Warning : a bit of a rantish journal ;3
Once upon a time there was a video game company that seemed to turn everything it touched into gold. It had an amazing creativity, a formidable amount of talents in its ranks and an incredible drive to make mythical games. Every genre they tried, they ended up producing a masterpiece that soon became a classic of the genre.
That company was Blizzard. But that was then..
Nowadays, it seems that company care only about making more profits and shareholders benefits with some very greedy monetization They're more or less the ones who initiated the current race we're witnessing between game companies with their infamous Auction house and loot boxes. The game they create are - in my personal opinion - pretty bland, slick but soul-less and the company as a whole seems to no longer even understand what gamers wants. I'm referring to the Blizzcon fiasco where the Blizzard crew got booed on stage after their announcement of Diablo Immortal, the future Diablo game which will be on mobile. I mean.. wow. Between the very bad timing, the bait and switch hype, the accusations of it being a reskin of an existing game, the clumsy damage control and censorship ( ever heard of the Streisand effect ?) That's... a mess. I'm feeling quite bad for the Blizzard employees who were standing on that scene
That video of the announcement seems well on its way to become one of the most disliked ever on youtube and I can certainly understand why.
Fortunately there are some companies out there that seem to have the same mix of passion, drive and talent that Blizzard once had while at the same time remaining humble and respectful to their customers. I'm making a little shout-out to some of them with that journal :3 -Re-logic:
They created Terraria, a sort of a really nice 2D Minecraft. It's one those games where you just try to survive, gather materials to craft new items and little by little, explore and then conquer your environment.
It's a very rich and very attaching game with a ton of love and passion put into it ^^ There are small little details everywhere and a very large panel of things you can do or create. It's the concurrent of Starbound, another 2d exploration-driven game but this time in space. Both are pretty similar and very good but I would put Terraria a bit ahead for the attachement you feel to your world as it start to evolve through phases and events and because of your presence and how you start to feel you know it. It's that kind of games that tells a lot of little stories as you play ^^
The game got updated many times throughout the years with a crazy amount of new content for completely free. That's the definition of a work of passion imho -Digital Extreme:
They created Warframe. It's a pretty unique one I think. It's a shooter but almost entirely cooperative, in which you play some sort of space ninjas ^^ It has a nearly perfect gameplay in my opinion with very crisp controls that make you feel like you can do anything. It has also a surprisingly rich universe with a deep and captivating story and some unforgettable and emotional moments.
Shooters are usually not my thing at all but this one took me by storm. It's a rather tough game to get in, not very easy to learn at first but as you play you start to feel there are a lot of things in the background and you discover little by little a very rich universe with a really good story that surprised me repeatedly . I think it's an excellent game that gets a ton of things right and it's entirely free to play ^^ despite having a quality that blow out of the water 80% of AAA titles out there imho.
They just released a large update adding a whole new area and ton of contents, again for completely free. If you like the idea of controlling a space ninja, running on walls, infiltrating ultra-protected places, fishing, and travelling from planets to planets or you just like a well made sci fi universe with a great lore, this one is definitely worth checking ;3-Grinding gear games:
They created path of Exile which is now clearly holding the title of the Diablo 2 successor imho ( I didn't play Grim dawn though )
I actually discovered the game several years ago, right after the enormous disappointment that was Diablo 3, but I wasn't too caught by it back then. It looked really rough on the edges despite some great ideas and a bit bare-bones.
A while ago I decided to try it again though and wow... It evolved so much since then. Those guys have a ton less budget than Blizzard had for Diablo 3 but they have ideas and they have passion. POE is now a very solid ARPG with a crazy amount of depth, much better improved graphics, excellent and memorable musics and the gameplay has been improved greatly as well. it no longer feels clunky like it once was. To me it's the true successor to the Diablo 2 throne ^^ Oh and yeah it's entirely free to play as well, with very frequent updates. So yeah if you like ARPGs /H&S and you don't know it already, go check it !
These last couple years, those studios have become among my favorite for their work and passion. I feel the game industry as a whole has sadly become extremely greedy and soul-less, producing many games that just feel so bland and safe.. So it just feel so refreshing to play games where you feel the creators were out to make something great they clearly enjoy playing as well . Games from gamers to gamers ;3
Those are the names that jumped to my mind as I wrote. There are many others fortunately. Don't hesitate if you think there is a game studio out there I didn't mention and that deserve some shout-out for their great work