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Nier, Psychonauts and other developers share what games they admire most



Over the last few years, there has been an amazing list of games that we personally love. With so many fantastic experiences, we started to get curious about what game developers really enjoy. During our time at this year's GDC, we had the opportunity to interview a variety of game developers and industry key figures, so we decided to ask which current game inspired and appreciated them the most, and why.

As you can see from the answers below, the games that any developer likes are not surprising to you, especially if you're familiar with their work or taste. Others had some surprising tips that you probably would not expect. Which current games do you admire the most? Let us know in the comments below. Also, check out the 25 best games you may never have heard of.

Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, directors of Cuphead

  Jared Moldenhauer (left) and Chad Moldenhauer (right)
Jared Moldenhauer (left) and Chad Moldenhauer (right)

Jared Moldenhauer : I have a library of over 100 games that I am currently working on. But one of the earlier games I chose and found very rewarding was Hollow Knight. It is an interesting and challenging Metroidvania. And the images and the universe that they created, and the feeling in all the characters; I was happy to play every minute of it.

Chad Moldenhauer: I started recently and really enjoyed The Witness. I've been looking forward to it for a long time!

Yoshinori Terasawa, Danganronpa Series Producer

Yoshinori Terasawa : I love the Persona series. I admire the sense of personality that these games have. I really like how cool and stylish they are.

Rami Ismail, Producer of the Nuclear Throne

Rami Ismail: So many games have really inspired me. Games I really notice are Engare and Farsh by Mahdi Bahrami, both games based on that Iranian heritage. I was very impressed by this war of mine, which gives a unique perspective on the war. When I see this tremendous change of perspective translated into a game so powerful and poignant, it reminds me that there is so much more.

Tom Kaczmarczyk, Producer of Superhot

Tom Kaczmarczyk: Our director's game [Piotr Iwanicki] which actually got the idea, he often calls an indie flash game called Time4Cat as one of the inspirations because of it same type of automation mechanics had. For me, I love Hotline Miami because of its action sequences. Much of what we're picking up comes from action movies and the way people design filmmaking experiences, get into a certain archetype of a situation, and understand what's going on. Tim Schafer

Tim Schafer

Tim Schafer : Lately a game that has impressed me – it Sounds really cliché – but Breath of the Wild was a big deal. I just loved it. Everyone loves something different in games, there is no game that is perfect for everyone, but it has made me realize that my most important thing is exploration. I am constantly searching and surprised and I just love it and I play it all the time. I also love Loot Rascals, it's a great Roguelike, and I recently played Persona 5, which is just amazing. Amazing style and tone, it is so polished.

Jason Roberts, Director of Gorogoa

Jason Roberts: In 2017, I was a big fan of Inside and Night in the Woods; These were big games for me. I am big in tone, mood, atmosphere. These are important to me. And I love these games. And I think so too, this year I think that Florence and every Annapurna game was created with great care and tone and atmosphere. That's what I appreciate.

Dean Ayala, Hearthstone Senior Game Designer + Dave Kozack, Hearthstone Lead Narrator

Dean Ayala : Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. It is a Roguelike, which was published in 1997. Much of the Hearthstone design team plays it. It's super old-school.

Dave Kozack: It was in constant evolution; it is one of these joint projects. That's why the name stone soup. But we played a lot of rogue likes while working on Dungeon Run, and that was one of our favorites. It's just something to return to as a team again and again. It makes a lot of fun.

Ian Dallas, Creative Director of What Remains of Edith Finch

  Ian Dallas
Ian Dallas

Ian Dallas: For me, the last game that influenced me emotionally, Universal Paper clips. A game about clicking on buttons and making paper clips that I found myself, I lost for 8 hours. It really was like a disturbing emotional experience, and it's amazing that it only comes from text on a web page. It reinforces the power of video games and the way they can teach you things about yourself and the world that you would not otherwise be able to internalize.

Chelsea Hash, Technical Draftsman by Edith Finch [19659011] Chelsea Hash: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Her commitment to the multimedia format and drawing of various rendering styles to support her vision was something I was keen to experience, something that was ready to think outside the box.

Damon Baker, Nintendo Publisher and Developer Relations [19659011] Damon Baker: I can not choose a game. It's like the choice of my favorite child! There are so many different types of experiences. Recently I am working through Night in the Woods. I have not been able to play that before, and having many flights lately has given me more flexibility to endure a lot of indie content. Of course, I totally enjoyed Celeste. I vowed not to use and hit the support mode at all; but I needed 1800 deaths or something to get through, but it was a nice game.

Matt Thornson, Director of Celeste

Matt Thornson: I really enjoyed my time with Into the Breach. It is amazing!

Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming (World of Tanks)

Victor Kislyi: Civilization. All of them because I started playing from Civ I. Well, believe it or not, before I played World of Tanks last night, I played Civilization and I played on the plane on my way here. Civ 6 is amazing, and it was my MBA. I'm a physicist of education, but playing civilization, all these layers, economics, exploration, politics, military, science, religion – your brain is trained to juggle these multiple layers almost immediately, or at least very, very correctly. And that's a good analogy to business, people, finances, media, failures, exploration, etc., etc. I think civilization, as a concept, as a game, is actually more valuable to humanity than Mona Lisa.

Yoko Taro, Director of Nier: Automata

Yoko Taro: I think Grand Theft Auto IV and Super Mario Bros. are two big games that influenced me in making Nier. But with games from the past – not modern games – I felt more freedom or challenge as a player. Suppose we have a black background with a white dot and call it the space. I think this really creates freedom, especially in terms of the freedom of imagination, and challenges the development team to create a world without really visually expressing this world. In this sense, I feel that game developers have been trying to create a new frontier in the past. They tried to expand the world, to expand the universe of the gaming industry.

  Yoko Taro (left) and Takahira Taura (right)
Yoko Taro (left)) and Takahira Taura (right)

Having become the gaming industry by now is pretty mature, many people go for a safer game. They try to make all consumers happy with this one game. I think that's limited to what they can do, and I do not think anyone is really trying to expand that arena or expand that world. I'm a little sad about that.

Takahisa Taura, Designer of Nier: Automata + Metal Gear Rising

Takahisa Taura: When The Witcher 3 came out, we all played and enjoyed it, but we also looked at it to see what we would do if we were to create such a game. We used The Witcher 3 as a learning experience to create an RPG. I think that's where it all started. Well, that's where we came from, so it was not difficult to found a JRPG. "


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