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The year in review: Media Molecule, Guerrilla, Naughty Dog and more look back at 2012


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So, just a few hours to go before we consign 2012 to memory and forge ahead into the mysterious, murky unknown of 2013. Was it a good year for you? Did everything pan out as you’d hoped? I do hope so.

For gamers as a whole, I think there’s no disputing it was an absolutely blistering 12 months. Whatever your predilections, there was a smorgasbord of wonderful titles to gorge upon this year.

If having your retinas scorched by AAA blockbusters is your thing, 2012 presented an embarrassment of riches – Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, Dishonored, Black Ops 2, Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands 2 to name but a few.

Conversely, if you were after something a little more considered and idiosyncratic, the indie scene was in great form too. Journey, The Unfinished Swan, Dyad and Papo & Yo all boldly strode into undiscovered country, providing us with some delightfully fresh and thought-provoking experiences.

And then we also saw the arrival of PlayStation Vita, with the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation helping set a new high water mark for what’s possible on a portable gaming machine.

To mark the passing of such a banner year, I reached out to a diverse gang of game developers and PlayStation Blog contributors and asked them to share a few of their own personal highs and lows. Read on, and then feel free to add your own musings below.

Have a great night this evening, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow to make a start on 2013. Can’t wait…
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Ken Levine, Creative Director, Irrational Games (BioShock Infinite)

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
I played XCOM. I’m still trying to beat it on Iron Man mode in Classic difficulty and it’s kicking my butt.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I’ve been saving Dishonored until I finish Infinite because I want to completely immerse myself in it.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Finishing my work on BioShock Infinite.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
That’s between me and my attorney.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I met a ton of interesting people – would be hard to narrow it down. From Anna Moleva, whose Elizabeth cosplay ended her up on our marketing materials, to Jonathan Ross, to Felicia Day, to Chris Avellone, to any number of other developers I either worked with at Irrational or met at industry events. It’s one of the best parts of my job.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
There is a book about the history of Marvel Comics called Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. It’s full of dishy nerd gossip.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Well, considering two New Year’s Eves ago my wife and I got our flu shots, you probably want to ask someone else…

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Hearing the fans’ reactions to Infinite.

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Dylan Cuthbert, President, Q-Games (PixelJunk series)

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
Dark Souls

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
XCOM, I started playing this and I love the original, just haven’t had the time to dive in deeper.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Joined a band and started playing synth and bass guitar, The Electric Bends FTW!

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Nothing, at least not that I can recall… the hangover after the cherry blossom viewing party we have each year perhaps.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
Miyazaki from From Software, creator of Dark Souls.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Favourite book this year might have to be the most recent Paul McCartney biography although anything from Iain M Banks gets me going.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Get your friends around and party it up with PixelJunk 4am!

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Announcing some of the incredible things we are working on, they are really awesome!

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Eric Monacelli, Community Strategist, Naughty Dog

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
MLB Full Deck by GREE is definitely the game I played most but I played Journey and Hero Academy a tonne too. Also, I always play MLB: The Show a lot and this year things were no different.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
Where do I start? I tend to play games for about 15 minutes and then go back to them if they catch my attention. So many great games this year… I just haven’t been able to go back to them yet.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
I got married. That was pretty awesome.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Do I want to talk about it? Let’s just say it involved hopping around to a few parties and a lack of bladder control.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
The Last of Us composer Gustavo Santaolalla is hands-down one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. I was very fortunate to be able to interview him this year. He’s an amazing human with great stories.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Silver Linings Playbook was my favourite movie of the last few years. It’s a great movie. I didn’t read much that came out in 2012 but John Madea’s The Laws of Simplicity and Jeff Pearlman’s The Bad Guys Won were my favourite re-reads and new reads, respectively.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
It involves lots of bubbles, a few, close, good friends, and counting down to watch the ball drop on the Empire State Building.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Besides launching The Last of Us? The 2013 MLB All Star Game is happening at Citi Field where my beloved New York Mets play. I plan to attend as part of my honeymoon. So doing that and finally taking a honeymoon are the things I look forward to the most.

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Jawad Ashraf, PlayStation Store Content Coordinator, SCEE

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
Hmm, fairly evenly spread between Final Fantasy XIII-2 (about 80 hours), Dragon’s Dogma (60+ hours) and Super Street Fighter IV (heaven knows!).

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
Loads! I’ve got a sizeable backlog but I suppose Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one I just haven’t got around to just yet. Hopefully after The Big 3 in 2013 (DmC, Ni no Kuni and Metal Gear Rising!) I’ll start it.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Lived past 21st December, ha!

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Not play enough games!

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
My colleagues, but Keiji Inafune, just because it’s Inafune. He made Megaman!

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Hmm, I might get odd looks for this but I really liked Beauty and the Beast 3D. But for actual 2012 movies, probably The Dictator…unless The Hobbit is awesome. Looking forward to that.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Have a spare controller about for that multiplayer goodness! How else will you spend NYE, eh?

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Randy Pitchford, President, Gearbox Studios (Borderlands 2)

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
I played more Borderlands 2 than any other game, followed by Aliens Colonial Marines. Outside of our own games, I played a lot of League of Legends!

