* Creator/{{Valve|Software}}:
** Mod communities are encouraged to the point where they offer ''VideoGame/GarrysMod'', a mod for mucking about with physics objects in [=HL2=], free on {{Steam}}. They also include the Source SDK with every Source game bought on Steam.
** Valve happily hires people whom have shown promising work and projects. ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'s'' developers were originally students at Digipen, and ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2's'' developers were originally struggling to maintain an indie company until Valve took them under their wing, much like ''VideoGame/Left4Dead's'' devs. They hired [[http://www.hylobatidae.org/minerva/blogsheep.php Adam Foster]], the guy behind the [[http://www.hylobatidae.org/minerva/ Minerva: Metastasis]] ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 2}}'' maps, who worked ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'', as well as [[http://buttfacemakani.livejournal.com/ Makani]], who did a fanart of the ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' announcer that the company took a liking to, and have now made it canon with their update, which contains a comic she did.
** Offering unheard-of discounts for Steam customers, including almost $150 off for purchasing [[http://store.steampowered.com/sub/2546/ every game they have ever released on Steam]].
** The Orange Box was 5 games for a measly $30. This isn't one of those shovelware compilations or one of those that is just five old titles being repackaged for a lower price though, these were five fully-fledged, brand new AAA titles. Nowadays it's usually sold for $5.
* The developers that made ''[[VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines]]'' stayed on for months after the company filed for bankruptcy without pay to release a patch that added a lot of content back into the game and fixed a whole host of bugs.
* ''VideoGame/BlackMesa'' is a prime example for the modding community. All the effort of an officially licensed game, but entirely free to the community. Everything is polished and well done. The best words to describe it: "A labor of love by fans of Half-Life."
* The TeamIcoSeries. Neither ''[[VideoGame/{{Ico}} ICO]]'' or ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'' sold very well, but Sony continues to fund and support Team ICO because ''ICO'' and SOTC were met with universal acclaim from the press and gamers alike. They are considered two of the very best games on the PS2 and any conversation about "games as art" will inevitably include a discussion of these particular examples.
* Creator/TelltaleGames. They're started to get entrusted with franchises like ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'', ''Franchise/JurassicPark'', and ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' because they just ''love'' the titles they work on. WhatCouldHaveBeen had they managed to secure ''Series/DoctorWho''...
** Telltale also provides an arguably negative example of this trope. Part of the reason they switched from the point-and-click interface to the much-maligned directional arrows found in ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' and ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' is because it's very hard to do cinematic angles with the traditional point-and-click. They have worked on ways to incorporate the mouse into the control scheme, but not everyone is happy about it and this has led to accusations of them being more concerned with visuals than with gameplay.
** They also get a lot of (perhaps deserved) flack for their puzzles being incredibly [[ItsEasySoItSucks simple]]. It's pretty clear they care more about telling good stories than constructing challenging games. To be fair, they ARE pretty damn good at the former so many are willing to forgive them that.
* Creator/HidekiKamiya, formerly of Clover Studios and now of Creator/PlatinumGames, with this [[https://twitter.com/PG_kamiya/status/379302161101774848 tweet]] that says it all. If needing an example, ''{{VideoGame/Okami}}'' has often been cited as one of ''the most'' beautiful games visually out there.
* Creator/ArcSystemWorks seems to put a quite of attention to their fighting games. Both BlazBlue and GuiltyGear have high resolution 2D sprites with various animation, voice work, music that depends on character matchups. Blazblue and the most recent Guilty Gear Xrd deserve mention to the use of 3D technology as BlazBlue uses it as a model for hand painting their sprites while Xrd uses the models, but animated them slightly choppy and custom colored per frame to maintain the old animated sprite look.
** ''[=Blazblue=]'' has idle animations for characters. ''Idle animations in a fighting game''. In normal, serious gameplay, you would just never see them. Presumably, this is the only explanation for why [=ArcSys=] would include them.
* ''VideoGame/SteelBattalion''. Atsushi Inaba and company had to have realized how commercially infeasible such a HardCore RealRobot [[SimulationGame simulator]] would be, [[CrackIsCheaper requiring a US$200 controller bundle]] and an original XBox if you didn't have one already, and [[SaveGameLimits the Roguelike approach to saving and death]] and [[BladderOfSteel no pause feature.]] [[spoiler:Unless you unplug the controller.]] And yet they STILL managed to release it for us to enjoy...
* ''VideoGame/MetalSlug''. How many run and gun shooters were there back then--or even today that do as much random stuff as ''Metal Slug''? Enemy conversations, animated chin movements, fifty different ways of watching the exact same tank explode? Nobody asked for all this: somebody just really wanted to make a detailed shooter.
** If you have the chance, try going to the first stage of the first game. Early on, you get the Flame Shot and you can pass through a destroyed part of an airplane fuselage. Firing it will actually lighten up the area around you. This, in a fully 2D game with no added lighting effects of any kind, is just another mark of how incredibly detailed a game Metal Slug is.
