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Developers' Game of the Year 2010

Randy Pitchford, Ken Levine and many others share their picks of the last 12 months.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

It's the time of year when critics publicly ponder the best releases of the preceding 12 months. The results are collected, tallied and reproduced in countless lists across print and online.

Game developers have their views as well. They're gamers just like us – something that can be easy to forget as we await the launch of the next big thing with increasing impatience.

With that in mind, we recently asked some of the word's top creators to search their souls and reveal the answer to that burning question: which game was the best of 2010?

Read on to find out what the likes of Ken Levine, David Perry, Markus "Notch" Persson and others had to say on the matter.

Randy Pitchford is co-founder, CEO and president of Gearbox Software, creator of Brothers in Arms and Borderlands, and currently hard at work on Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

"All the big games of 2010 deserve all the attention they get, but what interested me most were the surprises," Pitchford tells Eurogamer.

"Two stood out most to me in 2010 and they were Limbo, which succeeded tremendously in style and scenario design and was rewarded with many customers, and Enslaved, which really accomplished something rare in terms of storytelling and game space engineering and, unfortunately, didn't manage to capture as much love in the market as it deserved."

That's a fine animal.

David Braben is founder of Frontier Developments, the studio behind Kinect launch title Kinectimals, having previously worked on seminal space sim Elite.

"This year has been a busy one for me, and it has eaten in to my game-playing time," Braben admits. "But having said that, of those I've played so far, I think the best were Fallout: New Vegas and Red Dead Redemption, even though I haven't finished either yet.

"Yes, the graphics in Fallout: New Vegas haven't moved on from Fallout 3, but the story is great. Having said that, the atmosphere of Red Dead is excellent, so it is a very difficult choice.

"If I had to choose, I think Red Dead would win by a sliver."

Dave Cox is head of product planning at Konami and was producer on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, which came out October.

"My favourite game of the year was The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on Nintendo DS," he says. (Spirit Tracks was actually released in 2009, but not until December, so it makes sense that Cox played it this year.)

"There is always something magical about playing a Zelda game and, for me, Spirit Tracks captured that real feeling I had when discovering them on SNES and N64 for the first time. Both are personal favourites.

"Spending a lot of time away from home working on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow meant I relied on my DS quite a bit and Zelda helped me during those long evenings in hotels and the numerous flights to and from the UK."

Our game of the year also.

David Perry is CEO of and in a previous life co-founded MDK developer Shiny Entertainment.

"My most important game of 2010 was made by BioWare. BioWare is like Blizzard, Bethesda and Bungie in my opinion – it's that company starting with the letter 'B' thing that really makes them valuable.

"Mass Effect 2 is simply incredible. I try it out on the true definition of 'mass market' gamers, meaning the people that have never played a game and probably never will. So I fire up Mass Effect 2 and just watch them get drawn in by the story. It's the highest-rated PC game of the last 12 months, so if you've not played it yet, you should."

Nick Burton is Kinect development director at Rare and one of the chief architects of Kinect launch title Kinect Sports.

"I guess my favourite game of 2010 has to be DJ Hero 2. I love music games and the mashups in DJH2 are fantastic," he explains.

"That coupled with a game mechanic that lets you really influence and change the songs and online battle mode makes a great package that has had me coming back time and time again. I've also been playing Dance Central a whole lot recently. It just feels like the next evolutionary step for music and dance games."

Ed 'BongoBoy' Stern is the senior game designer of upcoming first-person shooter Brink at UK developer Splash Damage.

"Farmville. Yes, Farmville. What's that you say? Not a proper game? Rather too similar to other, previous games? No longevity, just an abyssal, unfillable friend-alienating void that reduces us to e-peons?

"Hear that crunching noise? That was Farmville rolling over your objections with its colossal crushing implacable enormousness. A salutary reminder of what an enclave we Self-Identified Gamers dwell in.

"Out there, in the real world, people are just getting on with playing games they think they – and they're not actually wrong – enjoy. And apparently their money is just as good as ours. Hard though it is to swallow, raised eyebrows, flared nostrils and sneers don't actually count as currency. Or we'd be squillionaires."