Game Developers Choose Favorite PlayStation Games of 2016

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Game Developers Choose Favorite PlayStation Games of 2016

It’s been a truly momentous year for PlayStation. 2016 has offered one of the most diverse 12 months in PlayStation history, whether you’re exploring exotic locales, screaming at friends in an overstressed kitchen, becoming an iconic dark knight, or punching the air after scoring Play of the Game.

With so much choice, it’s impossible to pick an easy Top 10 from this year. Instead, we asked those who’ve transported us to worlds beyond our imagination for their personal favorites. These are the best PlayStation game moments of 2016, as chosen by developers the world over.

Batman: Arkham VR

As chosen by…
“Its use of the Move controllers for accessing gadgets, navigating and interacting with items and scenery, really set the standard for an intuitive and compelling experience in VR. The game is full of memorable moments, but the standout for me took place in the latter part of the game in a prison cell. Without saying too much, it made me feel completely absorbed into Batman’s world where I felt anxious, vulnerable, and overwhelmed, but all in a good way — and gave me an experience that could only be had in VR.”

-Phil Nightingale // Senior Designer on Tethered, Secret Sorcery

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1

As chosen by…
“There are a lot of speedy shooters out there these days, where you’re rushing around killing everything, but Battlefield 1 is a little slower — in a good way. It sort of matches the era that’s depicted in the game, so it was a fresh perspective on recent shooters and that’s why I really enjoyed it.”

-Yosuke Hayashi // Game Director on Nioh, Team Ninja

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

As chosen by…
“My new guilty pleasure: COD’s zombie mode. It’s strangely relaxing to kill zombies while flowing through the map. I’ve skipped the franchise for many years and so this is my first time trying this out. I always enjoyed co-op survival modes since Unreal Tournament 2004 Invasion Mod!”

-Dominic Guay // Senior Producer on Watch Dogs 2 , Ubisoft Montreal

Darkest Dungeon

As chosen by…
“There are so many reasons to love this game: the narrator, the gameplay, the punishing, brutal failure, the tense exploration, the whole theme… Yeah. I love this game. I come back to it again, and again, and again… and again. (I worry about that, though. It is brutally unforgiving. Is there something wrong with me?)”

-Jason Vandenberghe // Creative Director on For Honor, Ubisoft Montreal

Dark Souls III on PS4

Dark Souls 3

As chosen by…
“It’s a no-brainer: Dark Souls 3 has the fullest game experience, a universe that’s both rich and consistent, an unparalleled depth in all game aspects — definitely my champion in 2016.”

-David Guillaume // Artistic Director on The Crew, Ivory Tower

“I watched one of our animators take part in a Dark Souls 3 speed challenge at EGX Rezzed and it piqued my interest to finally take the plunge and give the series a go. The sense of threat, trepidation, and subtle world building sucked me in utterly. Sure, it’s punishing, but the sense of achievement after cracking a tricky section or boss is unparalleled. It’s a strange compulsion, like eating chilli. I was hooked.”

-Alex Kanaris-Sotiriou // Art Director on Rigs, Guerrilla Cambridge

“There’s a lot of opinions in our company which one is the best [game in the franchise], but in terms of what’s the best series out there, I think that’s one of the clear winners. There are a lot of odd titles here and there that improved what gameplay can be in games. There’s a few spotlights out there, but I think the Dark Souls series has really been the shining light for that. And in 2016, that was really cool point to see that.”

-Mikael Haveri // Head of Publishing, Nex Machina, Housemarque

Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2

As chosen by…
“My personal favorite gaming moment of 2016 was finding and eliminating the Crown Killer in Dishonored 2. The entire Addermire Institute environment was soaked in history and atmosphere, and the act of non-lethally dispatching the Crown Killer (with all of the surrounding circumstance, which I don’t want to spoil here) was an awesome sequence of events.”

-Matthias Worch // Design Director on Mafia III, Hangar 13

“I had already spent a good amount of time in the game already, and was loving it, when I came upon the fourth mission: The Clockwork Mansion. Not going to lie, entering a level that involves a lot of puzzles and a constantly shifting landscape made me nervous. However, it quickly became my favorite level as I felt constantly challenged and when I figured something it out was very emotionally rewarding. Just talking about it gets me hyped up to play again, so off I go for a second playthrough!”

