Great Canadian Video Games
To celebrate Canada Day this year we turned to the staff at Capcom Vancouver to ask them what their favourite Canadian made games are. So when you've finished firing up your BBQ, cracking open a Molson's and listening to some Tragically Hip this July 1st, take a look at these great Canadian video games.
Note: Well we are proud of the games that we've made at Capcom Vancouver, we've purposefully left them off the list because we're super biased towards them. Also these are in no particular order. Having said that perhaps because of our location, or our past employment histories this list does seem to be biased towards western developers.
Title: EA SPORTS NHL Developer: EA SPORTS Location: Burnaby, Canada There is perhaps no more Canadian game than the sport of hockey, and so it's only fitting that we begin with the long running NHL series from EA SPORTS developed just up the hill from our own studio. The series has spanned console generations and appeared on PC, acting as the best digital representation of the sport that (most) Canadians grow up with. While the early titles remain nostalgic favourites, the year-over-year improvements that EA puts into the game makes the current releases well worth picking up.
Title: The Long Dark Developer: Hinterland Games Location: North Vancouver Island
Canada is big, and its population is mostly packed around our southern border with America. This leaves vast unexplored stretches of wilderness and untouched nature. The Long Dark captures the feeling of Canada's wilderness in a survival simulator that is all enveloping creating tension and presenting complex moral challenges. With beautiful artwork (and a title) inspired by Emily Carr it's only the lack of the band Rush that keeps this game from collecting all the Canadian Bingo Points.
Update: Raphael van Lierop, Founder & Creative Director at Hinterland Games, has corrected us, there is no Emily Carr reference in the game's art or title.
Title: CrossCountry Canada Developer: Didatech Software (now Ingenuity Works) Location: Vancouver
Having never heard of this game myself I leave it to nominator Software Engineer Akshay Balakrishnan to describe what this is, "I immediately think of CrossCountry Canada, which I played in elementary school." Which didn't exactly explain it, but it seems to have been popular. Software Engineer Jon Wiedemann was excited to see it make the list, "Holy crap, good call with CrossCountry Canada! Time to take that Wheat to Timmins!"
And while you unpack those cultural references the game is free to play online now.
Title: Assassin's Creed II Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Location: Montreal
A complex open-world adventure game Assassin's Creed II solidified the popularity of the series and received nearly universal critical acclaim. With a deep mythos and exciting gameplay the series has continued to be one of the most successful in video game history.
Software Engineer Dusit Eakkachaichanvet admits, "I might be biased". Then he bravely puts forward two games out of the now closed Radical Games. Two games which he worked on. Though both games could probably have made the list Simpsons: Hit & Run was the one that tickled my fancy the most. In the animated show's best video game, though arcade fans may disagree, Springfield's most famous family engage in some open-world driving adventures. Using the same voice cast the game captures all that's good about the TV show and ads an enjoyable gameplay experience on top of it.
Title: Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery Developer: Capybara Games Location: Toronto
A mobile success Superborthers cleaned up at the Canadian Video Game awards the year it was released and remains highly thought of in the national industry. Showing that mobile gaming could be more than farming and crushing candy the game is beautiful, rich and deep with stellar music by Jim Guthrie.
Title: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Developer: Eidos Montreal Location: Montreal
Stylish cyberpunk graphics and engaging stealth action meet in an exciting action game that creates a near future science fiction world with arresting visuals and a compelling narrative. An immersive open world that's a well realized setting for the game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes on heady concepts about the moral role of science in society while still leaving enough action to keep players coming back for more.
Title: Company of Heroes Developer: Relic Entertainment Location: Vancouver
From the release of Homeworld Relic Entertainment has been pushing the boundaries of the Real-Time Strategy genre looking to forge new ground from what had been laid by Blizzard and other publishers. And while any number of their games could have made the list it's on the Second World War RTS Company of Heroes that everything first clicked into place. From a single player campaign that plays off themes from Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers to a multiplayer game that still attracts players a decade later.
Not understanding what this game is I turn you over to Alec Brady a Sound Engineer here at Capcom Vancouver:
"FRACT OSC touches on my dream of an interactive virtual music composition environment. It’s a 'musical exploration game' where the player progresses by solving puzzles with digital music style interfaces. It has a sleek Tron inspired visual style and you will find yourself spending hours traveling it’s world just to make more sound. As someone who spends most of their free time with synthesizers, I love FRACT OSC."
While it's been difficult to keep some great developers like Ubisoft down to only one game on this list, so we can share the love, EA sneaks a second entry onto the list thanks to BioWare's Mass Effect series which stands as my own personal favourite of the games we've nominated. The series matches a compelling RPG game to a high tempo science fiction action title and ads a compelling story of humankind's fate in the stars. Cinematic and sweeping the series grew as it went improving with each release as it told the story of Commander Shepherd and the crew of the Normandy. And it's so Canadian they even let invading aliens lay waste to Vancouver in the opening moments of Mass Effect 3.
A 2D side-scrolling stealth action game featuring ninjas? Yes please. Vancouver developer Klei may now be best known for Don't Starve but with Mark of the Ninja they brought a focus on making non-lethal tactics a focus for a side-scrolling game which was a unique way of approaching it.