20 smart developers in games today

The men and women shaping the future of gaming...

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Studio 2K Marin
Twitter N/A
Current Project XCOM
Career Highlight BioShock 2
Shaping the future by being a champion of thoughtful design
Thomas is famous for his lauded, terrifying 'Cradle' level in Thief: Deadly Shadows. Since then he's designed the underrated BioShock 2, and is now directing XCOM, an intelligent, tactical shooter.



Studio Naughty Dog
Twitter @amy_hennig
Current Project Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Career Highlight Uncharted 2
Shaping the future by proving the importance of good writing
Winner of a Writers Guild of America award, Hennig has been creating games for 17 years. She cites writing as more important than anything else in a game - her biggest triumph is Uncharted.

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Studio BioWare
Twitter @pwatamaniuk
Current Project Mass Effect 3
Career Highlight Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Shaping the future by bonding real choice with big narratives
A long-time BioWare employee, Watamaniuk is one of the key players in the Mass Effect universe. Lead designer on the superb ME2, he returns to the role for the third and final game.



Studio Valve
Twitter N/A
Current Project Unknown
Career Highlight Half-Life 2
Shaping the future by defining shooters and the way games sell
1998's Half-Life changed the shooter forever with its unique - now much copied - approach. Half-Life never let the player out of its world, instead telling tales with clever environmental clues and glimpses of real-time events. Then, in 2003, Valve released the shop / update / multiplayer hub program Steam, getting digital distribution right many years before the rest even began getting it wrong. A former Microsoft employee, Newell has hired some of the best minds out there and overseen triumphs such as Half-Life 2 and the Portal series.

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Studio DICE
Twitter N/A
Current Project Battlefield 3
Career Highlight Battlefield Bad Company 2
Shaping the future by designing unrivalled soundscapes Stefan Strandberg started at DICE eight years ago, working on the brilliant, but sadly underappreciated Rallisport Challenge 2. Since then he's become an audio director, winning a BAFTA for 'Best Use Of Audio' in Battlefield Bad Company 2. Strandberg and his team are seen as the best in the industry, and have recently shared their expertise with the Mass Effect 3 team at BioWare.



Studio Irrational Games
Twitter @iglevine
Current Project BioShock Infinite
Career Highlight System Shock 2
Shaping the future by championing complex ideas without compromise
Levine boldy infused shooter BioShock with references to objectivism. This philosophical movement, founded by Ayn Rand, was a key influence on US bank chief Alan Greenspan - whose policies indirectly led to the world's finanical meltdown. Infinite has similarly grand inspiration; physicists like Einstein and Heisenberg, and the ideals of American exceptionalism. Few devs so adeptly forge big ideas to accesible design.

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