-Lilith Newman // FX/Tech Art Producer on Borderlands, Gearbox Software


As chosen by…
“Doom was a delight to play, and a tour de force of genius level design. The whole game was a nonstop barrage of enjoyment, but it really reached its peaks during the forays into hell. What an homage to and leap beyond the original.

-John Watson // Technical Director on The Banner Saga, Stoic

“I really enjoyed it. I thought it had a great balance of risk and reward, and the game design encouraged you to engage with the opponent.”

-Gavin McCarthy // Art Director, Household Games Inc

“I’ve had a lot of fun with it — it’s not trying to be more than what it is. At the beginning of the game you have a sequence where a guy pops up on a monitor and tries to explain what’s going on, and your character just smashes it: there’s no time for story. You just take a gun and start killing demons. No nonsense.”

-Andrew Kephalidis // Gameplay Animator on Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft

Dragon Quest Builders

As chosen by…
“I’ve played several games, but the one I’ve spent the most time playing was Dragon Quest Builders. There’s a bit more guidance than in Minecraft, and it made me understand the appeal of the phenomena.”

-Fumito Ueda // Game Designer on The Last Guardian

Eve Valkyrie

Eve Valkyrie

As chosen by…
“For me it was the first ‘real’ space battle I had in VR. I’m a big fan of films like Top Gun and Star Wars, especially for the epic dogfights, whether that be in fighter jets or starships. Playing a game like Eve Valkyrie for the first time in VR was incredible, you really feel like you are actually sitting in that starship cockpit. Whether you are pulling a ‘fly-by’ up close to a massive carrier ship or dodging in between gaps in asteroid fields to chase down and take out other players in multiplayer, it feels unlike anything else you’ve played. All this with the added bonus of being able to look around 360 degrees with 3D audio is an incredible feeling.”

-Mark Lintott // Technical Director on PS VR Worlds, London Studio

Far Cry Primal

As chosen by…
“To me, Far Cry Primal is without a doubt the best player experience of 2016. Being in full immersion into the wild, alone is this hostile environment got me through some nerve-racking moments — and some long distressing nights listening to the wolves’ howling!”

-Stéphane “Fergus” Beley // Game Director on The Crew, Ivory Tower

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

As chosen by…
“Catching up to endgame content in FFXIV. Being able to play with my wife and friends from work and getting the sense of accomplishment of defeating brutal bosses with friends is hard to match.”

-Jason Schroeder // Senior Producer on South Park, Ubisoft San Francisco

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

As chosen by…
“My favorite moment of 2016 has to be the title sequence of Final Fantasy XV. At the surface, it is just the user holding a button to push a car. But in the context of the game’s interminable development, the moment when the strains of ‘Stand By Me’ plays over what sounded like the Final Fantasy arpeggio was sublime. It felt like a huge weight was lifted from the chests of fans and devs alike, and I was happy to be a part of it. I can’t imagine a song better suited in keeping with the theme of brotherhood and thanking fans for their dedication.”

-Ken Chua // Assoc. Sft. Engineer, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics

“Definitely the introduction of Final Fantasy XV! I am a big fan of the franchise and I’ve been waiting for this game for literally ten years. When I finally launched it, it was nothing like what I expected… only better! The feeling of freedom, the sense of friendship, and Noctis’ weight of duty. All over one of my favorite songs Stand By Me interpreted by Florence + The Machine. A pure delight, totally worth the wait!”

-Anthony Solaire // Intr. Product Manager on Just Dance, Ubisoft Paris

“Finally getting to play Final Fantasy XV! It’s been a long time coming, but Tabata-san and all of the development team made it worth the wait.”

-Spencer Yip // Director on Fallen Legion

Firewatch, 04


As chosen by…
“The entire game kept me hooked from start to finish. The intrigue and the characters are so well fleshed out. The beginning of the game, where you make some text choices over a black screen while ambient music plays, gave me more emotions than all the blockbuster games out there. It’s a testimony to the developers’ sensitivity when it comes to crafting a very human, very profound narrative experience. Definitely one of my highlights of 2016.”

