This year we’ve shaken up the usual awards format by opening up voting to all of you, the UK games industry, or at least the ones that are lucky enough to receive a print issue of MCV/DEVELOP, which is over 5,000 industry professionals
Following up on our highlight on the Major Studio and Indie Studio nominees, we now turn our eye to our nominees for Major Publisher of the Year and Indie Publisher of the Year.
To vote for your favourites, simply grab your subscriber number off your print copy of MCV/DEVELOP and head over to the MCV/DEVELOP Awards.
MAJOR PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Capcom had a strong year in 2019, seeing releases in two of its biggest franchises, Resident Evil (Resident Evil 2 remake) and Devil May Cry (Devil May Cry 5), both release as critical and commercial successes. Resident Evil 2 remake has done particularly well, with it becoming Metacritic’s best-rated game of the year, as well as taking home two Golden Joysticks for Best Audio and Ultimate Game of the Year. Continuing the Resident Evil theme, Capcom have also hired former PlatinumGames CEO Tatsuya Minami to lead the studio creating the Resident Evil 3 remake.
Nintendo has had a standout year, in no small thanks to the enormous success of the Nintendo Switch – particularly in Japan, having sold three million units of the Switch Lite in just three months. The same sales figures also demonstrated Nintendo’s dominance of the Japanese market, claiming 9 of the top 10 games of the year in terms of sales. Nintendo’s success isn’t just tied to the Switch, however. Nintendo has also seen success with their mobile titles, topping $1bn in revenue early this year, with 61 per cent of that revenue coming from Fire Emblem Heroes.
Sega have begun a number of new ventures in the past year. In November, Sega Europe and Creative Assembly hosted the first ever SEGA Dev Day – a new conference that brought together developers from across Amplitude, Creative Assembly, CA Sofia, Hardlight, Relic, Sports Interactive and the newly acquired Two Point Studios. Additionally, Sega have recently announced plans to to switch to fully recyclable packaging for all of its physical PC products, following the success of a similar scheme in the physical copies of Football Manager 2020.
As we begin ramping up for the next generation of consoles, obviously a lot of buzz around Sony is PS5-related right now, but they’ve had a busy year in this current generation too. Sony has seen success publishing critically-acclaimed titles such as Days Gone and the PSVR-focused Blood and Truth, both of which dominated the UK charts – And of course has the hugely anticipated The Last of Us Part II coming out on May 29th. Additionally, in August Sony acquired Insomniac Games, the studio behind PlayStation-exclusive title Marvel’s Spider-Man
Square Enix is also behind some of the year’s most popular titles. The publisher is behind Dontnod’s Life is Strange 2, which just recently released its final episode to a warm reception from fans and critics. The publisher also wrapped up the long-running Kingdom Hearts series in 2019, releasing the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III – And of course is behind the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake. Additionally, Square Enix has recently partnered with UK homeless charity Centrepoint to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by homeless young people in the UK “at a crucial time of year” through its character-driven teen series, Life is Strange.
Take-Two (Rockstar and 2K)
Take-Two has seen excellent financial results this year, in no small part to the ongoing success of Red Dead Redemption 2. We spoke to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick last year about the-then 23 million copies sold of Rockstar’s smash-hit title. On the 2K side of things, the publisher recently saw Gearbox Software’s Borderlands 3 rapidly become the fastest-selling game in 2K history, shifting more than five million units in its opening five days. Additionally, 2K also revealed a new studio, Cloud Chamber, which is currently working on a new entry to the BioShock franchise – We interviewed Cloud Chamber studio head Kelley Gilmore about the new studio.
INDIE PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Chucklefish publish a number of titles including the ConcernedApe’s enormously successful Stardew Valley on Mobile, Hidden Layer Games’ horror platformer INMOST on Apple Arcade and Pixpil’s action adventure Eastward coming soon to PC and Nintendo Switch. 2019 also saw Chucklefish develop and publish award-winning turn-based tactics title Wargroove, which received a multiplatform release to critical acclaim and commercial success. They recently released a huge free expansion as a thank you to fans.
Curve Digital – A subsidiary of the Catalis group, has seen a lot of growth over the past year, as we discussed with Catalis CEO Dominic Wheatley. Curve is the publisher behind Denki’s charming title Autonauts, which was our Ukie UK Game of the Show at last year’s Gamescom, and is slated to work with Endemol for a new Peaky Blinders video game. Curve Digital and Echo Chamber Games have also recently partnered with NHS England to announce a collaboration that aims to encourage players to give blood this Valentine’s Day with its new dating game, Table Manners
2019 saw Team17 publish Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, which released to strong reviews across the board. The publisher is also working with Bad Yolk, publishing their debut title Main Assembly, which is set to arrive on Steam Early Access in spring 2020. Team17 has had a remarkable year, reporting ‘record breaking performance’ as their half-yearly revenue jumped 97% in September last year, and recently acquired Yipee Entertainment.
Wired Productions was behind a number of titles in 2019 and 2020, including Deliver Us The Moon, the debut title from Dutch developers KeokeN Interactive, Adventure horror Close to the Sun from Storm in a Teacup and AVICII Invector – a rhythm-action game created in collaboration with the late superstar DJ that was released to stellar reviews.
Now go and vote for your winners! Simply grab your subscriber number off your print copy of MCV/DEVELOP and head over to the MCV/DEVELOP Awards voting page.