** Oh, and the first stage of ''Metal Slug 2/X''? [[http://turntoch3.com/megashock/reviews/extra_mslug2/ The Arabic writing in the background is not only accurate,]] but silly as per series standard.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' started out as a fun, but relatively simple brawler featuring Creator/{{Nintendo}} all-stars--a concept so inherently fun that messing around with it wasn't really necessary. The reason it's on this list is for its sequels, namely the trophies: both Melee and Brawl feature trophies of countless characters from Nintendo's past, all with descriptions of several sentences. It's a subset feature of the game which many people don't even look at. For those who do, it's hard to shake the feeling that somebody out there really, really admires Nintendo's history.
** There's a video series on Website/YouTube about The History Behind Smash Brothers ([[http://www.youtube.com/user/CrappyCaptureDevice/videos?query=The+History+Behind+Smash+Brothers link]], if anyone's curious), which reveals that nearly everything in the game, from random parts of the stages to every item to the characters' fighting moves is a reference to the games on which they are based. The music is filled with random bits from various games, the stages have multiple references to older stages from the original games, and the moves, even quickest and most random, are from older games. The sheer amount of it is staggering.
*** One of the stages is a huge reference to a ''future'' game! [[spoiler: [[Franchise/MetalGear On a competing system]]!]]
** The best example of this might be [[VideoGame/GameAndWatch Mr. Game & Watch]]'s moveset. Every single attack he has is a reference to one of his games, including the moves that would usually be a generic punch or kick on a different character.
** ''VideoGame/ProjectM''. Why would fans spend years working (without pay) on such a massive mod of ''Brawl''? Because they ''love'' ''Melee'' and its community. Most mods fall under this.
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' may not seem all that impressive to big brand name releases like ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' and ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'', but consider this: the entire game, and the "Creator/StudioPixel" responsible for it, consists entirely of one person. Who made all of it. Over the course of 5 years. During the time he graduated and started to work. The kicker? He wasn't even considering working in the game industry, he just did it for fun.
* Team Shanghai Alice, which is one guy named "ZUN", made the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Project'', a whole series of ShootEmUps that has become perhaps the best known among the anime crowd. The one series alone spawned dozens, if not hundreds of doujin circles, creating music, videos, and manga. He's very generous with the copyright as he let's others make whatever they want, provided that they don't call it an "official" work. This may be the reason why he doesn't care so much about commercializing his series.
* ''VideoGame/FreedomForce''. Most people just see wacky technicolor superheroes doing wacky technicolor superhero things. Those geeky enough to know about TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks and TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks just feel an overwhelming sense of awe.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' required loads and loads of manpower in order to pull off the technical feats it could--especially when you consider that it was a first-generation PS2 title. But man, did we really need that many cutscenes?
* On the other hand, ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}},'' ''Xenosaga'''s predecessor, suffered from budgeting and timing problems, leading to the infamous second disc featuring the protagonists relating much of the story in walls of text. However, it says a great deal about the creator that the story continued to shine and grow even more detailed and complex.
* The ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' games feature an enormous amount of detail, especially impressive when we consider that the early games only had something like sixteen colors.
* Creator/{{Nintendo}} says they put their top teams onto their {{casual video game}}s--''Wii Sports'' and the like. Most developers scoff at such an idea. Those games are inexpensive enough to be almost guaranteed a profit. Nintendo does have potboiler games, but they don't seem to think casual games are potboilers.
** Given how many other companies have tried and failed to duplicate Nintendo's success with casual video games, this seems to be a case of Much Harder Than It Looks.
* The ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'' series. There's a good reason why only three ''MOTHER'' games have ever been made, and why they have such a devoted fanbase. All Creator/ShigesatoItoi wanted from this series was the chance to experiment with telling a good story in a new, different medium. All that's likely to bring him back to the series is feeling that he has a new story to tell for it. Actually, this extends to most things Itoi has ever done and the purpose of his current work, the [[http://www.1101.com/ Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun]].
** You want an example? In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', WelcomeToCorneria is completely averted. ''Completely''. ''Every single NPC in the game'' has at least one dialogue change, and often more. Never mind that most of these [=NPC=]s are in towns you'll never visit again once you're done with your business there. ''VideoGame/MOTHER3'' does the same thing.
** And then there's ''[[http://mother4.andonuts.net/ Mother 4]]''. Not to be deterred by Itoi's official statement that the Mother series is finished, some die hard fans have started work on what seems to be an incredibly professional sequel for no reason other than their passion towards the series.
** The FanTranslation for ''VideoGame/MOTHER3''. [[http://mother3.fobby.net/or/ The translation team was very, VERY serious about their work]]. There were many technical hurdles they felt they might never get around, [[MomentOfAwesome and they got around them anyway]]. And it paid off.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', meanwhile, ventured in a completely different direction for the sole reason that its creators felt ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' was so good that trying to replicate it would merely be redundant. Both written and directed by Masato Kato, the head writer for ''Trigger'', ''Cross'' features a more personal and ponderous narrative and explores the themes of its predecessor from very different perspectives; the game incorporates a number of incredibly ambitious ideas (such as an [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters absolutely huge roster of playable characters]], complex and branching storylines, and high-minded philosophical themes) that few, if any games have attempted since. By far the most done-for-the-art aspect of the game, however, is the soundtrack: even though he had just quit [[Creator/SquareEnix Square Soft]], YasunoriMitsuda was hired to score the game simply because Kato considered him an indispensible part of the ''Chrono'' formula. The decision to compose two different songs for each area--one for each dimension--was made at the last minutes, simply because Kato and Mitsuda thought it would be a good idea. The singer and lyricist for the ending theme, a relatively obscure artist by the name of Noriko Mitose, was chosen despite Square Soft PR's wishes for a more popular and marketable singer, simply because her style was deemed right for the game.
