These studios did wonders with their releases this year.
Let's all put our cards on the table here, we all thought Resident Evil was done, right? The steady shift from survival to action marked a gradual evolution for the horror series, but it was one that a lot of people weren't entirely happy with. But the studio had the good sense to change things up and take the franchise in a different direction, and in doing so rescued it from irrelevance. By making the player feel truly vulnerable again and shifting the emphasis back to survival horror once more, Resident Evil 7 was a hit with fans, and revitalised the series while also bringing it back to its roots.
Another studio that took the time to revamp a flagging franchise was Ubisoft Montreal, which absolutely smashed it out of the park with Assassin's Creed Origins earlier this year. After churning out games every year, the AC franchise was beginning to stagnate, but by ditching the yearly cycle and taking its time, Ubisoft was able to craft one of the finest Assassin's Creed to date, and rekindle our love for the franchise. Bolstered by the tantalising setting of Ancient Egypt, Bayek's journey was engaging and immersive, and all the systems were spruced up and modernised alongside it.
Cuphead is a lovely game in so many ways, and this is magnified when you find out that it's the debut work of Studio MDHR. The team signed up for console exclusivity with Microsoft and bought themselves the time they needed to finish off the project, and we're glad that they did, because given the extra time they ensured that Cuphead ended up a pixel-perfect run and gun platformer. We were kept waiting with this one, but it paid off in the end, as we were treated to a unique platformer that mixed intense challenge with 1930s-style cartoon visuals.
Nintendo launched a new console this year, and then proceeded to release a steady stream of killer titles for it over the course of 2017. Included in that lineup was two bonafide Game of the Year contenders in the form of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There are obviously lots of teams at the company beavering away on new games, but the quality of their main offerings can't be ignored. Stellar stuff indeed, especially as some consider both to be landmark games in their respective series.
Until 2017, the series that Guerrilla Games was best known for was Killzone, a competent but ultimately generic sci-fi shooter series for PlayStation. With that being the case, nobody expected that studio to deliver one of the greatest games of the year, nay decade, in the form of Horizon: Zero Dawn. Leaving behind the corridor shooter setup in favour of a deep and expansive open world setting proved to be a masterstroke, and Guerrilla deserves all the plaudits for crafting an engaging and inclusive sci-fi world ripe for exploration. 2017 saw the company come of age, and the giant step forward they made with Horizon makes Guerrilla Games our studio of the year.