The videogame development industry, large and small, has its most advanced exponents in the Anglo-Saxon or Asian regions. For technological or even cultural reasons, the biggest names in the history of video games originated in the first world.
However, this has changed and more and more Latin American studios have entered the video game industry with high-quality products. Digital distribution has allowed smaller teams to reach global audiences and the examples are not few: video games created in Uruguay, Mexico, Chile or Colombia already face others created by teams with much more experience.
In Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we want to highlight some of the video game development studios that have created innovative, eye-catching products that, to a greater or lesser extent, reflect part of the regional culture .
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Ace Team is one of the oldest Latin American studios. Founded in 2002 by the brothers Andrés, Carlos and Edmundo Burdeau, they began with the creation of mods popular games until 2009 when they became known for Zeno Clash, a first-person shooter title released for PC and Xbox 360.
However, Ace Team would become more relevant with Rock of Ages, a unique game starring a giant rock that had to destroy castles. From then on, Ace Team’s games always stood out for their particular aesthetics and became known around the world by being distributed by companies in the Atlus or Sega category.
In Uruguay there is another study that for more than a decade has achieved a success that for many people has gone unnoticed. It is about Ironhide Game Studio, creator of the franchise Kingdom Rush, that after its first installment as a game with Flash technology, it made the leap towards mobile phones and found its place in the world.
The success of Kingdom rush It was such that they signed an agreement with Apple to create a title for the Apple Arcade service: Legends of Kingdom Rush, a spin off of the main saga that uses tactical strategy game mechanics but with a humor and a much more cartoony and light style.
This 2021 a title called Crystals, that at first glance looks like an old-school-style JRPG, but with a presentation according to current times.
Crystals It turned out to be a very good game and for many it was a surprise to know that the title was developed in Colombia by Dreams Uncorporated. As a general rule, games of this style are developed in Asia almost due to a cultural theme —there the genre was born—, but Crystals is another example of the level that talent has reached in the region.
In 2018, the Mexican studio Lienzo launched a video game with a theme that is rarely shown: that of Latin American indigenous peoples. In the case of Mulaka, The setting revolved around the Tarahumara, a community settled in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, where the study is also based.
Mulaka was generally very well received by critics and the public, and the study seems to be interested in continuing to explore the Mexican indigenous culture, judging by the name of its next game that will arrive in 2022: Aztech Forgotten Gods, an action game that reimagines the Aztec Empire in a modern and almost futuristic version.
The Brazilian team Aquiris Game Studio, born in 2007, has a striking curriculum developing video games for brands such as Cartoon Network or Looney Tunes, which speaks well of the way they work.
But what is perhaps the study’s greatest success was born from a franchise of its own: Horizon Chase, an arcade-style racing game inspired by the classics of the eighties and nineties like Top gear or Out Run. Horizon chase It was born as an exclusive mobile title, but over the years it made the leap to PS4 and PS5 and has been unanimously recognized for its impeccable presentation and its nostalgic 90s spirit.
These studies are mentioned together because they have one of the most successful video games in the region published in the last year, a survival horror old school style called Tormented Souls.
Tormented souls is basically a return to the roots of the resident Evil or Alone in the Dark when the genre was just beginning. The results were so good that any work of the studio will generate expectations, because not every day a group of practically unknown developers risks their debut in a genre so jealously remembered by its fans.
In 2010, Konami launched a new entry in its historic franchise Castlevania, but instead of developing it in Japan, they handed it over to a Spanish studio that had not been heard much about until then. The game in question? The remarkable Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, a reimagining in code hack’n slash three-dimensional of the Belmont saga.
Lords of shadow raised the profile of MercurySteam, which in addition to developing a sequel – which was not as well received as its first part – was required by Nintendo to develop two titles in the franchise Metroid. The first was Metroid: Samus Returns, a reimagining of Metroid II, and soon they will release Metroid Dread on Nintendo Switch, a brand new and completely original entry.
The Argentine studio Nimble Giant Entertainment is one of the few that belongs to a larger conglomerate, in this case, the Embracer Group, until recently known as THQ Nordic.
Nimble Giant Entertainment was born in 2002 and one of their first hits was Regnum Online (now renamed to Champions of Regmun), an MMO-type game that is still in force in format free to play. In 2017, Nimble released a shooting game called Quantum league, which takes various influences from shooters inspired by titles like Overwatch.
The Mexican studio HyperBeard Games, founded in 2014, is one of the most respected teams in the region in the mobile video game segment.
HyperBeard specializes in video games with a very striking and particular aesthetic, but in addition to creating them themselves they also help other smaller studios to publish, localize and refine their creations. HyperBeard has a wide portfolio of mobile titles with simple mechanics that have been appreciated by audiences around the world.
Until a few years ago, the Spanish studio The Game Kitchen had gone unnoticed, until it released one of the most interesting and striking indie titles in recent years: Blasphemous, an action game that mixes elements of the classic metroidvania with others more typical of Dark Souls.
The setting of Blasphemous It was striking for many Spanish-speaking players, when mentioning topics very typical of the region that have to do with Catholicism and part of the religious culture that dominates the continent. Blasphemous became a kind of hit cult that, two years after its premiere, is still being discovered by new players.