As you’ll likely be aware, we’re in the process of finding out which games you all enjoyed most in 2015, via our annual Game of the Year polls – a process which should provide a pretty accurate snapshot at where the PlayStation community’s head is at after a busy year of gaming.
However, what about the developers; the hard-working folk who stoke the flames of our beloved pastime? What fired their creative synapses this year?
It’s rather less scientific than a democratic vote, but I got in touch with a number of key PlayStation developers to find out about their stand-out gaming moments of the past 12 months. Have a read below, feel free to share your own highlights in the comments, and then come back tomorrow to find out what the same group of developers are excited for in 2016.
Paul Rustchynsky, Game Director (Driveclub), Evolution Studios
“The Gothic city of Yharnam in Bloodborne is my most memorable gaming memory of the year. The combination of complex interweaving routes, devious enemy placement and beauty in the darkness really set this apart as a stand-out location. One that I’ve recently had the absolute pleasure of revisiting for The Old Hunters DLC!”
Aki Raula, Lead Designer (Matterfall); Housemarque
“The stranger-than-strange decisions I had to make in Life is Strange. Powerful and moving choices that really had an impact on me, even days after. No spoilers – just play it.”
Adrian Chmielarz, Creative Director (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter), The Astronauts
“Unfortunately, revealing my favorite moment of 2015 would be an awful spoiler. Let’s just say it’s something that happens in the last two hours of Until Dawn, which is my personal game of the year, despite the strong competition from the likes of SOMA, The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4.
“Until Dawn features one of the best implementations of player choice I have ever seen in a video game, and to me it shows there’s a great future ahead for this type of entertainment.”
Mare Sheppard, Co-founder, Metanet Software (N++)
“Not a specific moment, but the dozens of tragic deaths incurred in The Swindle still linger. Inevitably, when the stakes are high, there will be a flubbed jump, an unfortunate slip, a slightly mis-timed attack, or an otherwise ill-advised move which brings it all crashing down on us — teaching us what not to do, one agonising loss after another.”
Mike Bithell, Founder, Mike Bithell Games (Volume)
“Metal Gear Solid V was the source of many of my favourite gaming moments of 2015. Running around in the hills, trying to cut off a patrol, or spending half an hour trying to find a particular goat to attach a balloon to. The emergence of the systems, the way in which you had to adapt on the fly as situations changed, made that game a remarkable experience.”
Tom Jones, Principal Artist (RIGS Mechanized Combat League), Guerrilla Cambridge
“Aside from having some amazing multiplayer experiences in Destiny, my stand out moment was in Everybody Gone to The Rapture when one of the character stories ended for the first time. The resulting explosion of lights was so beautifully done, both visually and audibly, that it basically took my breath away!”
Shahid Ahmad, Developer
“If I have to choose a game, it has to be watching colleagues all around me whooping in delight or crying in despair during multi-player sessions of Tricky Towers, which is coming soon to PS4.”
Peter Field, Game Designer (Dreams), Media Molecule
“That moment when you finally work out what’s going on in Sam Barlow’s amazing Her Story. I think I yelped out loud on a very crowded train. It has some great twists and its closing moments are absolutely chilling!”
Simon Harris, Executive Producer (Until Dawn: Rush of Blood), Supermassive Games
“Mine has to be defeating Father Gasgoine in Bloodborne. I’ve piled a bunch of time into all three of the previous titles – Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1 & 2, but with all of them I reached a boss or an area I couldn’t defeat with a few retries and often abandoned them as other games came out and the call of not banging my head against a virtual wall appealed more.
“With Father Gasgoine, I thought I had hit the same point. Initially I couldn’t get even remotely close to beating him. However, I persevered and eventually beat him, triggering that amazing euphoria which is almost unique to FromSoftware’s titles, of gradually, try-by-try, getting closer and closer and then eventually overcoming the obstacle.
“I have since gone on to beat a significant chunk of the title, but still haven’t finished it, so it’s still on my playlist.”
Thomas Grip, Co-founder, Frictional Games (SOMA)
“Until Dawn renewed my faith in the interactive movie genre. This is mostly due to a combination of the ‘anyone can die’ mechanic, along with the ability to anticipate certain outcomes and plan your choices.
“The major problem I normally have with these sorts of games is that I am simply reacting to what is thrown at me, and not given room to use any tactics. But in Until Dawn, I felt that my knowledge of the story was of great use, and that my choices mattered. It is far from perfect, but it showed me as a designer that sometimes just little tweaks to a formula can have huge results.”
