The most underrated and yet innovative game studio there is
Supermassive Games is run out of Guildford in Surrey, UK. Established in 2008. Perhaps you’ve heard of a game called Until Dawn (Yeah! That was them!) And there are other great titles this independent game studio has published as well! Fair warning though, these titles tend to be of the horror genre. So perhaps you may not be into scaring yourself intentionally, but trust me when I say what these people are creating at Supermassive is worth braving. Not only does Supermassive make great games but they also participate in charities such as GamesAid. As a gamer of very specific tastes, it’s hard to find a studio you want to follow loyally and play every game from that studio. What I find so special about Supermassive Games is the way they redefine what interactivity looks like. Their fantastic writing and their overarching narratives are also why I hold Supermassive Games higher than big-wig studios like Naughty Dog or Santa Monica Studios. My only issue though is that they publish exclusively to Sony’s Playstation. Whereas I prefer Nintendo or xbox.
The games coming out of Supermassive are giving a new meaning to the term interactive. Because well, it’s actually interactive. Along with interacting within the environment it really gets you interacting amongst your friends if you so choose to play with them in the room. (That also depends on you having friends… not gonna make assumptions.)
Something also that I had never seen in gaming until I played Until Dawn was their MoCap character rigging. Through the technology of motion capture, the actors are more than just a voice because their likeness also appears on the screen. And it looked good too. Like it wasn’t creepy. Using actual actors and portraying them using mocap help me feel more connected to the game. It gives a sense of familiarity. As though you could walk down the street and see that exact person. Thus these characters feel as though you can interact them with more so than:
What’s most unique about this studio is their absolute fantastic writing. I truly appreciate the amount of detail within each story. They have this habit of knocking their narratives out of the park. What’s unique is that they seem to have found that sweet spot where the player has an ample amount of agency while also experiencing a tantalizing story that keeps players on their toes. I think it really comes down to the way their characters are written. It seems as though they base these characters on tropes that way each character is distinct from others. And then the characters are built up from there. Every character has a unique background that has an influence on the way they speak or what actions they make. Even TV writers can’t seem to pull off writing characters consistently when they don’t even have to figure in decision-branches. This attention to detail that they give their characters really sets them head and shoulders above the rest. Beyond the characters, their stories are amazing. Their stories have good plot beats that mark progress along the narrative. Which makes for good stopping and starting points. I like the way their stories culminate towards the end. I always find the twists and climactic scenes very exciting. Although all of the action in Supermassive’s games seem to lead to one pivotal scene toward the end, that doesn’t mean players miss out on choice! As I’ve said earlier, players have enough choice to feel as though they have control over the story. Those choices actually have a resulting consequence and that doesn’t necessarily happen in every game.
I want to expand on one of their games specifically: Hidden Agenda. What’s unique about Hidden Agenda is their game mechanics. Instead of manning one player at the controller, the controller is actually your smartphone. Each player can download the mobile app that goes with HA and make individual decisions on their own. If you’ve played a Jackbox game, I think you'll know what I’m talking about. How these decisions work is that each decision you make is really a vote and whichever option has the most votes is the route the narrative takes. And of course there are some twists in the mechanic as well (which I won't spoil!). Hidden Agenda is about a police officer unraveling the horrible happenings at an orphanage that has long been shut down. I highly highly recommend giving this game a go at your next dinner party.
Take notes Naughty Dog. Take notes Insomniac. And any other big studios. Y’all will have to watch out or adapt quickly (as if large companies were capable of adapting quickly haha I make even myself laugh). Supermassive is coming for you!
> Have you ever heard of or played a game from Supermassive before?
> Is there a game studio in which you’re a loyal fan of?
> Have you got any game recommendations for me?