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Creators of Angry Birds, Fable, more on their 2012 gaming highlights

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After our own editorial choices for the best games of the year - which saw The Walking Dead crowned as our number one - as well as a selection of our most memorable moments, we now turn the attention to the developers themselves.

We asked creative directors and producers on some of the year's biggest games, including Angry Birds, Trials Evolution, Sleeping Dogs, Football Manager and upcoming games such as Crysis 3 and Fuse about their own 2012 highlights.

Matt Boch, project director at Harmonix (Dance Central 3)

Dust: An Elysian Tail screenshot

© Microsoft Games

"I had a really good time with Dust: An Elysian Tail. I felt like that game did something I really appreciated which a lot of games don't do, something I find it annoying in other games, which is it just acknowledges that it's a video game and is happy with that.

"A lot of the characters - someone will die on screen and like their character will be, 'I hope he's saved', just little jokes that make it obvious that, this may be an interesting world, there may be a cool narrative here.

"But also we're in a video game, and not the sort of strained types of narrative justifications, like a crazy machine that helps you to go back in time for your DNA or something. It's like you could just be in the past, right?


"The attitude that that game has, I think it's amazing and the animations are absolutely gorgeous. I've had an amazing time playing Fez, I think it's one of those very unique, very singular games.

"I have full disclosure, Phil [Fish] is a friend of mine, I really think that that game is just gorgeous and playful and light-hearted, but also deep and pored-over, and you can really feel that when you play it, and I love the the way that that feels very special.

"In addition to that, I've enjoyed Sound Shapes and Rhythm Thief. I sort of try to play every single music game that comes out, those have all been really pretty huge."

Ted Timmins, producer at Lionhead Studios (Fable: The Journey, Fable: Heroes)

"I haven't completed it yet, but I've loved Fez, and I think in a similar way to the reason why I loved Super Mario 3D Land, is that it was the perfect combination between hardware and software. Mario 3D Land - the 3D really worked, and that I solved the puzzles using 3D, and that, for me, it sold the system to me.

"For Fez obviously for the Xbox, it was the control system and the way in which you span the world around with the puzzles, it worked. I think that would be my favourite this year."


Peter Ong, co-founder at DreamRift (Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion)

Code of Princess
"I'm really enjoying Code of Princess for the Nintendo 3DS at the moment. It's a well-done 2D perspective beat-'em-up, which is a genre in which we don't get enough honest efforts from developers today."

Andrew Oliver, CTO at Blitz Games Studios (Dizzy Returns)

"Max Payne 3 was a stand-out game for me this year. Incredible visuals and a brilliantly-paced story throughout the action made it great fun to play, and the 'Hollywood set piece'-type action allowed some incredibly fluid and exciting combat. The closest I've seen to playing an action movie blockbuster."


Cevat Yerli, CEO at Crytek (Crysis 3)

New Star Soccer
"What I've been playing recently isn't much because of Crysis 3 and the other games we're doing, but I've been playing a lot of mobile games. I've recently been playing a game that not a lot of people has probably heard of, called New Star Soccer. That game I've been playing a lot.

"I like the simplicity of it and the fact you can play it anywhere. You play a soccer player who can play for Barcelona, Chelsea or Man United over your career, and it makes a nice [difference] for what I do. When I play games, I don't want to because i'm looking at them on a list, I want to do it to enjoy them.

"[I watch] a movie or playing games that are relevant to our releases to keep an eye on it as a developer. But with New Star Soccer I don't have that, I'm just playing the game."

Kalle Kaivola, executive producer at Rovio (Angry Birds Trilogy, Amazing Alex)

"I would have got more sleep last night if I wasn't playing FTL: Faster Than Light, that's huge for me. I love the freshness of it. They do things in a way that are forgotten in modern game design, and they punish you in just the right way."



Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive (Football Manager series)

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

© Warner Bros.

"For pure enjoyment factor, I'm probably going to go for something different to most. The game I have enjoyed the most this year has been Lego Batman 2. It was just a laugh from start to finish and I struggled to put it down until I'd completed it and unlocked all of the characters.

"There's probably been better games when you look back historically at pivotal moments in gaming, but the game I've personally enjoyed the most has been Lego Batman 2."

Edmund McMillen, designer (Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac)

"Spelunky was my favourite game of the year. Personally I think it's one of the best games ever made. The original inspired Binding of Isaac and I'm still in awe how fun, compelling and vast the remake is on XBLA.

"Second would have to be Hotline Miami, the action was spot on, the feeling of stealth and aggression was extremely well done and it was one of the few games this year that I sat down to play and didnt stop till i was finished.


"I also should mention Dear Esther as one of my faves as well. It was by far the most moving game I'd ever played, sucked me right in start to finish, and had me bawling like a baby at the end, totally moving me in a way that few games have ever come close and haunting me for weeks to come.

"I don't have a lot of time to play games these days with what I'm working on, so the games I love the most tend to be ones that just grab me and hold me for an extended period of time.

"I should also mention I play a lot of mainstream games too; I hate coming off like some indie snob with my list, but the mainstream didn't have much to offer us this year... well, not much to offer me anyway."

Antti Ilvessuo, creative director at Redlynx (Trials Evolution)

"Hero Academy for iOS. I played the hell out of it. It's just the right way to do asynchronous multiplayer with friends. [I've also been playing] Assassin's Creed III. The new setting is fresh and the amount of detail in this really makes it a monster!"


Dan Sochan, producer at United Front Games (Sleeping Dogs)

'Dishonored' box art
"I've also had a lot of fun playing Borderlands 2 and Dishonored lately. I love seeing new IP come out, like Dishonored, that help to reinvent genres and push the creativity. It's great seeing so many good titles coming out over the next few months - that's how the industry grows as a whole. When we all continue to push the technology and strive for innovation."

Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, Fuse)

"I got asked that question earlier and my lame response was that I've been so focused on Fuse I have not been able to play a whole lot, so my answer is woefully uninformed. The game I spent the most time with recently has been Dishonored. I've been enjoying it, but I wish I had... I'm looking forward to this Christmas where I can look forward to getting my hands on other games.

"[I've been enjoying] the style, I think the asthestic is very cool. I like the story, the world they've created is very different. It's unique."


Gallery: View Digital Spy's own top 25 games of 2012:

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