Rome: Total War
Rome: Total War was an epic game, not to mention one that required "an epic effort on the part of the hugely talented creative team" behind this historical videogaming classic, recalls Creative Assembly's Studio Director Mike Simpson.
"We started Rome at the same time as Medieval, with Medieval being an evolution of the Shogun engine, and Rome being a revolution with the whole game being rewritten.
"The most challenging feature to deliver was making the thousands of men on the battlefield all 3D characters rather than 2D sprites. So at a time when the maximum number of 3D characters in other games was maybe 10, we were doing 1000. We pioneered a whole range of techniques to achieve this."
When the game first game out, there was a common reaction amongst gamers and games journalists alike, Simpson recalls.
"Disbelief was a common reaction to early screenshots. People thought they were off-line renders. The epic scale of the battlefields was however matched by the epic scale and depth of the turn based empire building. The combination was unique and gamers loved it.
"The [Total War franchise] customer base grows with every release, and they are a mixture of new and regular customers. It's always our aim to make sure that it's us that beats our previous efforts, not the competition, so we're always looking for ways to push the boundaries and make each game feel new. Fortunately the subject matter gives us a huge helping hand – there is always new content to explore, and it new ways to serve it up. I don't think we'll ever run out of material, or ever get bored making and playing these games."
And neither will we! Computerandvideogames.com digital manager John Houlihan explains the continuing appeal: "Every young lad who ever dreamed of commanding an army of toy soldiers? Well the Total War series actually made that happen.
"Rome's move to 3D was a huge leap forward for the series too, combining the deep strategic board game with epic tactical battles as you commanded Roman legions sweeping across the ancient world. Hail Caesar!"
Many a Football Manager widow blame Sports Interactive for keeping their menfolk addicted to their screen-based paean to the beautiful game.
"Football is a major passion in the UK so Championship Manager - and Football Manager after it - showed just how involved people could get," says Miles Jacobson Studio Director, Sports Interactive. "Divorces aplenty but gamers seem to think it's worth it!
"We've been lucky enough to be able to make games for a long time now and hope to continue to make them for many more years to come. Knowing that the work we love to do is played by so many people around the world and that they choose our games to entertain themselves with keeps us going throughout what is a pretty crazy schedule each year.
"Because we make annual iterations, it also gives us a lot more room to plan. So something like Classic Mode, which was introduced in FM13, was first discussed a few years ago when it became clear that some of the team, mainly those who had had children in the preceding years, were no longer able to devote as much time as they wanted to playing the game.
"So we came up with the idea of a mode where they could play the game much quicker, and do away with some of the more detailed areas of Football Manager – then thought it would be a good idea to release it to the public too! It was a couple of years in the planning before work started on it as something that could be released. When we did eventually release it, it went down very well, getting lapsed players back into the game and freeing up some time for regular managers to spend with their family (or to let them have two FM careers on the go).
"Despite FM13 being our twentieth game, it was also our highest reviewed by the critics, and is officially our best-selling title too. That doesn't mean we're going to pack up our bags now – we're currently working on FM14 (and planning for 15 and 16 too) as well as Classic mode, a new iteration of Football Manager Handheld, and Football Manager Online (which will launch is Asia next year)."
The original N64 version – and its IP-cleansed sequel Perfect Dark – stands as one of the highest achievements in British gaming, according to TIGA's Richard Wilson (and many, many others!).
"The first console first-person shooter. A slice of sheer brilliance that involved that most British of characters, James Bond and which showed that a film franchise can make a good game," Wilson explains.
Patrick Garratt, editor of VG247.com agrees, stating, unequivocally: "GoldenEye is one of the most groundbreaking games to ever be developed in the UK. It proved first-person shooting was possible on console - it was very much a PC thing up to this point - and set up what would develop into one of the video gaming industry's enduring staple genres. It was also amazing, which helped."
"Goldeneye's multiplayer was one of, if not the, highlight of the N64," recalls Richard Wood, Producer at Outplay Entertainment. "I can't begin to contemplate the number of hours I spent running around the Complex laying Proximity mines to the annoyance of the other players. A fantastic title that set the bar for those that followed."