* In most video games, incidental [=NPC=]s--even [[NominalImportance named ones]]--generally have no voice acting, two-dimensional personalities, and don't ever get up to much of anything. Not so in ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}''. Every single character in the game--and there's [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters gobs of 'em]], around 30 or so--is fully voiced, with their own quirky personality, and their own mini-story they follow through the course of the game--such as the LoveTriangle between [[KidAnova Nils]], J.T., and Elka, Quentin and Phoebe's garage band, and Mikail's search for the camp's bear population, which somehow leads to him and Maloof becoming the camp's [[TheFamilyForTheWholeFamily local mobsters]]. It must be seen to be believed.
** This level of character detail is more or less a staple in Creator/TimSchafer's games. In fact, rumor has it that he managed to flesh out each character in the game so well was by creating fake accounts for each character on a social networking site and playing out their lives through them.
* Just one of the many examples from ''[[VideoGame/NetHack NetHack]]'': There exists an enemy named the Quantum Mechanic. Upon death, it will [[RandomlyDrops sometimes drop]] a box. Inside the box is [[SchrodingersCat either a live cat or a cat corpse]]. If you check the source code, you'll find that the contents of a quantum mechanic's box, unlike all of the other boxes in the game, are not determined until you open it, just for the little extra joke that most people will never find. (Considering that the [=NetHack=] community is the one that coined the phrase TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything, though, it's not that surprising.) And the game is free, people!
** To elaborate: Nethack has been developed by computer nerds with too much time on their hands since the 80's, has been ported to pretty much every operating system known to man (yes, even the iOS). And even though Nethack has ceased active development, people are STILL MAKING PATCHES AND VARIANTS of the game.
* Victor Ireland of Creator/WorkingDesigns was clearly DoingItForTheArt. Not everyone liked all of their [[GagDub art]], but they put a phenomenal amount of effort into localizing relatively obscure Japanese [=RPG=]s, even in the days before ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' brought [=RPG=]s into the United States mainstream.
** Working Designs's staff went out of their way to [[{{Woolseyism}} rewrite]] GratuitousEnglish into more natural-sounding English. Furthermore, they lobbied to keep the [=PS1=] port of ''[[VideoGame/RaySeries Ray Crisis]] 100''% intact, ''right down to a minigame for an accessory not released in North America.''
* ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'' is an incredibly detailed game for the Playstation 2 that is made to have story book-fairy tale aesthetics. From background to foreground, it has tons of detail (''every limb'' has its own animations) that only adds to the fantastical nature of it's setting. The entire design team consists of eleven people.
* The whole backstory of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': imagining a whole functional world with dozens of ethnicities, political subplots, more than a thousand {{NPC}}s, secondary characters who are more detailed than main characters from other games, detailed work on the different countries' architecture, clothing fashions, it feels like Square was trying to say "Yes, we can make something else than milking fanboys with remakes and spinoffs." Even unfinished and compromised (Vaan was not the original main character) it's still impressive.
** A lot of work went into the bestiary, especially how much information they provided about all the monsters, and the small articles about different areas of the game. A lot of time and effort obviously went into what a lot of games usually throw in as a basic monster list.
* The DS ''VideoGame/DinosaurKing'' game looks like your average Pokémon clone, and is a [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed game]]. However, it has some of the best 3-D effects on the system (80+ dinosaurs ''in full 3D''), puts effort into reconstructing the dinosaurs as accurately as possible (feathers on the ones which had them), uses many dinosaurs which otherwise would not be in a game, and has a Pokedex-clone which goes into depth in terms of dinosaur classification.
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'': a world simulator/game written entirely by one guy that attempts to realistically simulate, among other things, the effects of hand-to-hand combat on individual layers of skin, but uses ASCII graphics. [[EndlessGame Additionally, it is impossible to win]].
** One joke on the Bay 12 forums held that Toady wouldn't be done with the game until it represented a perfect simulation of reality down to the quantum level. The next response to that involved dwarven nukes. The Bay 12 Forums are a fun place.
* ''VideoGame/{{Primal}}'': A tribute to old-school '''hard''' graphics problems.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' featured an incredibly complex and detailed non-linear plot exploring existential themes. The dialogue is a few books worth and features superb voice acting. Many critics have compared Torment favorably to literary works, a stunning achievement for the ghettoized genre of video game fiction.
* The ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' series likewise featured a rich and complicated story fleshed out with hours of surprisingly eloquent dialogue that would not appear foreign in a work of Shakespeare's.
* ''VideoGame/HotelDuskRoom215'' was in development for almost 2 years, just so developer Cing could make the comic book style character animations, which were done frame by frame.
** ''VideoGame/LastWindow'' was being developed while Cing was facing bankruptcy. While the game was being translated for an EU release, Cing ''did'' file for bankruptcy. The game is [[EvenBetterSequel arguably even better]] than the first
* ''VideoGame/TheConduit'', a FPS for the {{Wii}}, started in development without a publisher (meaning they had nobody to actually sell the game to stores yet), because the developers were sick of what they felt was developers shafting the system (they were known for making [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames licensed games]] for years, but that was more what's known as PayingTheirDues). From the interviews and the extensive soliciting of ideas and feedback, it's clear they were ''thrilled'' to finally get to do it for the art.
