the Wii...
Thanks, John! If there are any other Australian games developers out there who'd like to share their favourite games of the 2008, just drop us a line.