Regardless of whether you prefer action-adventure, arcade, fighting, shooter or even racing genre, you have most likely met games with a setting that dates back to Chicago: EA Sports UFC, Tom Clancy’s HAWX, Hitman: Absolution, Need for Speed: ProStreet, etc. Or a fictionalized version of the Chicagoland area, as is the case with Watch Dogs. Ubisoft did an excellent job of capturing the main sights, sounds, and general atmosphere of Chicago for its immersive open-world hackathon.
But Chicago is not only an interesting place to display in the game. It is also a very prolific and active city of video game creation. There are a large number of studios producing high-quality games for PC, consoles and mobile devices. Chicago gaming companies are incredibly productive, distinctive and locally unique. But let’s talk about everything in turn.
Advantages of Choosing Video Game Companies in Chicago
Why is Chicago a hotbed for game development? This city was the first to distribute pinball and arcade bars. People now have the opportunity to play various vintage video games in public places. It also houses the Chicago Gamespace, a video game museum where visitors learn, play and get inspired by a collection of the most important video games of the 20th century. It includes a permanent collection, special exhibitions, a library of video game-related magazines and books, and a video game art reproduction store.
There are so many Chicago gaming companies that it’s time to get confused among them. Therefore, our task is to select the most remarkable of them and have them handed to you on a silver platter.
Best Gaming Studios in Chicago
Location: US, Ukraine
Kevuru Games is a game studio with offices in the USA and Ukraine with a ten-year history and a large pool of specialists offering full-cycle development services or individual game services. Individual services include the creation of 2D and 3D art and animation, programming, testing, game design and interface design, as well as gamification services – adding a game element to a non-game environment.
In addition to an integrated approach and experienced staff with 60% senior-level specialists, the studio boasts a huge pool of clients in the USA: Ultrabit, AdoreStudio, Pixelberry Studios and others. The studio’s well-known case is a collaboration with Lucasfilm on 3D characters for the game Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, Kevuru Games held a large number of roadshows across America and managed to earn a reputation as a reliable partner in gaming tasks.
Babaroga is an Illinois-based game development studio specializing in mobile games for Android and iOS. Founded in 2002, over almost 20 years of operation, the company has managed to create licensed games for Disney Interactive and Electronic Arts, as well as original games for Microsoft and Glu. Among the well-known projects is the version of the popular board game Zombies !!! adapted for Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and iOS.
Wishbone Club is a custom engagement platform designed specifically to create positive experiences and enhance interactions between brands and consumers. It stands out from other Chicago gaming companies in that it focuses primarily on gamification – it implements gaming reward programs for medical company products, allowing their users to take care of their health in a fun and exciting way.
High Voltage Software
Location: Hoffman Estates
High Voltage Software is a video game developer based in the village of Hoffman Estates, Illinois. One of the oldest Chicago gaming companies, it was founded in 1993 and gained maximum fame after the release of the game Hunter: The Reckoning, as well as The Conduit and its sequel for the Nintendo Wii console. Since 2016, the company has been releasing games designed for virtual reality devices, developed in partnership with the Oculus VR studio.
Among the company’s well-known projects is work on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and Saints Row, as well as collaboration with NetherRealm on Mortal Kombat games. The company’s latest VR shooter, Damaged Core, has been voted by some as the best game for the Oculus Rift.
Iron Galaxy Studios
Iron Galaxy Studios is an American computer games company that works under contract with major developers to provide technical advice and port games to various platforms. Iron Galaxy Studios debuted its first original work Wreckateer in 2012. The company’s second original game was Divekick, released in 2013.
The company worked on the Bioshock series as well as Killer Instinct, Borderlands and Destiny. The number of games ported by the studio has exceeded 50, and the porting-available platforms include Android and iOS, Xbox, PS, Windows, Wii, Nintendo Switch, HTC Vive and others.
Jackbox, formerly known as Jellyvision Games, produces party games for PC, consoles, mobile and Amazon Fire TV. Best known for the You Don’t Know Jack quiz series of party games. The company introduced a unique feature that allowed the game to be played using smartphones and tablets as controllers rather than real game controllers.
Another famous game from the studio, Fibbage: The Hilarious Bluffing, released for Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4, uses phones-as-controllers technology, allowing up to 8 players to bluff to trick other players. No real physical controllers are not used for the game.
Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore is an American video game developer who created the console version of the MMO World of Tanks series. Wargaming’s Chicago-based subsidiary, formerly known as Wargaming West and Day 1 Studios, also developed games such as F.E.A.R. 3 and Fracture.
The company’s first project was the Xbox-exclusive computer game MechAssault, published by Microsoft Game Studios in November 2002. In December 2004, a sequel was released – MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf – which was also published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox console.
How to Choose the Most Reliable Partner?
Among the abundance of Chicago gaming companies, choosing a reliable partner can seem like a daunting task. But in fact, their choice can be greatly reduced if you have specific requirements. Many of the gaming companies in Chicago are dedicated exclusively to mobile gaming, while others specialize in PC and console games. Knowing what you need, you can already narrow down the list of candidates according to the submitted expertise.
Pay attention to the studio experience and how the number of years on the market matches the number of completed projects. A team may have been surfing the game sphere for a long time, but if, along with a dozen years of operation, it has few projects in its portfolio, then most likely it indicates passivity, or problems with specialists, or quality issues.
Speaking of portfolios, see right away those works that fit the style you want. If there are no such works, check with the studio for their availability – perhaps they simply did not fit into the main portfolio and exist in the form of a separate presentation sent on request.
Most video game companies in Chicago have a lot of experience and expertise, but not all work with the models you want. Pay attention to those models of cooperation that are offered by different Chicago video game studios and choose those partners who are ready to provide you with the terms of cooperation that are convenient for you.
We’ve reviewed several well-known video game studios in Chicago so that you don’t get lost among the many titles when looking for a partner in this region. For our part, we recommend the services of the Kevuru Games game development studio: here you will find one of the most flexible approaches to cooperation and the widest range of services, from full-cycle game development to individual services for art and animation creation. Also, the studio offers the help of specialists who will test your game and experts who will gamify your non-game application or product.
The cooperation model is selected individually in accordance with the wishes and conditions set by the client. It is available to apply both outsourcing and outstaffing schemes. A large staff of 300+ experts make it possible to take on even the largest projects, and the prevalence of senior-level specialists guarantees an impeccable result.