Canada is known for maple syrup, hockey, peameal bacon, and incredible, untouched landscapes that span coast to coast. Dig deeper beyond the surface, however, and you’ll find that the country is also ripe with video game developers and a gaming culture that rivals the US. Big-name video game companies have subsidiaries and teams in the Great White North, including Ubisoft in Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto and Warner Bros. Games in Montreal. Meanwhile, Next Level Games, also based in Canada, is responsible for creating three installments of Luigi’s Mansion.

Although it’s not common knowledge, Canadians excel at crafting widely popular video games that captivate the gaming community. Here are five best-selling Canadian-made video games you might not even know are Canadian!

Cuphead

Cuphead and Mugman’s character designs took the world by storm – and so did the concept and gameplay of Cuphead, the flagship game of independent company StudioMDHR. Brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer infused their passion for vintage cartoons and retro arcade games into just about every aspect of the game – from the visuals to the audio. 

The game follows brothers Cuphead and Mugman on a journey filled with exciting levels and satisfying boss fights. While the premise is that they make a deal with the Devil to recover casino losses by reclaiming the souls of fleeing debtors (something players don’t need to worry about on casinos.com), there isn’t a strict storyline. Gamers enjoy “run and gun” style action gameplay complemented by hand-drawn cel animation and watercolor backgrounds. Cuphead ended up being a success, selling a whopping two million copies just two weeks after its release and winning multiple high-level awards.

Mass Effect 2

While Mass Effect 2 was published by EA (the parent company of BioWare), it was entirely developed by Edmonton-based video game developer BioWare. They’re responsible for several incredibly renowned franchises, including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur’s Gate. Although the first Mass Effect installment was also created by BioWare, Mass Effect 2 sold two million copies in its first week, while Mass Effect made one million in sales in just under three weeks.

Mass Effect is a military science-fiction game series set in the Milky Way galaxy in a faraway future. Playing as Commander Shepard, the player will undergo quests and combat missions with the aim of protecting civilization. In the sequel, you go on a suicide mission to protect humanity against an insect-like alien race. What’s most interesting about Mass Effect 2 is its incredible developments from the first game, adding optional missions that had as much weight as the main story. If players have completed the original Mass Effect, the story will be impacted in various ways.

Dead by Daylight

When Dead by Daylight (DbD) came out, everyone and their mother was playing it. It quickly became a top 20 all-time streaming game because of its multiplayer mode and riveting gameplay. DbD was produced by Behaviour Interactive Inc., a Montreal-based company founded back in 1992. 

The gameplay revolves around one player who adopts the role of a Killer and four other players as Survivors. While the Killer must naturally hunt and kill each Survivor, the Survivors have to essentially survive and fix generators to activate the exit gates. There are all sorts of extra mechanisms that add to the gameplay, including special abilities, unlockable chests, and other Killer-specific or Survivor-specific perks. There is currently a film being developed based on the Dead by Daylight game, with horror film legend Blumhouse Productions as one of the three co-producers.

Watch Dogs

The Watch Dogs series boasts over 20 million sales between the first two games alone, with the second installment receiving slightly better reviews than its counterpart but the first being nominated for more awards. 

Watch Dogs is an exciting action-adventure title that follows vigilante and hacker Aiden Pearce, who is seeking revenge after his niece’s murder. The game boasts an open-world design set in a fictional version of Chicago and allows the player or players (in multiplayer mode) to navigate the city using a vehicle or by foot. There are missions, hacking elements, an entire combat system, and a detailed storyline that will keep you hooked. Although it was nominated for multiple awards, Watch Dogs won just one at the 32nd Golden Joystick Awards for Studio of the Year.

Celeste

Not many games can say they have a 10/10 rating on Steam, let alone an indie game. Celeste was developed and published by Maddy Makes Games, an indie studio run by Alberta native Maddy Thorson. The beautiful 2D platform game combines simple jump, climb, and run functions with a touching story about depression and anxiety. Players control Madeline, who lives with depression and anxiety and whose mission is to climb Celeste Mountain. She encounters plenty of different NPCs in a variety of settings that act as protagonists and antagonists that add life to the story. Celeste mixes pixel art visuals and other vibrant art styles in cutscenes to create a full, heartwarming, and visually appealing game that captured the hearts of video game reviewers and gamers alike. 

The game has been nominated for a long list of awards and has won nine, including Games for Impact and Best Independent Game at The Game Awards 2018 and Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game at the 22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.

Old School Gamer Old School Gamer (1139 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Old School Gamer Magazine. Press releases and other general information sent to Old School Gamer are often posted here.