Ustwo’s Monument Valley wins over notable developers

Game of the year 2014: Developers’ choice

Develop asked various familiar names from the world of game development to choose their favourite game of 2014.

The most popular choice was Ustwo’s beautiful puzzle game Monument Valley, which won the hearts of three of our experts.

Bossa Studio’s Imre Jele said: “We had a great year with a lot of amazingly surprising and surprisingly amazing games. But Monument Valley has to win this title as it represents so many of the things which make games great nowadays: small team achieving a huge success, a game entertaining both old-school gamers and casual players, great art style and music, clever gameplay, and a title combining critical, financial and popular success.”

Modern Dream’s Helena Santos added: “It’s a beautiful example of reductive design. Nothing is in there that doesn’t need to be. The experience is beautifully rewarding and touches the heart strings.”

Finally, Scottish Games Network’s Brian Baglow said: “I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve introduced it to, all of whom have been blown away by it. I’ve been saving the RED levels for Christmas as a present to myself. Good job, Ustwo.”

Read on to find out what other developers choose as their best game of 2014.

Shahid Ahmad, SCEE
“Velocity 2X, because it showed how a small studio can punch way above its weight with verve, attention to detail and a mirror-like sheen. FuturLab held their own against the big guns while securing mass awareness and critical acclaim. Oh, and it’s an outstanding video game that challenges convention.”

David Helgason, Unity Technologies
“At Unity, we are continuously amazed by the myriad of awesome new games coming out on all platforms. It’s impossible to pick one particular favourite, but I’ve enjoyed endless hours on Never Alone, Republique and the jaw-dropping Monument Valley. In 2015, we are excited to see the next wave of Unity console titles with the launches of Ori and the Blind Forest and Cuphead.”

Simon Flesser, Simogo
“Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. I haven’t played a game that have made me laugh out loud so much, and many times in many many years. It’s phenomenal.”

Andrew Oliver, Radiant Worlds
“Flappy Bird. It showed everyone that it’s possible to make a viral hit, which inspires all students and indies to get into making apps. So small but so big – but why? Also Titanfall. It’s great to see such a strong new IP, which I’m sure will set the benchmark in its genre for many years.”

Alex Ward, Three Fields Entertainment
"Ubisoft’s incredible Watch Dogs is the best new IP in years. I spent most of the year hacking Chicago. I’ll never look at a security camera in the same way ever again. A perfectly timed open world game in a post-Snowden world.”

Nick Gibson, Games Investor Consulting
“Elite Dangerous and its clever integration of Oculus Rift (DK2) support. The reactions of both gamers and non-gamers that I have demoed this set up to have been unlike any I have witnessed in my 19 years in the industry.”

Patrick O’Luanaigh, nDreams
“Alien Isolation. High quality, critically acclaimed games based on successful film IP are very rare indeed. There are only a handful of games in the last two decades (including Chronicles of Riddick and Goldeneye) that have achieved this task. With Alien Isolation, the team took a classic license often misused in the gaming space, and created a unique, tense gameplay experience that truly fitted the IP. Amazing work.”

Samantha Wilcox, Eutechnyx
“In terms of sheer size, scale and content I think it was difficult for anyone to top Destiny this year. It’s one of the stand out titles of the last few years.”

Ryan Payton, Camouflaj
“Destiny is the game of 2014. Love it or hate it, Destiny is a window into the future of games. I found Bungie’s post-Halo effort to be incredibly impressive and fun. The dev team has a lot to be proud of, from the game’s incredible audio and visual design, to its solid RPG shooter mechanics and seamless shared world. The game reminds me a lot of Monster Hunter: smart reuse of content, fun co-op action, and addictive progression that needs to be more respectful of the player’s time. Despite ongoing player progression fumbles, Bungie has built an excellent framework for a series that’s likely to hold my attention for many years to come.”

Sunni Pavlovic, Thatgamecompany
“Kentucky Route Zero: Act 3 accomplishes what no triple-A game can. Its two-person development team delivers a refreshingly distinct voice – simultaneously weird, beautiful, and uncompromising – that I wish to experience more of in games.”

Mark Backler, Marmalade Game Studio
“TowerFall Ascension on the PS4. Such a simple concept but is simultaneously so engaging and just fantastic fun to play with a few friends.”

Mike Barwise, Marmalade Game Studio
“Mario Kart 8 was a joy to play – happiness on a disc.”

Debbie Bestwick, Team17
“This War of Mine: a survival game in which players must make harsh choices to ensure their survival in a war-torn environment. Thought provoking and emotional.”

David Braben, Frontier Developments
“I wouldn’t usually mention our own games for such a thing, but I genuinely believe Elite: Dangerous is that game. The team have done such a great job, independently of any comments from me – and in some cases despite them!”

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