UK – Develop Magazine, a UK-based magazine for the game development industry has released its annual Top 100 worldwide studio list. While there are more Canadian studios listed this year than in previous years, there is a large shift in their placings.
EA Canada, who held the number one position on the Develop 100 list for 2005, 2006 and 2007, was toppled from that position in 2008 by Nintendo, and this year both were moved down a notch by Blizzard Entertainment. Rockstar North took third place, effectively knocking Canada out of the top three. EA Canada, however, still hangs on to the top Canadian spot at number 4 while Ubisoft Montreal finishes at sixth, down three from 2008. Fourth place is the lowest position EA Canada has ever held in the Top 100, while Ubisoft Montreal has moved up and down the list while always remaining in the Top 10; the studio placed 10th in 2007, 6th in 2006 and 5th in 2005.
The next Canadian studio to appear on this year’s Top 100 is EA Black Box in twentieth, experiencing a steep fall from its previous standing at its 2008 debut at sixth place. Seven points down the ladder is A2M, who had been listed at 19th in 2008, 24th in 2007, 55th in 2006 and 52nd in 2005.
No other Canadian studios appear in the top 50. HB Studios comes in at 56th, down from 49th in 2008, 26th in 2007, 32nd in 2006 and 46th in 2005. Relic Entertainment makes it back on the list in 2009, having missed the Top 100 in 2008 after making the Top 50 in 2007 at position 44. In 2006 Relic placed 85th, and 78th in 2005. Curiously, Club Penguin is listed as an American studio even though it is located in Kelowna, BC. Club Penguin trails Relic by three positions, landing at number 69.
The remaining four studios who made the Top 100 list are outside of the top 75, with EA Bioware listed at 77th, down from 59 in 2008. Bioware failed to the make the Top 100 in 2007, but placed 94th in 2006 and 66th in 2005. Silicon Knights makes it debut on the Top 100 list this year in 85th place, while EA Montreal follows in 86th, dropping from 75th position in 2007. Rounding out the Canadian studios this year is Beenox, listed in 92nd place.
Studios missing from this year’s list are Radical Entertainment, who was 40th in 2008, 19th in 2007, 21st in 2006 and 12th in 2005. Hopefully the release of PROTOTYPE later this year will propel Radical back into the Top 100. Also missing is Rockstar Vancouver, who barely made the list in 2008 at 99th position after debuting in 2007 at 39th. Also missing is Next Level Games, who made the 2008 list in 41st position.
As for the rest of the world, 26 of the studios listed are from the United Kingdom, more than doubling the number of Canadian studios. So does this mean that our development industry is slipping when compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world? I honestly don’t think so. The Canadian development industry, while undergoing many challenges in today’s economy, still has many top titles either recently released – such as Relic’s Dawn of War 2 and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valour – or slated for release over the coming year, such as the previously mentioned PROTOTYPE from Radical, and Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed 2, along with many other titles in development across the country.