The best studio this year is without doubt CD Projekt Red. The expansion of the Polish-based company has been quite remarkable in recent years, where just over twenty years ago they started translating RPGs into Polish, before eventually working on their own titles as well as setting up online retailer GOG.com). The first game in The Witcher series was a modest affair, but the scope was expanded somewhat in Assassins of Kings, and that work was then blown out of the water with one of this year's outstanding releases, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The ever increasing quality of their games mirrors the meteoric rise of the studio, their growing confidence increasingly reflected in their increasingly ambitious titles.
Before this year started we knew that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was probably going to be a good game, but we there was no way that we could be sure that it'd be a modern classic. With its release we saw CDPR elevate themselves to the top table of western RPG development, where they now currently sit alongside Bethesda and Bioware. Both of those studios can boast their own fantasy and science-fiction franchises, and soon enough CDPR will join them on that front, with Cyberpunk 2077 currently in development and likely to land sometime within the next twenty-four months. If they can achieve similar success with their first foray into science-fiction, their ascension to the top will be assured.
In 2015 we saw CD Projekt Red come of age (coincidentally, the studio was formed in 1994, meaning this year they enjoyed their 21st birthday). This a studio working at the height of its powers, and with the release of The Witcher 3 earlier this year, they succinctly demonstrated their ability to mix it with the big boys. There's still room for the studio to grow and develop, but make no mistake, CDPR are here to stay, and now that they've stepped out of the shadows of the studios that inspired them, who knows where their creativity and unique approach to world design will take them next. One thing we know for sure: we can't wait to see where their journey takes them.