Jun Yoshino, Producer (Bloodborne), SCEE
“So many great games came out this year… It’s definitely good to be back roaming around the wastelands of Fallout 4, but as a massive Star Wars fan it has to be taking part in the Battle of Hoth in Star Wars Battlefront. The visuals, audio and the scale just made for a breath-taking experience. Definitely, for me, the gaming highlight of 2015.”
Dominic Matthews, Product Development Manager (Hellblade), Ninja Theory
“As a Englishman born in 1984, walking into the countryside village of Yaughton for the first time in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was a special moment. I felt like I was walking into my childhood. It’s fantastic that The Chinese Room were given the chance to make a creatively risky game and, in my opinion, they totally nailed it.”
Pekka Kujansuu, Gameplay Programmer (Alienation), Housemarque
“Defeating the last boss in Bloodborne on my first try was an amazing moment of triumph in such a difficult game.”
Brynley Gibson, Executive Producer (PlayStation VR), SCE London Studio
“The key gaming moment for me has to be Destiny: The Taken King. This is where that game really started to deliver on the promise of what it set out to be. It was simply better across the board, ate my life and, man, did I become obsessed with opening chests on the Dreadnought.”
Rex Crowle, Lead Creator (Tearaway Unfolded), Media Molecule
“So my gaming moment of the year is (and I’m trying to not to spoil anything here) a scene from Life Is Strange, where I tried to save someone from dying, and failed. Probably most of the games I played this year involved having to save characters at some point, but during Life Is Strange was the only time I failed to do so and really felt it. I couldn’t just have another attempt, the scene didn’t restart, the game continued with the aftermath. And I had to deal with that loss, just like all the other characters in the game.”
“My other memorable moment was right at the start of Fallout 4 when I found Dogmeat at the truck stop, I love the Fallout games and finding my trusty canine companion felt like settling right back into that world with an old friend.”
Dylan Cuthbert, Founder, Q-Games (The Tomorrow Children)
“Bloodborne of course! Every boss battle is a memorable gaming moment but I particularly liked the moment I first took down one of those big heavy fat guys in the first town.”
Simon Bennett, Co-founder, Roll7 (OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood)
“For me it was the moment I beat John (our Creative Director and game beast) at Rocket League with a flying goal. A simple but awesome pleasure…”
Luke Borrett, Producer (Hatoful Boyfriend), Mediatonic
“It’s a tonally contradictory toss-up between beating Ludwig in the Bloodborne: The Old Hunters DLC and nailing a song perfectly in Persona 4 Dancing All Night. Two very different experiences, resulting in similarly crushing failure, followed by the giddy exhilaration of success. Who knew demon slaying and throwing J-pop fuelled shapes had so much in common?”
Matt Birch, Founder, Heavy Spectrum (Shadow of the Beast)
“It’s been a great year to be a gamer. I remember playing The Order 1886, being blown away by the fidelity of the graphics, and really enjoying the sequence where you take over the airship.
“I also loved playing Batman Arkham Knight and the clever way the game narrated to you. Anyone who’s played it will know what I mean!
“I also had some lovely moments with smaller titles. I found Toren a really lovable experience and found myself captivated by the unique atmosphere in Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture.”
Corey Davis, Design Director, Psyonix (Rocket League)
“The Shadows of Yharnam boss fight in Bloodborne. You end up fighting three bosses at once, plus giant snakes that emerge from the ground. It made excellent use of the mobility built into Bloodborne’s combat.
“With every good game like that — the Souls series, Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, etc. – there’s a fight that makes you feel like you’ve achieved some really satisfying level of mastery over the combat system. Shadows of Yharnam was that moment for me in Bloodborne.”
Nathan Vella, Co-founder, Capybara Games (Super Time Force Ultra)
“A short while ago I attended PlayStation Experience 2015 in San Francisco and was lucky enough to be given a shot at playing Rez Infinite wearing the full body vibration suit. Rez by itself is amazing. Rez in VR is wonderful. Rez in VR wearing a suit that provides intense vibration feedback tied directly to the game, its interactions and its music? Now that’s damn memorable. Just look at me!”
Masaaki Yamagiwa, Producer (Bloodborne), SCE Japan Studio
“The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt released in the same year as Bloodborne and is also a huge RPG title. It’s made so very well that you are just completely immersed in its world. Also, the free post-release DLC made me feel that the developer really wants the best for the players and wants them to enjoy the game as much as possible. It gave me an impression that the developers are really working for the player’s enjoyment and I admire that so much.”
Alex Perry, QA Technician (Dreams), Media Molecule
“The big gaming moment for me was being able to load up Tearaway Unfolded at home on my own PS4 with a friend and seeing how beautiful it was out in the real world, having spent so much time with it in development. That was super-exciting to experience with a fresh pair of eyes.”