-Jean-François Dugas // Exec. Game Director on Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal

“My favorite gaming moment of 2016 was the very opening of Firewatch. You’re presented with the back story of Henry, the protagonist, and the events that have led to him taking a job in the wilderness at Two Forks Lookout. The back story is told through lines of text, but the writing is so brilliant and the narrative so compelling that you can’t help but be completely sucked in. The simplicity of the presentation makes you pay attention to every word, making the writing hit home hard, setting you up perfectly to feel and think as Henry throughout the game.”

-Dominic Matthews // Product Development on Hellblade, Ninja Theory

“For a moment, I’d have to say the start to Firewatch. The opening hits me with an emotional gut punch similar to what I felt while watching the beginning of Pixar’s Up. The artistry of the forest vistas following that incredible introductory story led me to want to visit Wyoming. That desire was a first for me. Campo Santo did an amazing job, and Olly Moss is a master at creating a memorable aesthetic. It’s rare when a video game can incite transference to inhabit a certain place in real life just using its pixels and rendered scenes.”

-Eric Monacelli // Director of Communications, Infinity Ward

Hyper Light Drifter on PS4 and PS Vita

Hyper Light Drifter

As chosen by…
“It’s got to be Hyper Light Drifter. I absolutely love this game, it has so much style. I knew from the moment I saw it on Kickstarter I would play the heck out of it. I’ve recommended Hyper Light to nearly everyone I’ve spoken with. You can really see the meticulous care and passion the Heart Machine team put into it. The world design, visual storytelling, and ethereal music by Disasterpeace, all comes together to create an atmosphere that I want to replace my eyes and ears with. If you haven’t played it yet, you are missing something special.

-Jeff Shaw // Game Designer on Plants v Zombies: Garden Warfare, PopCap


As chosen by…
“Getting chased by creepy humans and rabid dogs during the intro of Inside was one of our most intense gaming moments this year. It reminded us of the intensity of a normal day at E3. Joking aside, the emotion and anxiety communicated through that sequence greatly inspired us. This is one example showing how indie developers are able to push new experiences and new gameplay for the players to discover!”

-Guillaume Voghel // Producer on Mordheim, Rogue Factor

“I was amazed by Playdead’s Inside. The art direction was just brilliant, and the gaming experience was pleasant and frictionless. This game is full of very interesting, moving moments, and the last part is just totally mind-blowing. If you think that games with horizontal scrolling are dead, play Inside and you will be surprised at how talented people can take an old concept and make something original and meaningful with it.”

-David Cage // Founder, Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream

The Last Guardian, PS4

The Last Guardian

As chosen by…
“It has to be The Last Guardian. Mainly because it’s now seen the light of day. But also because it’s a very personal story. We haven’t learned too much about the game. It’s about the relationship that you, playing as a boy, make with Trico. So it’s going to be something that’s very unique to everyone who plays it. And my experience playing it has been phenomenal, very personal, and it literally made me cry at the very end.”

-Dave Thatch // Senior Director, ISD, Worldwide Studios America

NBA 2K17

As chosen by…
“In 2016 I’ve had a great time with NBA 2K17. How you enjoy games is also linked to who you play them with. This social aspect is very important for the games I work on. And this year I was able to play NBA 2K17 with my seven year old son; for the first time he is getting better than his dad!”

-Nouredine Abboud // Sr. Producer on Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Ubisoft Paris

No Man’s Sky

As chosen by…
“I think for me it was waiting for No Man’s Sky to come out; that was definitely the most memorable moment for me this year, I couldn’t wait for it to come out.

“The game made me feel really happy. The pacing was just what I needed. It was calm, ambient. I could explore and take on whatever it had to throw at me at my own pace and in my own time. There was no pressure and that was really refreshing. It reminded me a little of Animal Crossing New Leaf. That sounds like an absurd comparison, but I love those sorts of games where you can plod along and do things how you want to but with no time pressure or no big bosses to deal with — I can make the game my own and imprint my own stories on to it.

“It was really exciting and is still really exciting to play and to watch others play. I love the sci-fi genre in the way it makes you question existence and being and No Man’s Sky really ticks those boxes for me. I’ve particularly enjoyed watching my partner play it; there’s something calming and peaceful about watching someone else play and discover and commentate along the way. You sort of feel like you’re going on a journey together, but in the safety of your home, on your sofa.”

