People often complain about the quality of games on Facebook. And it’s true, there’s a lot of junk out there. But there’s also a lot of great games, and things are only getting better. With the rise in prominence of Facebook as a game platform some of the most influential developers of our time have decided to test the waters and create new and innovative social experiences. They’ve already created some of the biggest games on the platform, and it doesn’t look like they’re about to stop anytime soon. Here are nine of the most prominent PC game developers who are now crafting games for Facebook.
Sid Meier – One of the biggest names in strategy gaming, Meier is best known for the Civilization series. But over the course of his three decades in the games industry he’s also had a hand in classic games like Sid Meier’s Pirates! and Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon and he founded game the revered game development studio Firaxis. He is regularly referred to as “the father of computer gaming.” So what’s he doing now? Still at Firaxis, Meier is trying to bring the world of Civilization to Facebook with the ambitious Civilization World.
Brian Reynolds – While Sid Meier’s name still appears on the box for each new installment of the Civilization series, it was actually Brian Reynolds who took on the role of lead designer of the much heralded sequel, Civilization II. He also worked on popular games like Alpha Centauri and co-founded Big Huge Games, which went on to create the Rise of Nations series. But two years ago he left Big Huge behind to head up Zynga East, where he was the chief game designer on FrontierVille.
Brenda Brathwaite – Brenda Brathwaite has been making games since she was just 15 year old, and spent nearly two decades at development studio Sir-tech Software. During that time she lent her talents to both the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series, and after that she worked with Atari on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. She began her career in social game development as the creative director at Lolapps, where she helped create the massively successful Ravenwood Fair. She’s now one of the founding members of social game start-up Loot Drop.
John Romero – Working alongside Brathwaite at Loot Drop is John Romero. If you don’t recognize his name, chances are you’ve heard of some of his games. Romero was one of the founding members of id Software, where he helped create some of the most influential games around, including Quake and Doom. Since that time he’s founded several studios, worked in everything from mobile games to massively multiplayer games to, most recently, helping launch Ravenwood Fair with Lolapps.
Bruce Shelley – Like Reynolds, Shelly got his start working alongside Sid Meier, having worked on both the original Civilization, as well as Railroad Tycoon. But he’s probably best known for his work at Ensemble Studios, where he helped create the real-time strategy series Age of Empires. He’s currently working as a consultant for Zynga, though what game, or games, he’s working on aren’t yet known.
Richard Garriott – Also known as “Lord British,” Garriott created and worked on the legendary Ultima series, starting with the original game in 1980 all the way up to Ultima Online in 1997, and beyond. He’s also worked on City of Heroes/Villains and Tabula Rosa, two incredibly influential massively online games. He’s also been to space, but here on Earth his most recent venture is the new social game studio Portalarium.
Mark Skaggs – While many of the developers on this list are just getting started in the social games space, Mark Skaggs has helped define it. He worked at Electronic Arts as executive producer on strategy games like Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 and Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth, but since then he’s gone on to head up three of the biggest Facebook games of all time: FarmVille, Treasure Isle, and CityVille. He’s currently the VP of product development for Zynga.
Tom Hall – Hall worked alongside Romero at id where he had a hand in the development of games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, and later went on to work for 3D Realms, where he lent his talents to the Duke Nukem franchise, among other games. But he’s no stranger to social-style games, as he then went on to work at Kingisle Entertainment, the developer behind the massively multiplayer Wizard 101, as well. Now he’s one of the founding members of Loot Drop.
Soren Johnson – Johnson is yet another one the developers on this list to have made his name at Firaxis, where he was the lead designer on Civilization IV. Later, he worked at Electronic Arts on Spore, the ambitious evolution game. He’s still working at EA, with the company’s EA2D studio, which is focused on creating high quality social games. Its current project is Dragon Age Legends, a tie-in game to the upcoming console blockbuster.