The top games and franchises as voted for by game journalists

Half-Life 2 triumphs in Develop 100 Critics’ Choice

Develop’s ranking of the best games of all time as voted for by games critics is now live, and below we have the breakdown of the top five.

For the new volume of the Develop 100, published in association with Ukie, we pooled votes from over 200 journalists, covering online, print, broadcast and specialist press, each of whom submitted a list of up to ten games they felt were the best yet created.

If you bought last year’s Develop 100 on iOS (via Develop’s magazine app), the new listing is available as a free update.

Alternatively, we’ve cut the price of the book – which includes both last year’s list of the world’s most commercially successful studios and this new listing – at the reduced price of £1.49. This latest edition of the Develop 100 is also available in the browser here.

The Top Five Games

1. Half-life 2
2. BioShock
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
4. Portal
5. Mass Effect 2

Valve-developed shooter Half-Life 2 has emerged as the most popular game of all time, according to input from hundreds of professional video games critics

The ground-breaking title, released in 2004, has been eulogised by critics, developers and gamers alike over the last decade, dazzling them with its impressive graphics from the Source Engine, its game-changing physics engine, and the large-scale story of a dystopian future where its tyrannical rulers gradually lose control.

In second place is Irrational’s BioShock, another triple-A title that enthralled with its artistic vision and tense gameplay.

Nintendo 64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time makes it into third, loved by critics for its sprawling landscape, epic story of good and evil and ingenious dungeons and puzzles.

Half-Life 2 was not the only Valve-developed title in the Critics’ Choice list, with Half-Life and Portal also in the top 10, and Counter-Strike, Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2 securing places in the rest of the list.

BioWare’s Mass Effect 2 meanwhile rounds up the top five, a game which realised the huge potential hinted at in the original Mass Effect, with decisions resulting in real consequences by the end of the journey.

Below we have a breakdown of the top five game franchises, after counting the number of titles in a series as voted for by game critics.

A number of studios saw multiple entries in the list, including Nintendo EAD, Rockstar North and BioWare, while franchises that dominated counted among them Metal Gear Solid, Mass Effect, Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Grand Theft Auto.

The Top Five Game Franchises

1. Mario
2. The Legend of Zelda
3. Half-Life
4. Portal
5. Grand Theft Auto

With its long history and strong back-catalogue of games in the Mario and Legend of Zelda series, it’s no surprise to see Nintendo’s leading characters take up the top two spots of the list, with the duo synonymous with its own console platforms.

Having taken up two spots in our top ten, Half-Life eases its way into third spot, despite having only two entries, while Valve’s first-person puzzle Portal also achieves the same feat.

Rockstar’s hit and critically acclaimed series Grand Theft Auto rounds up the top five.

Sequels and series prospered throughout the list, with seven games in the top ten counting as direct follow-ons or spiritual successors to other games. There are just six games in the 100 that have never had a sequel and were original IP; namely Journey, Grim Fandango, Minecraft, Rez, Braid and Okami.

And 27 games on the list are games that are second-in-a-series, such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, or a direct sequel to another title in a franchise, like Super Mario Galaxy 2.

After the Critics’ Choice list, three further volumes of the Develop 100 will be published this year. We will reveal which insightful metrics they will use at a later date.

For sponsorship opportunities and advertising enquiries in future Develop 100s contact

To see the full Develop 100 Critics’ Choice list, and find out if and where your favourite game placed, be sure to download the Develop 100 on the App Store, or view it through your browser here.

About MCV Staff

Check Also

CD Projekt Red settles Cyberpunk 2077 lawsuit for £1.55 million

The studio behind Cyberpunk 2077 has settled a class action lawsuit that was originally filed back in January 2021