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.
Development studios are at the very heart of the UK’s games industry, producing titles that thrill and amuse, both across the country and across the world. So we thought it was a good place to start our round-up of the brilliant talent on this year’s MCV/DEVELOP awards shortlist.
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 STUDIO OF THE YEAR
Codemasters have had a busy year, releasing a plethora of titles across their racing brands. With Dirt Rally 2.0, F1 2019 and the rebooted Grid franchise racing onto consoles and PC. The firm relocated its Birmingham team to a shiny new office in April, and you can read more about its outlook for growth in our big Codemasters interview.
The Horsham-based creator of the Total War series is such a big deal it effectively had its own section in Ukie’s own regional breakdown. This year, the developer launched its much -awaited Total War: Three Kingdoms, plus in the background it’s beavering away at an unannounced title that’s set to break new ground for the studio. Here, studio head Tim Heaton answers our Final Boss questions. And plenty more from the studio here.
The Cambridge studio is now well-setted into its smart Cambridge offices, from which this year escaped sim title Planet Zoo. Meanwhile the company signed Haemimont Games to its fledgling publishing label. And we look forward to game based around a new major IP in the near future, after last year’s big hit Jurassic World Evolution. And record results are nothing to sniff at either.
Media Molecule is just about ready to wake from its long slumber. Make anything you like title, Dreams, was announced at E3 back in 2015 and is finally coming out this month. That’s in part because the studio was happy to start again at one point, as it told us last year. Of course that’s far from the end as the studio will throw itself into supporting the ballooning community of creators.
SIE London Studio
There aren’t that many fully-fledged console VR experiences around, but SIE London’s Blood and Truth shows what’s possible in the space. It went on to become the first VR title to top the UK charts on release.
Sumo Digital remains the UK’s premier external developer, trusted with launches such as Team Sonic Racing and Crackdown 3 in 2019 as well as taking a hand in innumerable others. Also this year it partnered with 2K and opened its seventh studio, in Warrington.
INDIE STUDIO OF THE YEAR
Bithell Games’ year was marked for death, figuratively-speaking, with its unusual stategy-based twist on super assassin John Wick. John Wick Hex released on Epic Game Store to great reviews, publisher Good Shepherd discussed the game with us.
The studio’s love letter to Advance Wars, Wargroove, was a critical and commercial smash. The turn-based battler twinned adorable graphics with deep strategy and did especially well on Switch.
Knights and Bikes is a Goonies-inspired coming of age tale, where the young protagonists explore their home island on bikes. Originally supported on Kickstarter back in 2016, it’s since released on PlayStation and PC and is coming to Switch soon. We talked to the team behind the game recently, so catch that in next month’s issue.
Hello Games space epic, No Man’s Sky, has become a poster-child for post-release support. This year’s ‘Beyond’ expansion added the much-wanted multiplayer aspect of the game, with support for up to 32 players to work together, and support for VR headsets, among innumerable other improvements.
Ustwo took a step away from its multi-million selling Monument Valley series this year to create Assemble with Care, a beautiful narrative-puzzle title, and one of many releases that came alongside Apple Arcade. We talked to the team about its motivations behind creating the title.
ZA/UM’s groundbreaking RPG adventure wowed critics with its writing and mechanics, as you build out your cop persona with numerous abilities and psychoses. With a team that was originally based in Estonia, as well as distributed other locations, some relocated to London during the games, allowing it to qualify – luckily for us.
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.