* ''VideoGame/TooHuman'' suffered from this, with years of prolonged development (and the issue that led to the lawsuit over the [[GameEngine Unreal 3 Engine]]) making it one of the most expensive games ever made, possibly in the top three.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' series, to varying degrees. ''Myst'' was a complete gamble: nobody had done anything like it before, Cyan didn't know whether the available tools were up to it, and they had no idea whether it would sell. They didn't even have work premises when they started on it. ''Myst II: Riven'' not only pushed the boundaries of rendering technology, but also featured a complete invented language with novel glyphs (which was entirely non-essential to the plot and gameplay). While being considerably less of a financial gamble, the following sequels have all followed the same philosophy of lavish and intricate design and production.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess''. Nintendo delayed the game's release for six months to polish the graphics, when it knew full well that the game was likely to sell well as it was (assuming the graphics were all that was unfinished). In addition, there are ''tons'' of areas that the average player is never likely to go near; the "world map" is much, much bigger than they needed to make it.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' was also famously delayed for about a year, with a major overhaul of the plot, so that it would be the best game ever made.
** Eiji Aonuma, producer of the current Zelda games, [[WordOfGod stated]] that he doesn't look at sales when he makes a Zelda game, but rather, how to give a compelling package that provides the players with memorial and compelling experiences, meaning all the Zelda games he worked on fall under this trope.
* The ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series in general goes to great lengths to make things atmospheric when they could have just given you a map and said "shoot this".
** ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'' has aged incredibly well due to such attention to detail. Samus has an IdleAnimation consisting simply of her ''breathing''. While wearing full body PoweredArmour.
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'': Rain droplets appearing for the briefest of seconds on Samus' visor, her involuntary jerking her hand to protect herself when she takes heavy fire, being able to see the bones of her arm when wearing the X-Ray visor, and that's without taking into account all of the fluff info you can find out by scanning, like what sort of ''rations'' the Space Pirates eat. These little details helped make ''Prime'' into one of the most atmospheric games ever.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shenmue}}''. Each and every character has their own personal schedule and voice acting, along with a lot of information about them you can't even find without the player's guide. There are tons of buildings you can enter that have no point in the game world other than to be entered and looked at (compare to ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'', where if a building can be entered it has to have a point). There's a mode which has completely authentic weather for the year. No wonder it was the most expensive video game of its time.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}},'' was released near the ''extreme'' end of the GameBoyColor's lifetime (2001!), and was put out by the then-unknown [[Creator/WayForwardTechnologies WayForward Technologies]]. The main character was based on random sketches from the creator's wife. The game features crazily detailed and fluid 8-bit animation, using a truly insane number of sprites (in some areas, Shantae is built out of several sprites so she can utilize multiple color palettes), and was done up in classic, "hardcore" {{Metroidvania}} format despite its cutesy cover. Did the game sell well? No. Did critics adore it? ''Yeah!'' For years, [=WayForward=] had been trying to make a sequel, and couldn't find a publisher, so they published it themselves on DSiWare.
* The English localization of ''[[VideoGame/SakuraWars Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love]]'' is said to be [[Creator/NipponIchi NIS America's]] biggest undertaking to date. To start, more than 70,000 lines of written dialogue and 10,000 voice samples had to be translated, which is far greater than any other localization in their history. A Wii port was commissioned to Idea Factory just for the North American release. To somewhat minimize the inevitable SubbingVersusDubbing debate, the game's first run shipped with two discs for the PS2 version, one containing the English dub and the other with the original Japanese audio (both otherwise containing the same game). Subsequent shippments, if any, will only contain the English audio disk; but given how large the voice data is that two dubs apparently couldn't be included on one disc, they could have easily left out one or the other entirely. In addition, [[{{Woolseyism}} some names were changed in the dub]], but the original names are preserved in text in the Japanese version, rather than simply sharing the same script. It speaks to NIS America's faith in the American ''[[VideoGame/SakuraWars Sakura Taisen]]'' fanbase that all of this effort is for a five-year-old game that consists mostly of DatingSim segments, a genre that has very little following in the Western market. Shame that Creator/{{Sega}} [[NoExportForYou couldn't be bothered to bring it over themselves]].
* ''Super VideoGame/MeatBoy'' for [=WiiWare=] was canceled. Why was it axed, you ask? Creator/{{Nintendo}} would not increase the service's 40mb file limit and Team Meat--itself a two-man team--is not willing to stoop down to a file-size-induced PortingDisaster[[note]]The {{Steam}} version is around 230mb, for the record.[[/note]] that would have had, in their own WordOfGod, no Dark World (read: ''half'' of the game), no bosses, no leaderboards and a far smaller soundtrack.