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I haven’t played Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 yet. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting bored of the series or if it’s just because there are so many other awesome games that I’m prioritising higher. But I’m sure I’ll get around to it before too long.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
We shipped Borderlands 2! Wow, what a thing!

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
I have learned many lessons this year, but end it with no regrets. I will leave it at that.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I met a guy who had gotten a tattoo of the Borderlands 2 box art on his chest. He was extremely interesting. He might be the most interesting person I’ve ever met ever.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
My favorite film of 2012 is The Hobbit and my favorite book was the Steve Jobs biography – technically the biography launched in 2011, but I read it in 2012.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Stay as far away as possible from Times Square.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
With our own projects, I can’t wait until we ship Aliens: Colonial Marines in February. With other people’s stuff, I am really looking forward to playing Ni No Kuni – the RPG video game that is a Studio Ghibli/Level-5 collaboration that should launch in January.

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Shawn McGrath, Creator, Dyad

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
I played Dark Souls more than any other game since Demon’s Souls. I’m so excited about the Dark Souls 2 announcement!

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I really wish I played Dragon’s Dogma. I heard it’s kinda like Dark Souls meets Monster Hunter. I’m going to try to play it after Christmas.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Release Dyad obviously =)

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Took so long to release Dyad in Europe.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I’ve met so many interesting people this year it’s impossible to answer!

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
I didn’t read any books that were written in 2012, but my favourite of all the books that I read this year is “Voyage to Arcturus” by David Lindsay. My favourite movie of the year is definitely Samsara (it technically came out in 2011, but I had no way of watching it
until 2012).

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
I don’t know! I’m kinda boring and will likely sit at home and play Go with my wife!

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Raising a kid! My first kid will be born in March and I guess that’s pretty exciting.

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Gavin Moore, Art Director, Sony Japan Studios (Puppeteer)

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
MINE! Every day!! Seriously! I would have to say Tokyo Jungle with my son. There is something addictive about that crunching noise as you munch on a kill.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I’m a big Walking Dead fan. So I really want to play it on PSN but it scares me!

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
That would be introducing Puppeteer at Gamescom and then sitting in the bar at night reading the feedback on social sites. I wouldn’t say it was the best thing I did but it was a lot of fun and the reaction from everyone was great.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Not spending enough time with my son. Busy, busy, busy! Also spending too much time on airplanes! I hate that.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
What do you mean by ‘meeting people’? They never let me out of the office.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
As for a book, I didn’t read anything published in 2012 but re-read the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I told you I like the Walking Dead! On the movie front, I haven’t seen it yet, but I think it is going to be Frankenweenie.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Head out to a Japanese shrine at midnight, as the temples ring their bells 100 times. Pray for the coming year to the shinto gods and then head home in the freezing cold for Ozoni, a soup containing sticky rice called mochi. Oh and make sure you have copious amounts of atsukan, hot sake.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Bringing Puppeteer to all the PlayStation fans and by doing so, spending more time with my son.

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Chris Howe, PS Store and Plus Content Manager, SCEE

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
I am a huge Uncharted fan so the first few months of the year were taken up completing Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception over and over again! I also have a passion for sports games so could usually be found playing FIFA 12/13 along with Tiger Woods 13, NHL 13 and, of course, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I’ve really wanted to play Assassin’s Creed 3 but just haven’t found the time, the titles in PlayStation Plus are keeping me very busy at the moment!

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Started working at Sony of course!!

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
Dropping my PS3 meaning a gap in gaming until pay day came around and I could afford a new one!

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I met a man who had climbed Everest. He was truly inspirational and I am now planning my own climb!

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Book would have to be the Hunger Games and movie would have to be Looper – both were awesome!

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Good friends, good food, good games!

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James Spafford, Community Manager, Media Molecule

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
For the first time in years, the answer isn’t LittleBigPlanet! Hmm, I racked up some serious hours with Diablo III, The Walking Dead and Dishonored, but the game I kept going back to was Super Hexagon. Actually the game I probably ended up playing the most is a card game called Cards against Humanity which is billed as ‘a card game for horrible people’

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
Johann Sebastian Joust (part of the Sportsfriends Kickstarter, and coming soon to PS3) wasn’t played enough, but we managed a good session at the Mm Christmas party which made up for it.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
A few friends and I rented a villa in the South of France and lazed around in the sunshine for a few weeks drinking wine: success.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
I broke my elbow falling onto the floor from a piggy back ride during an Mm studio photo shoot. True story! Check out the pictures!

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I met one of my childhood heroes – Ron Gilbert, creator of the Monkey Island games. That was a special moment. I also met a whole bunch of really interesting indie game developers this year. They’re all super interesting to talk to, some of them think about games in really surprising or twisted ways. For example, one of them made a game about punching a bowl of custard.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Page-turner of the year was probably Stonemouth by Iain Banks, although I also really enjoyed a couple of Stephen King books I picked up at the airport whilst traveling to GDC Taipei – Under the Dome and 11/22/63. Movie-wise it would have to be Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson, but Looper, The Master and Cabin in the Woods should get notable mentions.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
It doesn’t really matter where or what you’re doing, as long as you’re with your friends. Изображение

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
For a friend’s birthday in January we’re going to Copenhagen to eat at Noma, the ‘best restaurant in the world’. I’m really quite excited about this, although my bank balance is less excited.

