Based on their games’ success
Although the biggest consumers of video games are in the US, you’d be surprised how many game developers are based in Europe. Take a break from farming FIFA 23 coins, and check out these big names in gaming.
CD Projekt RED
The company began when two guys met each other while trying to sell games. They didn’t start out making them but wanted to sell legitimately. Their first business venture was to localise video games, and their success started with Ace Ventura. Afterward, they worked with BioWare and Interplay Entertainment to create a Polish version of Baldur’s Gate.
They spared no expense, and the localisation was a hit. CD Projekt wanted to continue collaborating and wanted to help with the PC port of the sequel. However, that game got canceled, leaving them to decide whether to continue distributing them or making one.
Though it suffered many delays and problems, they started on the Witcher series. Sure, the inspiration came from the books, but they brought the world to life with their games. With the success of the whole franchise, they rose to fame and brought out Cyberpunk 2077. Unfortunately, it gathered negative reviews upon release due to many bugs.
Still, CD Projekt RED patched the game, and it turned out to be good. However, first impressions can’t easily be dismissed, and some people decide not to play it.
They started as DMA Design Limited, making shooter games for Amiga, Atari ST, and Commodore 64 consoles. However, they hit the jackpot with Lemmings, a platformer, and spawned a franchise around it. They had a sweet deal with Nintendo after making Unirally, but it ended after the latter disapproved of Body Harvest.
Some publishers passed them around until 2007’s GTA III let them be part of the Rockstar Games label. The Grand Theft Auto series is their claim to fame, with the first three games made even before they became Rockstar North. They also have a hand in developing Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne 3.
It is the result of the merging of Reto-Moto and film studio Nordisk Film. They first wanted to make an MMO but were challenged to make a simple shooter game instead. This was the beginning of their proprietary game engine Glacier and the spark for the Hitman series.
Though they have worked with publishers before, they bought themselves out of Square Enix’s thumb, becoming an independent company in 2017. They’re trying their hand at a still-unnamed James Bond and fantasy RPG games. The latter is a departure from the stealth-assassination gameplay of Hitman, so it can go either way.
The Swedish company began in 1992, with members from a group who develop demos for Amiga systems. Later, they acquired Refraction Games and, consequently, the Battlefield franchise. EA purchased its shares after a merger with Sandbox Studios and Trauma Studios.
Aside from the one mentioned above, they have developed many games, such as Mirror’s Edge. They’ve also made some entries for Need For Speed, Star Wars Battlefront, and Medal of Honor. NFS and Mirror’s Edge aside, they’re undoubtedly well-versed in making shooters.
It was once called Lost Boys Games when it was founded by merging three different video game studios. They wanted to make Game Boy games with original characters, but publishers wanted ones with licensed characters. They didn’t want to compromise, so they didn’t find any support for their work.
They moved onto work-for-hire commissions, developing four titles on various Game Boy Consoles. Later, they were acquired by Media Republic, renaming themselves Guerrilla Games to reflect their parent company’s style.
Guerrilla Games worked on the Killzone franchise until they released Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017. Despite the popularity of games-as-service, the latter series is one of the biggest games currently and literally. They’re definitely a company to watch.
The studio was founded by a former employee of EA, Colantonio, who started Arkane to make a second sequel to Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss. Though he received support from the developers, EA, who held the rights, didn’t allow him to add to the IP.
Colantonio then made a game based on the Ultima Underworld called Arx Fatalis, which he barely found a publisher for. Critics praised the game, but it was considered a commercial failure. The latter made his sequel a flop because no publisher wanted it.
He then spent the next few years aiding the development of various games, some of which ended up canceled. Then Bethesda approached him due to interest in his work in Arx Fatalis. Arkane was later absorbed by ZeniMax Media.
With their backing, Arkane Studios brought the hit Dishonored series to life. Aside from that, they also made Prey, Deathloop, and some Wolfenstein entries. Their most recent game is Redfall, which unfortunately garnered many negative reviews citing various problems.
This French-based company started with a challenge to David Cage. He wrote the concept and story of The Nomad Soul, but whenever he pitched it, people said it was impossible. Undeterred, he made a working prototype out of a sound booth with the help of some friends.
Eidos Interactive picked it up, and the game sold 600,000 copies. Quantic Dream followed it up with Fahrenheit, which solidified their formula: ethical ambiguity, a dash of romance, immortality, and interactive storytelling.
Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit Become Human are their more recent works. They are working on Star Wars Eclipse, a branching storyline narrative set in the High Republic Era.
Founded by British brothers, this company brought RuneScape to life. The name was based on their slogan, ‘Java Gaming Experts.’ As technology improved and they released Flash-based War of Legends, this changed to ‘Just About the Game Experience.’
Though they are best known for the longest-lasting MMO, they also developed a few other games:
- Block N Load
- Carnage Racing
Created by the Collyer brothers, they are the ones who made the sports series Football Manager. They were once a subsidiary of Eidos Entertainment but split from that company in 2003. SI moved on to Sega, where they make new seasons of Football Manager every year.
They also make the Championship Manager, Eastside Hockey Manager, and Out of the Park Baseball Manager games.
This is the company that revolutionised social and match-3 puzzle-based gaming. It invented the ‘saga’ version of the genre. Before, players would want to get a high score by trying to stay on the same puzzle board for a long time. The saga changed that to completing some objectives in limited moves.
Although they deal in a different genre and sphere from the others in this list, you can’t deny Candy Crush Saga’s success in gaming. Activision Blizzard acquired the company in 2016.
These are the names behind the Games you play
Without them, your GTA modded accounts (or not) or whatever game listed here that you’ve enjoyed wouldn’t exist. While we only consume what they create, it’s nice to appreciate them and know their efforts in making these worlds and universes to play in.