-Michelle Ducker // Producer on Dreams, Media Molecule


As chosen by…
“Realizing how Overcooked, the most fun party game this year and my Game of the Year, is also a huge test on friendship and relationships! Come on, I get shouted at for not cutting the onion fast enough! Love it!”

-Audrey Leprince // Co-founder, Furi, The Game Bakers

Overwatch on PS4


As chosen by…
“Pulling off 10 victories in a row using an all Mercy team in Overwatch was pretty epic and chaotic at the same time. Trying to fill the niche roles using only a support character was a fun and challenging experience. The coordination of keeping each other healed and powered up was something to behold, especially when the opposing team focused their efforts on one individual.”

-Matt Grise // Assoc. Producer on Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics

“It’s been a while since I played a shooter, and it was really interesting as a developer to play a game where you don’t really notice any flaws. The last game that had that was Journey. You play Overwatch and ask “where are the edges, where are the cracks, where can I see there’s been a shoddy job?” But it’s just so polished. And the sound is amazing. You can hear who’s coming after you based on the footsteps. It’s so expressive. It’s a joy to play.”

-Martin Kvale // Audio Lead on Mosaic, Krillbite

PlayStation VR

As chosen by…
“It’s not a particular title, but the PS VR release was definitely my best PlayStation moment of 2016. It’s been awhile since I have seen gamers get so excited about something, and seeing everyone scrambling to get their hands on one felt good. It was the first time in a while I had seen such long lines outside of stores for gaming, and it was quite exciting to see.”

-Katsuhiro Harada // Project Director on Tekken, Bandai Namco

The Playroom VR

As chosen by…
“My favorite gaming moment of 2016 was playing the VR Playroom with my family for the first time in a home environment. After spending so much time working in VR as part of my studio life, it was an incredible moment to share in their shock, wonder, and amazement of what this new technology can deliver. We must have played Monster Escape about 20 times in a row, swapping the VR headset and screaming with excitement as the monster gets launched into the sky at the end of the level. Amazing.”

-Andrew Wilans // Lead Designer on Eve: Valkyrie, CCP Games

Rez Infinite: Area X

Rez Infinite

As chosen by…
“I was a massive Rez fan when it first came out years ago, and bringing it to VR has ignited that for me again. This is the best that the game has ever been, and has completely immersed me visually and aurally for weeks now. I play it after a long day of developing MEA.”

-Michael Gamble // Producer on Mass Effect Andromeda, BioWare

“A sensory rush greater than getting your pants stuck in the doors of a Tokyo subway train. Crashing through a nightclub. In The Matrix.”

-Andy Robinson // Writer on Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic Games

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration

As chosen by…
“The big bear battle/chase encounter in the Siberian wilderness. Brought back classic memories of the original bear baddies from the original Tomb Raider (which I actually worked on 20 years ago at Eidos). It was a truly great, action-packed sequence with shades of inspiration drawn from The Revenant!”

-Mike Schmitt // Marketing Director on Killing Floor 2, Tripwire Interactive

Titanfall 2, PS4

Titanfall 2

As chosen by…
“I was rodeo-ing an enemy Titan and the pilot ejected sending us both flying sky-high. Then he grapple-hooked me out of mid-air and melee drop-kicked me for the kill. Yeah, my favorite moment was one where I died. I don’t know if that happens all the time with awesome players, but it’s only happened to me once. Either way, I was honored to play my part in such a glorious moment.”

-Brian Hayes // Creative Director on EA Sports UFC 2, EA Canada

“The time travel section of Titanfall 2 is the most fun I’ve had with a game all year. Looking down through a glass floor at a room full of bad dudes and realizing that I needed to hop time once to fall in, then again to avoid falling into a pit of fire only to be stuck in the room with the enemies, was very, very cool. Honestly that entire game is nothing short of brilliant from start to finish — a masterpiece of level design.

-Dave Crooks // Game Designer on Enter the Gungeon, Dodge Roll

“I really enjoyed the Titanfall 2 campaign mode. The gunplay is very satisfying, the environments look amazing on PS4, and the setting brings back memories of one of my all-time-favorites, Silent Bomber (PS1, 1999).”

-Mathijs de Jonge // Game Director on Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, PS4

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

As chosen by…
“Offroading with my jeep in Uncharted 4. It was fun to take a moment and relax in an otherwise intense game, and enjoy the incredible craft of what the Naughty Dog team put together.”

