Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO studio of the year.
Last year’s award was won by SOE, you’ll recall, a choice that seems almost quaint from here at the end of 2015. We asked our writers to consider major MMO studios in 2015, not just their pet favorites, and judge the studios on what they did this year specifically.
All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Studio of of 2015 is…
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): CCP Games. Not only is this probably the first year in a long time that CCP hasn’t had a major scandal to deal with, but they’ve really been listening to players this year and focusing hard on EVE Online. At the same time, they’ve positioned themselves as a major player in the launch of VR tech with EVE Gunjack and EVE Valkyrie and managed to attract investment specifically for VR. It shows that CCP can develop other games without ditching the existing EVE players. We also saw CCP officially sell off White Wolf and all the World of Darkness materials to another company rather than sitting on the IP as an asset like some developers would.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Gazillion. The amount of love it pours into Marvel Heroes, the constant updates, the weekly events, and the community feedback on characters and costumes that make it into the game in no time? Even when I’m not playing MH, I am in awe of the life Gazillion injects into the game and the way it’s managed to avoid the mistakes a lot of larger studios make. I also think that City State Entertainment, while it has yet to complete Camelot Unchained, is setting a new bar for communication and player involvement that inspires loyalty across the board. Hat tip to Square-Enix as well for its classy handling of Final Fantasy XI’s autumn days.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Truth time: I do not like Marvel Heroes and probably never will. I was also super tempted to give the nod here to Square-Enix, but I think Gazillion has done a great job keeping its game humming along, keeping players interested, and keeping people happy. For a game I don’t like very much, that deserves a nod and some respect.
Jef Reahard (@jefreahard): Cloud Imperium has weathered a storm of low-information bullshit all year, both from internet trolls and developers who moonlight as internet trolls. And oh yeah, the company continues to develop what is inarguably the most ambitious video game of all time in terms of features, functionality, and fidelity. Honorable mention to City State. Even though Camelot Unchained isn’t out yet, someone should write a this-is-how-you-run-an-MMO-community book and just list everything Jacobs and company have done thus far.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Trion Worlds. Yes, any mention of Trion is going to incur the wrath of the ArcheAge crowd, but even there I thought the studio had better communication and CM talent. And it did some great things this year, with Trove’s successful launch, RIFT’s meaty updates, and the acquisition of Devilian. People, it’s actually a fun game! Also Square-Enix. I am not on board the Final Fantasy train, but I deeply admire how committed and serious Square-Enix is in making FFXIV shine. The studio also gets points for giving FFXI a grand send-off and keeping it in maintenance mode.
Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): I think I will have to give this one to Square-Enix. I don’t play a Square-Enix game. I am not a fan, but when a studio continues to get praise from its players long after the expansion is launched, it’s done something right.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Studio Wildcard. I am impressed with how this studio is on the ball, actively developing the game. Issues come up, but they are quickly addressed. And I do mean quickly! I didn’t think I would ever wish a studio to patch less frequently sometimes, but I almost did here once or twice.
Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): ArenaNet, most definitely. Apologies for my answers seeming samey at this point, but I couldn’t possibly say anyone else. I was pretty teary when I watched the expansion launch livestream because I could feel just how much of themselves the team members had placed into HoT’s development. It’s an absolute pleasure talking to the team members for interviews and the like, and I’ve been given several opportunities to just kick back and play beta content with the devs this year too. Any dev team that makes themed toast during livestreams is A-OK in my book!
Square-Enix won our pick for best MMO studio of the year. What’s your pick?
What was the best studio of 2015?
- Square-Enix (8%, 232 Votes)
- Gazillion (2%, 58 Votes)
- City State Entertainment (6%, 194 Votes)
- CCP Games (2%, 48 Votes)
- Cloud Imperium (44%, 1,351 Votes)
- Trion Worlds (1%, 38 Votes)
- Studio Wildcard (16%, 479 Votes)
- ArenaNet (4%, 119 Votes)
- Daybreak (0%, 9 Votes)
- BioWare (2%, 53 Votes)
- Blizzard (3%, 79 Votes)
- PWE & Cryptic (1%, 17 Votes)
- Bethesda & ZeniMax (5%, 163 Votes)
- ArtCraft Entertainment (0%, 13 Votes)
- Turbine (1%, 24 Votes)
- Carbine Studios (1%, 34 Votes)
- NCsoft (0%, 11 Votes)
- Funcom (2%, 54 Votes)
- Jagex (0%, 11 Votes)
- Portalarium (0%, 10 Votes)
- Frontier (1%, 33 Votes)
- Bluehole & En Masse (0%, 8 Votes)
- Something else -- tell us in the comments! (1%, 42 Votes)
Total Voters: 3,080