* The {{Xbox 360}} version of ''[[VideoGame/DonPachi DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou BLACK Label]]'' ended up being a PortingDisaster. Why? After an investigation at Arika at [[Creator/{{CAVE}} Cave]]'s request, the source code was being held by a management company and 5pb., the company in charge of the 360 port, stole the source code from the [=PS2=] version. Normally, a company would sue 5pb. into next week. What did Arika do instead? After an apology from 5pb.'s [=CEO=], Arika's [=CEO=], Ryo Mizutani, forgave them and Arika Vice President Ichiro Mihara is now ''helping 5pb. make a better port of [=DDP: DOJ=].''
* ''VideoGame/ThunderForce VI'' utilizes two different languages for in-universe text and speech, neither of which are Japanese or English. One of these languages is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangut_language Tangut]], an ancient language somewhat related to Chinese, and the other is Mongolian, an uncommon language to employ as a GratuitousForeignLanguage. And the even better part? The {{omake}} material has translations into Japanese and transliterations into katakana and roman characters for the in-game speech.
** ''Thunder Force Gold Pack 2''[='=]s version of ''Thunder Force IV'' has the Styx from ''Thunder Force III'' available to use through a secret code. When you play as the Styx, look at the font for the HUD: ''it's the same style of Thunder Force III's HUD text.''
* ''VideoGame/GranTurismo 5'' appears to be invoking this trope. It has been in development since some time in 2005, and has apparently had ''every'' developer in the employ of Polyphony Digital working on it at the same time, during some of the development cycle anyway. The reason for that? It has ''one thousand individual cars''. Extreme attention to detail is apparently the prime directive of Polyphony.
** Most of the cars (labeled "standard cars" in-game) were copied from ''Gran Turismo 4'' and the PSP ''Gran Turismo'' game, however, including such iconic cars as the Bugatti Veyron.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series. While most of the developers are doing these games for the money, the enormous and detailed world and back story show that at least someone put a lot more effort in to the games than they had to.
** There are in-game readable books, and they're not just one or two pages long but usually in the 10s. In fact, every book you pick up in that game almost always has a unique story/information in it. All the [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/zephs-tes-treasury in-game-books and notes of Morrowind put together]] amount to 1241 pages!
* Though turning a profit after all, ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' according to [[http://www.joystiq.com/2010/01/12/sources-red-dead-redemption-development-in-trouble/ this]]:
-->''"It will take 4 million sales at full price to recoup the development costs of ''Red Dead''. The good news is they [Rockstar] are not expecting to make money with ''Red Dead Redemption''. At this point, that project is just supposed to prove that the San Diego studio can make a great quality AAA title."''
* One thing that really stands out about ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' is that ''every NPC with a name and a face'' has his or her own music. Every single one. And it's pretty good music, too. Someone must've really been feeling creative.
* ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'' is a VisualNovel done entirely by a worldwide group of amateurs being distributed for free, simply because the developers wanted to turn an idea and characters (a game where all the potential love interests were disabled schoolgirls) from an {{omake}} page from a {{doujinshi}} into reality.
** What's even more staggering is the project was birthed on Website/FourChan, yet the subject matter is handled with much more care, respect and dignity than many a VerySpecialEpisode cares to afford.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear''. Creator/HideoKojima in general not only [[ShownTheirWork shows off his work]] quite a bit (even though some things turn up wrong) but put most of that info into the game. The amount of things found in the CODEC conversations is vast...to say the least.
** DavidHayter gave up half of his paycheck to get all of the other voice actors back for ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'''s remake, ''The Twin Snakes''.
* Like the ''Pokémon'' example in the anime folder, Creator/SonicTeam took a trip to Central America to get inspiration for ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'''s storyline, which ended up having much {{Mayincatec}} influence.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI''. After several mediocre at best attempts to make profitable video games and losing money on all of them, the designers at [[Creator/SquareEnix Square]] decided they only had one more chance to make a game before being bankrupt, and instead of using the last chance to try and come up with something guaranteed to make money, they instead decided make a game they would want to play, leading to the most ironic title in video game history.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', especially in ''Z'', where the artists gave the older shows some truly awesome {{Retraux}} effects simply to show that, yes, they still love the oldies ''that'' much.
* ''VideoGame/BillyVsSNAKEMAN'' is an anime AffectionateParody {{MMORPG}} almost entirely created by one guy (though ''some'' artwork is commissioned from independent artists) whose day job is owning an anime store. The game also has an elaborate backstory (above and beyond what comes with the plots getting parodied), and occasionally parodies some [[Manga/MonochromeFactor utterly obscure]] anime.
* ''VideoGame/AlanWake'' deserves its place here. [[Creator/RemedyEntertainment Remedy]], the developers, went out halfway across the world to sit down and take thousands of pictures of a small pacific town surrounded by forests and mountains just so they could capture the appropriate feel of it. As a result, they created one of the most atmospheric games out there.
* ''VideoGame/MetalBlack'' was a ShootEmUp by Creator/{{Taito}}. Hiroyuki Maruyama, the president of G.rev, started the company and did subcontracting work for Creator/{{Treasure}} and Taito to generate revenue just to make a SpiritualSuccessor called ''VideoGame/BorderDown''. Why? He just really liked ''Metal Black''.
* If the notes in the ''[[AllThereIntheManual Mega Man Original Complete Works]]'' art book are any indication, it's obvious that Creator/KeijiInafune cared a ''lot'' about the ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' series. After all, it might not have gone beyond the first game without the dedication of people like him.