-Jake Solomon // Creative Director on XCOM 2, Firaxis Games

“It’s just such a great game. I loved every moment.”

-Masachika Kawata // Producer on Resident Evil VII, Capcom

“Definitely Uncharted 4, particularly the Madagascar chase scene. Such a well put together and dynamic set piece!”

-Chris Davis // Founder, The Escapists, Mouldy Toof Studios

“The intro sequence with the toy gun really made me laugh.”

-Sébastien Arnoult // Producer on Steep, Ubisoft Annecy

“It’s been a great year for gaming, but for me, the standout moment has to come from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End tale. Towards the end of the tower collapse level on Liberteria, there’s an action scene featuring Drake, Sam, and Nadine where you get to experience what is for me, is one of the best looking, most fun, and expertly choreographed sequences in recent video game history. I must have played this section a dozen times and it still leaves me coming back for more.”

-Tim Wileman // Producer on Lego Star Wars, TT Games

“Apart from launching Batman: Arkham VR, the biggest moment of 2016 for me has to be the Madagascar section in Uncharted 4. Naughty Dog’s accomplishments here are spectacular: gorgeous views, great character interaction, and a wonderful sense of freedom. It all adds up to a hugely memorable section in an already incredible game.”

-Gaz Deaves // Social Marketing Manager on Arkham Knight, Rocksteady

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, PS4

“I had a great time playing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End this year. The environments are amazing and the gameplay is a blast from start to finish.”

-Sarah Hebbler // Executive Producer on Rocket League, Psynoix

“My best gaming moment for 2016 is Uncharted 4. Having had the opportunity to work on the franchise with Uncharted: Golden Abyss for PS Vita, Nathan Drake has a special place in my heart. The series has redefined storytelling with video games, and Uncharted 4 was an incredible send off for the characters and the journey that they took us on.”

-Eric Jensen // Sr. Game Designer on Days Gone, Bend Studio

“It was one of those things were I had to take a couple of days off work just to play it. The scene that I remember the most, and honestly it’s perhaps everyone’s favorite scene, it was going from the church where things were falling, and then there was the chase scene all the way through the downtown of the city. You get on a truck, then you’re knocking people off it, then you’re on the dirt bike, then there’s a tank chasing you… That entire sequence was really memorable to me, because my wife — she’s not so much of a gamer — walked in just as I got to that part and just sat there awestruck as I was going through a 15 minute series of amazing events. And it was like ‘Oh my god, is this a movie?’ ‘No, I’m playing right now!'”

-Scott Campbell // Creative Director on Starblood Arena, WhiteMoon Dreams

“I beat Uncharted 4 and loved that. I play a lot of games of all types of genres, but the sheer production values of something like Uncharted again raised the benchmark.”

-Hermen Hulst // Co-founder, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games

“I played and loved a lot of games this year. Uncharted 4 was everything I hoped for and expected in an Uncharted game, and when I was playing it I couldn’t believe the production values. I mean, look at the leaves, alone! Goddamn those leaves — as a developer the standard for leaves was just raised to a crazy point. I really enjoyed the game. ”

-Tim Schafer // Co-Founder and Designer on Grim Fandango, Double Fine

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

As chosen by…
“I’m torn between the [Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection] and 4. I’ve only just started Thief’s End, and I’d forgotten how good [the originals] were. I don’t have a lot of time to play games, and certainly games of 10, 15 hours. So to get back into it was quite an effort, just in terms of carving out a bit of time, making sure I was in the zone to play games. It was nice on a personal level to connect back with them and get ready for Uncharted 4.”

-Mark O’Connor // Producer on Wipeout Omega Collection, Sony XDev

The Witness

The Witness

As chosen by…
“My best PlayStation gaming moment of 2016 was the several times in The Witness that I thought my brain would crack and fail. A few times I would start in on a puzzle, thinking at first, “What is this? There’s no way to do this!”, only to break through the preconceptions I had about how a puzzle worked and have the impossible turn into common sense.”

-Ian Milham // Game Director on Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics

“I thought it was cool, thought it was interesting. It wasn’t a regurgitation of something else.”

-James Austin // Director on Boundless, Wonderstruck

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