rockstar north logoFirst and third party studios are often terms thrown around within the video game industry. Both are fairly misuderstood terms and in hope to clarify, I will, in the coming weeks, be discussing who I believe are the best first party studios and third party studios. First party studios are owned by a company who creates gaming consoles; the studio will then develop games exclusively for their parent console—third party studios are often hired by publishers to create games for several platforms. Unlike first party studios, that are given freedom to create what they want within the game, third party studios regularly work with the publisher so are ultimately given less freedom while creating the game.

This week the third party developer I will be discussing is the software giants Rockstar North. This Scottish developer is part of the huge conglomerate known as Rockstar Games. Rockstar Games are responsible for creating the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the Red Dead franchise aswell as several other huge franchises. Rockstar North have previously worked on the Grand Theft Auto series as well as the now dead series Lemmings. Grand Theft Auto of course is the stand out title, GTA is perhaps the most well known games console in existence. As of Febuary 2014 this popular series alone has sold more than 180 million copies, the latest instalment Grand Theft Auto 5 sold more than 30 million copies. 30 million units is incredible especially as this is without the release of next gen and PC versions of the game. I assume GTA 5 will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.

Rockstar North is considered an incredible developer for obvious reasons. The worlds they create are among the best I have ever seen without a shadow of a doubt, the world in GTA 5 was the most beautiful world I have explored in a video game. Not only is it graphically appealing but it is also a city that feels alive and unique. Exploring the vast San Andreas was a true pleasure, whether it is via plane, aeroplane or car. Also the character design is also incredible due to brilliant voice acting and perfect writing. Every character in the franchise is unique. Trevor in GTA 5 was like nothing we had ever seen before as not only was he insane but he was also intriguing as I could wait to find out more about the character. The characters within their games are normally vastly different for example Trevor and Michael. All the games have terrific stories which are surprising for open world games, GTA 4 at the time received great praise for the story as it was surprisingly compelling. What makes the stories so compelling is the dialogue. Every piece of dialogue was intriguing and made me continually what to continue on with the story.

As well as a great story, the gameplay mechanics are also remarkable and are constantly evolving. When a new Grand Theft Auto is released everyone truly believes the mechanics are flawless and the only company who could improve them is Rockstar North. This for the most part is not the case but I do not think I have seen any the mechanics used in GTA 5 done better. Effectively every aspect of the game was perfect especially the mechanics.

I could go on forever about strengths about the Scottish company. But ultimately I personally believe Rockstar North is without a shadow of a doubt the best third party developer in the video game industry. I can not wait to find out what Rockstar North will be working on next. Whether it is GTA 5 dlc or a remastered version of GTA 5 for PC and the next generation systems.