* ''[[VideoGame/HaloReach Halo: Reach]]'' wasn't planned from the beginning like the rest of the trilogy was. That, and Forge World speak for themselves.
* They could have made ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'' little more than a cheap MissionPackSequel for the [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy original]] and watched the cash roll in. But has that ''ever'' been good enough for Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto?
** Creator/KojiKondo had to force MahitoYokota to scrap ''all 28'' musical pieces the latter had composed for the first game because Kondo didn't think they fit. Once they got the soundtrack's direction sorted out, though, Yokota soldiered on once again, and his extra efforts yielded what is generally considered one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time.
* Some of the fan-made mods for ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization IV]]'' are hugely detailed with thousands of hours of work going into them. For free. Particular shout out goes to ''Rise of Mankind'', which some have called the real ''Civilization V'', and ''[[VideoGame/FallFromHeaven Fall from Heaven]]'', a dark fantasy mod that takes the basic gameplay elements and changes ''everything else''. Again, they did this all for free and don't even take donations.
* ''VideoGame/RadiataStories'' has over one hundred and fifty recruitable [=NPC=]s, each of which have their own unique back story. The game keeps a twenty-four hour clock mechanic, and every character has a schedule they keep to. Characters will spar, go shopping, visit the doctor's, go to the bathroom, get plastered at pubs, you name it. Every character has a unique schedule suited to their personality. One fun thing to notice is what time characters go to bed and rise: one dedicated monk checks in at 8 p.m. and wakes at 5 a.m.; another drinks his nights away until 2:30 and doesn't get up until noon.
* ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' really deserves a mention here. Not only because of little touches like the continuity references sprinkled throughout the game for the fans to enjoy but because of the dedicated team members who are as integral to each game's development as much as many of the characters are. Ed Boon, John Vogel and Steve Beran are just a few of the developers at [[Creator/MidwayGames Midway]]--now Creator/NetherrealmStudios--who give so much for their game series. It has to be said that, in spite of whatever mixed reactions people may have had to the MK games over the years, it takes a lot to do things like add ''six-hundred and seventy-six'' unlockable extras in ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombatDeadlyAlliance Deadly Alliance]]'', including a lot that are only there to make the player smile.
* Spiderweb Software seems to be aiming for this, but getting tripped up by its perpetual financial difficulties. ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'' is a very unusual series best described as a westernized ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'', and it's never really sold all that well, but the people who like it like it a lot. ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}''......well, it's a popular series, but apart from its setting BeneathTheEarth it's [[FollowTheLeader pretty obviously]] an ''Franchise/{{Ultima}}'' clone minus the moral philosophy that made ''Ultima'' so different from other {{Role Playing Game}}s. Even the chief developer seems to have qualms about having made a series where, in his words, you "look around for people who look different from you, break into their homes, kill them, take their stuff, sell it, and use the money to buy better weapons to kill a higher class of people who look different from you." Between 2005 and 2009 it alternated between releasing ''Avernum'' and ''Geneforge'' sequels, the latter of which became increasingly dark and, to a certain extent, artistic, and the former of which [[{{Sequelitis}} soured on the fans a bit]], but still sold far better than ''Geneforge''. (As of this writing, both series have been discontinued in favor of a new IP, ''VideoGame/{{Avadon}}'', so it'll be interesting to see whether Spiderweb has finally managed to strike a balance between what the creators want to make and what the masses want to purchase.)
* The background lore of ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' is rich enough to put {{Role Playing Game}}s to shame. Just check out [[http://www.kerberos-productions.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=9 the official forums]], where writer Arinn "Erinys" Dembo addresses lots and lots of fan queries. Most developers would be content with short backstories, never mind actually building on the existing lore in response to fans.
* As Warren Spector explained in this [[http://www.jnoodle.com/careertech/files/postMortems/DeusEx.pdf post-release]] article, the original ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' was a game he was trying to get off the ground for six years, and was stymied time and time again by publishers who didn't want a "cross-genre" game and a concept that couldn't easily be defined (the game combined elements of an RPG, simulation, FPS and an adventure). With the formation of Ion Storm's Austin branch, Spector finally had the chance to realize his vision, and the end result? [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Well, the game actively accounts for players trying foolish or, in some cases, counter-intuitive plot choices (ex. going against your employers earlier in the game nets different dialog and more plot information)]]; a massive amount of backstory written by the production team, even for areas the '''player never visits''', was written (some of which was utilized in the sequel, ''[[VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar Invisible War]]''); a 500-page design document drafted months before game production even started, and a unified production team that focused on their work in the face of the bad press spiraling out of the ''VideoGame/{{Daikatana}}'' debacle.
* Localization example: in 2010, Creator/XSEEDGames formed a partnership with Creator/{{Falcom}} to localize some of the latter's games on the PlayStationPortable. Three of them are from ''[[VideoGame/LegendOfHeroesTrailsInTheSky Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky]]'' trilogy, which is known for having thousands of lines of text...''per game''. (Although no specific publishers were confirmed, that alone was apparently enough to have other publishers refuse to translate it.) Although the trilogy is popular in Japan, XSEED has to deal with a market in which gamers are either aren't familiar with the series or associate ''The Legend of Heroes'' name with Bandai's (later Creator/NamcoBandai) BlindIdiotTranslation[=s=] of the previous three installments. Needless to say, it takes balls for a game localizer, and a fairly new one at that, to localize that many games under such circumstances.
