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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 21, 2006 at 11:53 AM

GDC: The hot 100 developers

Next Generation has published a list of the 100 most influential game developers in shaping the industry. I think I pulled out all the local folks on the list, which include:

Jason Jones, the co-founder of Microsoft’s Bungie Studios:

Starting as a Mac-exclusive developer, his team was put on the map with the Marathon series, games as dear to the Apple zealotry as anything Steve Jobs ever did. In these fantastic games was the seed of Halo, and in Halo Bungie was reborn: as a Microsoft first party, as a console-first developer, and as one of the most influential developers on the face of the planet.

Gabe Newell, founder of Bellevue-based Valve Software:

Newell and Valve, the company he founded, turned from complete unknowns to major players in a single title: 1998’s Half-Life, the game that has since been the nigh unachievable height to which most first-person shooter titles now aspire.

Bruce Oberg, founder of Bellevue-based Sucker Punch Productions:

Oberg and his company’s fellow co-founders had made names for themselves as part of Microsoft’s various product studios. It’s rather nicely dramatic then, that the small, independent company Oberg heads has never made games for the Xbox, and they only made one Nintendo 64 game before moving to PS2 and sticking to it. Their loss was Sony’s gain: the Sly Cooper series has been one the Playstation’s defining franchises, and its mix of stealth, platforming, and widely varying game modes have ensured strong sales into last years Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.

Mike O’Brien, founder of Bellevue-based ArenaNet:

Mike O’Brien’s industry history pegs him as one of the field’s great innovators. His extensive time with Blizzard put him at the team lead of Warcraft III, but he also was a primary creator of Battle.Net, the innovative (and no-fee) online gaming system that hooked so many players to Blizzard’s RTS offerings.

Samantha Ryan, chief executive of Kirkland-based Monolith Productions:

Ryan has been with Monolith since 1998, after building an international background in broadcast production. Since then, she has helped bring the studio to prominence with production work on a string of unique and entertaining titles such as the No One Lives Forever series.

Brian Soderberg, the co-founder of Zipper Interactive:

Soderburg’s history prior to working in the industry runs the gamut of military development firms, but after founding Zipper Interactive in 1995, it took several years making other titles like MechWarrior 3 before returning to the well that military background surely provided. The game was SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals, a series which has since entrenched itself as the premiere on-line military shooting game on Playstation 2.

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