Behind every great game there's a great developer. Whether it's a dozen friends in a small office or two hundred people working with a multi-million dollar budget, it's the people - or rather, the culmination of their drive, vision and technique - that make a game what it is.
Across this list we've picked the 20 key developers shaping the future of gaming with their vision, creativity and innovation.
Current project MGS Rising
Career Highlight Metal Gear Solid 3
Shaping the future by blurring the line between gamer and game
Kojima is the architect of the decade-spanning Metal Gear Solid series. His passion for Western cinema means he's dedicated as much to story as gameplay, but nobody else blurs the boundary between gamer and game quite like him. Kojima is set to influence again with his PS3 / PS Vita cloud save Transfarring system and Fox Engine graphics tech.
Studio Media Molecule
Current Project Unannounced
Career Highlight LittleBigPlanet
Shaping the future by turning players into designers
Evans left Lionhead to found Media Molecule with a handful of friends, and landed a knockout punch with LittleBigPlanet. Cue more 'easy' sequels? Pah. The team's mystery new project has nothing to do with Sackboy. Bold.
Current Project Rayman Origins
Career Highlight Beyond Good & Evil
Shaping the future by taking risks with creative games
Beyond Good & Evil may not have been the hit Ubisoft hoped, but it established Ancel as a creative force. Rayman Origins' lush hand-painted visuals prove there's life left in 2D gaming.
Current Project Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Career Highlight Kingdom Hearts
Shaping the future by bringing Final Fantasy back to its roots
After the disappointing XIII, Nomura's semi-sequel, Versus XIII, is harking back to the PSone era - of which he was a critical component - in both gameplay sensibilities and visual design.
Current Project The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Career Highlight The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Shaping the future by making the hardcore
RPG mainstream Creative lead Howard was responsible for both runaway smash The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the postapocalyptic Fallout 3 - two very different role-playing games that share similar themes of vast player freedom and scope. Not bad for a man whose applications to work at Bethesda were routinely rejected in the early '90s... Now, with the more advanced The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the horizon, Howard's work is set to reach an even greater global audience.
Studio Quantic Dream
Current Project Project Horizon
Career Highlight Heavy Rain
Shaping the future by making us feel when we play games
We know nothing of Cage's next project except that it excites us. Focused on human experience, Cage gets better with every game.