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Breakthrough Hit / Video Games

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Video games and series that made their respective companies household names.

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The Big Three


    Sony Interactive Entertainment (Sony Computer Entertainment) 

    Xbox Game Studios (Microsoft Studios) 


    Third-party developers with multiple (or region-specific) breakthroughs 
  • Atlus first gained recognition within their home country of Japan with the original Persona. However, they had largely been ignored in the West for its first twenty years, with its flagship Shin Megami Tensei games often either getting the export shaftnote  or becoming Cult Classics at best. Then they brought Persona 3 to the West and it really put Atlus on the map, with Persona 4 and subsequent Persona spinoffs practically printing money for Atlus's foreign branches. Persona 5 became not just Atlus's best-selling title to date, but bringing it a level of mainstream recognition that not even 4 received.
  • Bandai Namco:
    • Pac-Man was this for Namco in the arcade era. While Galaxian was an early hit for them, it was a fairly standard Space Invaders clone, whereas Pac-Man stood out more and gave Namco their mascot.
    • Soulcalibur for Namco's team later known as Project Soul. While its predecessor Soul Edge was a modest success, it was Soulcalibur that launched the franchise in the stratosphere, and why it took the Soulcalibur name from then on.
    • Tales of Symphonia for Namco's Tales Studio, the first in the series to become a major hit outside Japan.
    • if Tales of Symphonia gave the series its cult following in the west, then Tales of Arise helped push the series into the Mainstream.
  • Idea Factory:
    • Its RPG division (Compile Heart) had released numerous RPGs in the mid- to late-2000s, but Hyperdimension Neptunia, despite being a critical flop, was the first series to really catch on with audiences, and Neptune and friends have become the face of the company ever since.
    • On the visual novel (Otomate) side, there's Hakuouki, which was ported to multiple platforms and spawned an Animated Adaptation that ran for three seasons, an OVA, and two films.
  • Koei Tecmo Games:
  • Sega had a couple of different breakthroughs in different regions:
    • Hang-On, the first of their Super Scaler arcade games, was a mammoth success that cemented Sega as a forced to be reckoned with in the coin-op realm.
    • Alex Kidd In Miracle World became a breakout hit in Europe, Australia and Brazil, where the Master System might even have outsold the NES.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog made Sega popular in the US and was the title that was most often packaged with the Sega Genesis.
    • In its native Japan, it was Virtua Fighter, as it essentially launched the "3D arena fighter" genre, and its Sega Saturn port helped sell consoles there.
  • For the two halves of Square Enix:
    • Final Fantasy for Square. After their previous games selling poorly, Final Fantasy not only sold well but kickstarted one of the longest-running series in video games.
      • Final Fantasy VII was even more of a breakthrough, since that game took the Final Fantasy franchise from popular-but-cult to international JRPG phenomenon (it was the first installment released in Europe, as the series had been virtually unknown in that territory up until that point). FFVII was also the breakthrough of character designer Tetsuya Nomura.
    • Dragon Quest I for Enix.
  • Take-Two Interactive:
    • Grand Theft Auto III for T2's Rockstar Games branch, less than two months ahead of Max Payne. They've had many modest hits prior to GTA 3 including its direct predecessor, Earthworm Jim 64, and the cult classic Midnight Club, but none of them have made a fraction of 3's cultural impact and making the company industry titans.
    • BioShock for the 2K Games branch as a developer. Prior to that, they were more known for publishing other developer's games, notably The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This was their first self-developed hit.

    Other publishers and developers 

    Individual creators/producers