Ten Great Developers That Changed A Gaming Series

Who says only the original team knows how to handle its own creation? Not this lot.
Picture of the Red Bull F1 car in the game F1 by Codemasters studios.
F1 by Codemaster revived the ailing racing series
By Johnny Minkley

Talk about a tough act to follow. Having created not simply one of the world's most popular shooters, but the defining game series of the Xbox era, Bungie bowed out from Halo after 2010's Reach, leaving 343 Industries to take on the Chief in this autumn's Halo 4.

If 343 is bricking it about living up to expectations, it's hardly alone. Brit studio Ninja Theory has already felt the wrath of screaming fanboys before any of them has even played its reboot of Devil May Cry, due early next year.

Meanwhile, after turning in the mediocre Resistance: Burning Skies on Vita already this year, what hope for Nihilistic Software to match Treyarch as it turns its hand to Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified later in 2012?

Gaming history is littered with the failures of famous franchises that switch developer. But some, against the odds, not only turn out to be good, but actually better than the beloved originals.

Football Manager

Originally created by beardy Kevin Toms for home computers in the early '80s, the classic sim series was revived in 2004 after Championship Manager maker Sports Interactive lost the rights to that name and carried on instead as the now-peerless FM.

Max Payne

Remedy did a great job with its noir, Matrix-inspired action anti-hero. But it took the cinematic brilliance of Rockstar this year to take Max into the blockbuster big league.


Nintendo's influential platform adventures of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras were reborn, remarkably, as a sensationally good FPS, Metroid Prime, by US studio Retro.

Need For Speed

EA's arcade racing series has always enjoyed immense popularity, but it was the genius of Burnout creator Criterion that took it to the next level, starting with 2010's Hot Pursuit.

Tomb Raider

Core Design's iconic original looms large even today, but the now-dead studio destroyed its reputation with 2003's appalling Angel of Darkness. Step forward Crystal Dynamics, which began with the impressive Legend and now promises Lara's greatest adventure yet in next year's reboot.

Donkey Kong

The granddaddy of Nintendo coin-ops has actually been taken on and bettered twice by two different teams. First, Brit super-studio Rare delivered the stunning Donkey Kong Country in '94 and Donkey Kong 64 in '99. Then, over a decade later, Retro knocked it out of the jungle with the bananas Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii.

Prince of Persia

Jordan Mechner's original Apple II adventure was notable largely for its astonishingly lifelike animations. When Ubisoft got its hands on the rights, the breathtaking, sprawling Sands of Time was the result. Shame it was all downhill from there…

House of the Dead

Sega's on-rails zombie shooter was always a blast in the arcades, but far too limited for home gaming. That was until Headstrong's spectacularly sweary, savagely funny grindhouse-inspired spin-off appeared on Wii of all things.


Insomniac, creator of Resistance and Ratchet & Clank, first made its name with cutesy 3D platformer Spyro The Dragon on the original PlayStation. A lovely game, but Toys For Bob has since turned it into toys-and-games-splicing phenomenon Skylanders, that rarest of things: a genuine innovation in console gaming.


Okay, F1 is a real world licence. Nevertheless, Codemasters deserves immense credit for taking on a game series driven to despair by Sony and tuning it up to its present state of motorsport magnificence.

read more about