* In 1997, Creator/LookingGlassStudios began work on ''VideoGame/SystemShock 2'', the sequel to the 1994 game (which sold decently, but wasn't much of a moneymaker). The team hired for the project only had a year to complete their project, working with an unfinished graphics engine (the Dark Engine, which would be used in the ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series of games). They had to endure staff walkouts, which arguably made the remaining team members become closer as a result. The game also codified many elements of the action genre in one game--branching character paths, an open-ended gameplay experience, a constantly-changing environment, RPG elements and a extreme infusion of horror--something unheard of at the time. The game ended up being regarded as one of the scariest video games ever made, resulted in critical accolades and awards that continue to this day, received a SpiritualSuccessor in the form of ''Franchise/{{Bioshock}}'' and ''Franchise/DeadSpace'', and the creators still release materials related to the game (Ken Levine released design sketches and concept art, while composer Eric Brosius released the entire soundtrack to a fansite) more than a decade later.
** Even after the game was released for Steam in 2013, the guys at Irrational thought it was about time to add support to Mac and Linux, as well as updating the game to contain extra content free of charge. The content in question was the game's soundtrack, concept art and original pitch, plus some additional documents.
* Everything done by ''[[Creator/CyberConnect2 CyberConnect2]]''. The Franchise/DotHack franchise is known for creating a fascinating world in its fictional MMO known as, well, The World. The ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' games they make do their very best to capture the essence of the franchise in its action, art direction, overall style, and makes them legitimately good licensed games.
** Then there's ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' by the same people, of which the creative process was a painstakingly long one and a half years of world building and story creation, and that was before the game itself was developed to tech demo level. Plus there's the enriched, [[ShownTheirWork well-researched]] Asian mythology aspects of the game, mixed with ScienceFiction and SpaceOpera, to craft a unique and interesting world, with similarly beautifully-designed characters and monsters. And the sheer scope of the game. All of this, combined with the above examples from [=CyberConnect2=]'s other games, created just because the CEO of [=CyberConnect2=] genuinely loves what he does: making games.
** One must also count VideoGame/JoJosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle. It is clear that it was made by the people that love the series. Nearly every animation references something from the manga, as do the movesets and the stages,and there is such a truly ''astounding'' attention to the mythos of the series that it gets it's own pages for [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything/JoJosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle The Dev Team thinks of everything]], as well as [[MythologyGag/JoJosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle mythology gags ]]. The creators said that their main goal was to make a game that provides the best possible {{Fanservice}} for the fans of the series, and ''then'' make it a good game. Judging from the 40/40 from Famitsu and the 500,000 copies from pre-orders ''alone'' as well as rave reviews, they succeeded on both accounts.
** ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' spent ten years in DevelopmentHell and was only [[SavedFromDevelopmentHell saved]] due to [=CyberConnect2=] repeatedly approaching Creator/NamcoBandai with their idea for a SpiritualSequel to ''VideoGame/TailConcerto'', a little game that didn't sell so well.
* After all development for ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' was officially completed, including the patches and DownloadableContent, project director and lead designer Joshua Sawyer released a mod for the PC version that rebalanced the game and all of its expansions in many respects, making it more challenging overall. Changes included making the necessity meters in Hardcore Mode fill up faster, making healing items rarer and giving them weight, decreasing the rate at which the PlayerCharacter gains experience, and altering how much weight could be carried.
** In a tangentially related instance, during the development of the original ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}, many members of the QA team worked weekends for free as the game entered crunch, forgoing the extra pay that would come with working offhours and overtime.
* ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'':
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VkDXBsIXso The choice of hi-res 2D hand-drawn animations over 3D models was only done because they wanted to]], even though it required a much bigger budget from two different publishers, and a gigantic team of animators, colorists, shaders, clean-up artists, line artists, etc. They had to reach several professional artists and animators to achieve this to full effect. The final result is absolutely [[SugarWiki/AwesomeArt gorgeous]].
** Even after getting laid off, the dev team created a crowdfunding drive, managing to raise enough funds for ''five'' DLC characters, all offered for free for three months after their release. And despite the game's infamous TroubledProduction, development for the game still progresses, with patches released frequently and developers communicating with fans. The game has been regularly called a "labor of love", and it shows.
* The ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil1'' remake has a nice touch that has probably not been seen in the ten years since: Wesker's boots are detailed to the point where it's shown that the top holes are not laced through. Each character also wears a unique watch, and at the time of the game being made you could actually buy the watches.
** It's astounding how much modeling work went into ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''. One cutscene has Luis hand a bottle of pills to Leon and each one of the pills rolls around realistically; One cutscene has Salazar walk down a flight of stairs perfectly modeled; the game has highly detailed textures and environments for the Gamecube among other things, all because ShinjiMikami wanted to prove that the Gamecube could handle it all.
* Creator/{{Nintendo}} wanted Creator/{{Rare}} to cancel ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'' after numerous delays. The choice was made not to inform the development team and allow them to continue working. The game's acclaimed multiplayer was also implemented within a month in secret: the team highly suspected that if they'd told management about it, they'd be forced to cut it from the game to get it out the door faster.