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Victor Zuylen, Editor, Guerrilla Games

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
Dragon’s Dogma; it’s one of the few games of 2012 that my wife enjoys playing as much as I do. We even used the character editor to recreate each other as Pawns, which led to a lot of hilarity in-game.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
I must confess I still haven’t gotten around to playing The Unfinished Swan. I know it got excellent reviews, but somehow I never found the time. 2013, I promise!

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
I completed an actual painting on an actual canvas using actual acrylic paint. It was the first time in years I did something creative that didn’t involve computers, and although it took me forever it felt immensely satisfying.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
In hindsight, spending all of my holiday allowance on Lego sets during that trip to Denmark probably wasn’t one of my brightest moments…

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
A few months ago I met Brian Curtin, the director of the Killzone Intercept fan film. He’s an extremely enthusiastic and creative filmmaker, who can conjure up amazing results no matter how limited the budget.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
With the exception of the highly entertaining Avengers movie, I felt 2012 contained a lot of cinematic duds. At the time of writing I have yet to see Looper and Wreck-It Ralph, though.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Fireworks, and lots of them! The best way to ring in the New Year is with a ringing in your ear, I always say. But seriously, stay safe and use ear and eye protection if you’re going to handle pyrotechnic devices!

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
I really look forward to the release of Killzone: Mercenary for PlayStation Vita. It’s going to be a big year for us!

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Arne Meyer, Community Strategist, Naughty Dog

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
Mass Effect 3. While I don’t feel the series has nailed the epic sci-fi space opera type thing that was established in Mass Effect 1, I still enjoyed every little thing I had to do in each of the games. The game universe just hit the right chord with me and I bought in wholesale. The series is one of the only games I was a completionist about – every side mission, every Mako/planetary discovery, and so on.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
Red Dead Redemption. I know it came out in 2010.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
I went to Japan for three weeks, staying mostly in Tokyo and visiting friends in other nearby cities. However, I took the time to take an amazing trip by train up to Hokkaido to stay in a traditional ryokan and enjoy some time in an onsen. I met old friends, made a ton of new friends, and just had an overall experience I think I’ve never had quite to the same degree. It’s been a few months since I’ve been back and I still can’t stop talking about it.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
There are a couple that are worse than this one, but the following thing makes for the best story, trust me. In Japan, they ask for your passport as part of checking-in to hotels. I stayed out a little too late the night before I was supposed to head to Hokkaido – by too late I mean I got back to my hotel at 7.00am – and I was, shall we say, not fully coherent. I already missed the first train I meant to make. I hastily packed, and slept the nine hours on the train before I arrived in Hokkaido, when I realised I left my passport back in Tokyo. Told you I can’t stop talking about my trip!

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
I can’t really go into details, but it involves someone I randomly got to meet who is from the town I grew up in, went to boarding school in Switzerland, whose family is from the same region in German as my father’s family and also speaks German, tattoos of all the portraits found on US currency, a white SLS AMG, and my first time riding a motorcycle on my own – a sweet Ducati too.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
Looking back, I think I saw less films in 2012 than I do in most years – I saw 22 in 2011 – so this makes the choice particularly tough. I seemed to stick with the big blockbuster releases this year, so a film like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom sticks out in my mind. By the time the year closes, Django Unchained or Zero Dark Thirty may claim the “favourite” spot. I did read a lot though, and I stormed through Charles Bukowski’s first four novels in a very short time – all four were my favourites from my reading list.

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Make sure you’re with some of your best, close friends, and/or loved ones. You almost can’t go wrong after that.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Releasing The Last of Us, traveling the world some more – London, Barcelona and Japan are all on my list for 2013 – and, hopefully, a 2013-2014 National Hockey League season to enjoy.

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Omar Kendall, Game Director, SuperBot (PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale)

Which game did you play more than any other in 2012?
I’m a fighting game junkie, so either Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition or Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

Which game did you really want to play in 2012, but never found the time?
Dark Souls, which I know technically came out in 2011, but still.

What was the single best thing you did in 2012?
Getting PlayStation All-Stars on the shelves this year was a pretty major accomplishment.

What was the single worst thing you did in 2012?
All of the bad things I put into my body to get PlayStation All-Stars on the shelves (copious amounts of taurine, caffeine, and fatty junk foods) combined with chronic sleep deprivation has no doubt caused harm that I’ll be managing for years to come.

Who was the most interesting person you met in 2012?
Collectively, all of the people I got to meet during the course of the year promoting PlayStation All-Stars.

What was your favourite book and/or movie of 2012?
I’m not sure that I’ve read a complete book or seen a complete movie in 2012!

What’s your top tip for a fun New Year’s Eve?
Share the night with the people that you love.

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2013?
Getting healthy and facing new challenges.

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