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Top 5 Gaming Franchises That Switched Developers

by William Schwartz

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Last friday, Batman: Arkham Origins launched to success. Origins is the third installment in the Arkham franchise. However, unlike its predecessors, Origins is not developed by Rocksteady. Instead Origins was created by Warner Brothers Games Montreal, a newcomer to the franchise. In light of Origins’ release, here are the top five gaming franchises that have switched developers.

Number 5: Minecraft

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While Minecraft is technically only one game (there are no sequels, yet), the PC version was developed by Mojang, while the Xbox 360 port was handled by 4J studios. This game made the list because of the massive popularity of both versions. The PC version has a Metacritic score of 93, while the 360 port has a score of 82.

Number 4: God of War

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While God of War 1, 2, 3, and Ascension were all developed by Santa Monica Studio, God of War’s PSP games, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, were both developed by Ready at Dawn. This collaboration between developers has been quite successful, as the average Metacritic score for a Santa Monica Studio God of War game is 89.75 while the average score for a Ready at Dawn God of War game is 88.5. This minimum difference between scores in a franchise that has switched developers is rare.

Number 3: Call of Duty

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Call of Duty is a franchise that has had nearly as many developers as they have games. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus only on the main entries in the series, and only the title developers behind those entries. Infinity Ward created the Call of Duty franchise, developing Call of Duty 1 and 2. However, after these titles, Activision, the game’s publisher, made a highly controversial decision and gave Treyarch, a developer previously handling Call of Duty spin-off titles, a green light to make a full-fledged installment of the game. Treyarch released Call of Duty 3, much to Infinity Ward’s chagrin. Infinity Ward still developed for the franchise, however, launching the series into massive popularity with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, its subsequent sequels in Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and the series upcoming installment, Ghosts. Treyarch launched a game every other year, and they are responsible for the hidden gem of World at War, the sales giant Black Ops, and its sequel Black Ops 2. The average Metacritic score for an Infinity Ward Call of Duty (on Xbox 360, except for Call of Duty 1 on PC) is 91.2. The average score for a Treyarch Call of Duty is 84.25.

Number 2: Halo

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For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the original trilogy, the spin-off by Bungie (Reach) and the next major entry (Halo 4). Halo was created by Bungie, the studio responsible for Halo 1, 2, 3, and the spin-off Halo: Reach. After the Halo series propelled them to massive fame, Bungie decided they wanted to go on and do something else. Halo 4, the next installment was developed by 343 Studios, and was released to financial and critical success. The average Metacritic score for a Bungie Halo game is 94.25. Halo 4, 343’s sole Halo entry, possess a score of 87.

Number 1: BioShock

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BioShock was created by Irrational Games, and saw massive success. The game’s sequel, however, was developed by a different studio, 2k Marin. The developing duties for the next game in the series, BioShock Infinite, returned to Irrational. The average Metacritic score for an Irrational-developed BioShock title (Xbox 360) is 94.5. The score for BioShock 2 (Xbox 360), 2k Marin’s game, is 88.

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