During the 30th anniversary of famous game studio which could be pretty much held responsible for PlayStation consoles to be famous – Naughty Dog, the team has released a 50 minute video that is basically a documentary in which they are talking about everything, their team, history, games etc. As a gamer I really appreciate the team that brought us Crash, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted, The Last of Us… However, when they mentioned Irrational Games, the studio that brought us BioShock series, System Shock 2, Thief (by Ken Levine), Freedom Force, SWAT 4, Tribes: Vengeance etc. about shutting down, they’ve crossed the parallels with them later on by basically mentioning how they are more competent, quality studio just because they’ll endure while those did not. It could be unintentional, but definitely seemed that way and was definitely a wrong point to make on a multiple levels because we’re talking about two completely different studios.
Irrational Games is one of the rarest studios out there, that had the balls to realize their visions and do what they want till the very last day without compromises (or a very few minor ones, to be exact). They didn’t looked at the trends, they constantly kept bringing the innovations, pushing the boundaries and it was risky on almost every step of the way. That is the case especially in BioShock Infinite where the character of Elizabeth (main character aside the player) didn’t even functioned almost halftime of the development process, same thing for the Rail system etc. Not to mention the sheer complexity of storylines, gameplay options, characters, world building… The whole game was at stake half the time, and every game development for them was pretty much like that, and that is what makes them more special in my eyes.
Naughty Dog on the other hand would never even dare to make something like that, unconventional and without compromises. That is the point. They always followed the trends, looking what are the most popular things in order to make a concept for their games and even compromised their own visions of the games in many occasions. No wonder they are still here to brag about their longevity as a game developers. And that all talk “We are the best, we only hire the best…” is also pretty far from the truth (maybe we should redefine what “the best” means..). That being said, while I do appreciate Naughty Dog like I said in the beginning, but I gotta admit I appreciate Irrational much more, even though they’re closed the doors unfortunately – their work will still endure and showcase that quality of visionary, uncompromised and innovative games that were ahead of their times.
Mentioned Anniversary video by Naughty Dog
Interesting review with the man in charge of Irrational Games
– Ken Levine