* After a year of tweaking and a virtually total overhaul of game mechanics, Creator/ArcenGames decided they simply couldn't make the core components of ''VideoGame/AValleyWithoutWind'' fit their vision. Their solution? Start working on the sequel. Oh, and so their paying customers don't get cheated out of what Arcen wanted to give them in the first place, everyone who owns a copy of AVWW with be given the sequel ''for free'', and just so that new players won't be deprived of an entire first attempt that many current players like nonetheless, the first game will come free with the sequel. A blog post on the matter pretty much said it isn't the customer's fault they strayed during the first development process, so they shouldn't be punished for it.
* Creator/SumoDigital, the creators of (well, most of) the ''VideoGame/SegaSuperstars'' crossover games. ''Tennis'' was meant to be a Sonic-only game, but Sumo managed to convince Creator/{{Sega}} to use various Sega franchises because they believed the variety would make for a more interesting game. And as their philosophy to recreating some games which haven't been seen [[StillbornFranchise in a long time]] is "what you remember most about them", this results in a TON of fanservice and attention to detail. It helps they're essentially [[PromotedFanboy Promoted fanboys]] of Sega. While they admit they do keep turning a profit in mind, they mainly consider what franchises can bring to the table to create a fun and memorable game.
** And both fans and Sega have been impressed by their passion; it was reported that when the team showed their recreation track of ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' in ''Transformed'' to the game's original producer, [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming she came close to tears]] due to how faithful and nostalgic the result was. They've even admitted if this convinces Sega to revive some of their games, they won't be complaining.
* The creator of ''VideoGame/LANoire'' was certainly convinced that it was his MagnumOpus. The work put into the game definitely shows, and the developers looked through thousands of photos of 1940's L.A. in order for it to be accurate. The open-world gameplay, from the L.A. landmarks to vehicles, was probably intended to show off their work. Most of said landmarks aren't even an integral part of the core storyline, but are re-created in loving detail. One example is how one player found his great grandfather's restaurant, a local landmark, accurately recreated in game. The developing team also utilized cutting-edge technology in order to recreate realistic facial expressions so as to enhance gameplay. Most inaccuracies found in game are actually done for RuleOfCool.
* When Toys For Bob were creating ''VideoGame/StarControl 2'', their bosses originally wanted to shove the game out the door still woefully incomplete to meet budget guidelines. The developers instead spent 6 months of unpaid work using their own resources to ensure the game would be properly complete.
* ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'' was essentially born out of Sanzaru's want to make a new Sly game. They even went behind Sony's back and developed a demo of the game without their permission, putting their jobs on the line, only with a hope that Sony would greenlight the project. Luckily, they did.
* KnightsOfTheOldRepublic and its sequel both dwell at length upon the major themes of StarWars to a level that fans did not expect, with seemingly insignificant lines having major impact not only on the storyline, but upon the extended universe as a whole. This, despite TheProblemWithLicensedGames being already legendary -- the creators could have phoned it in and still made a profit, but instead created legendary games.
* At a time when computer RolePlayingGames meant DungeonCrawling, the already-established {{Ultima}} series changed focus to dwell upon the nature of heroism being more about helping people than beating up goblins. The creators also insisted upon revamping the engine completely between each major installment, and making the world as interactive as possible.
* SWERY, creator of ''DeadlyPremonition,'' probably deserves an award for putting so much work into what most developers would consider a simple budget title. Like Remedy, Sweary and co. flew to Washington to gather research for the world of Greenvale. The game is filled with a lot of detail too, mostly with the citizens' schedules. For example, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-41YUSZ9VAg the sinner's sandwich scene]] is completely optional. When you beat the game once, you get to view a gallery filled with pictures they took while in Washington. Since food plays a big role in the game, one entire sub-gallery is nothing but FoodPorn.
* ''{{Opoona}}'' was conceived of by its creators of being a relaxing, fun RPG that anyone could enjoy. To that end, not only did they devise a unique one-handed control scheme with attacks performed purely through control stick combos--so the player could play while doing other things--they also decided to ''completely eschew'' the high fantasy style favored by most [=RPG=]s, to the point of designing abstract monsters based on ''parts and machinery'' rather than animals or mythical creatures. The level of detail that went into the game's world and history is also astounding: There are museums filled with ''real artworks'' designed by the game's staff, the dances and choreography performed in-game were mo-capped from real professional dancers, and the music was all performed live. The game itself is set within a fictional society where one's station in life is based off how much "work" one does, and explores both the pros and cons of the situation. The game is often compared to ''Videogame/EarthBound'' for the sheer detail that went into every aspect of it.
* ''BeyondGoodAndEvil'' was in development for nearly six years, because creator Michel Ancel wanted to get every aspect of it ''completely right.'' The game features an astoundingly detailed world, from a sky filled with fake constellations (which your camera will name for you) to the fact that the protagonist already has established relationships with most of the casual [=NPC=]s in the game, and even though they're just there for a few throwaway lines of dialogue, she chats them up like old friends. The game's music was also a notorious labor of love, with the composer recruiting his friends and family members to record vocals and sound effects for the game's eclectic tracks. Eight years after its initial release, when the game was released in HD, Jade's voice actress even reprized her role ''just for a new trailer,'' as if to prove it was the real deal.