To celebrate Canada Day and the video game talent in the industry, here is a list of some of the latest and greatest games made in Canada.
Oh Canada! Canada Day is a great day to recognize how much Canada has contributed to the world, specifically the video games industry. While we may not have super big companies like Nintendo or Activision Blizzard, we do tend to lean on our major companies like Ubisoft and BioWare to represent us. But we also have a lot of great indie games that have stormed the world in recent years. To celebrate Canada Day and our wonderful video game developers, here is an awesomely curated list of games made in Canada to check out if you have not already (eh!).
Kicking things off with Ubisoft Montréal’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the other Assassin’s Creed games, almost every gamer knows about these games. This game series has definitely put Canada on the map in the video game industry. While it may not be the most family-friendly game with the assassinations, it has been a great historical one that taught me a lot of facts and Italian when I played a lot of Assassin’s Creed II with Ezio Auditore.
If Assassin’s Creed has been the tried and true staple for Canadian video games, Cuphead would be the modern game changer. With its nostalgic backdrop and style, this classic run-and-gun game took the gaming world by storm. Fun fact: the studio behind the game, Studio MDHR, is run by two brothers, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. Both brothers are local to the Oakville, Ontario, area. A perfect game to pick up and play on the Nintendo Switch this Canada Day!
Age of Empires IV and Relic Entertainment really thrived in the strategy RTS space. Their attention to detail and working with their fan bases caused them to excel in the genre, setting themselves apart from the rest. The Vancouver-based team has really established their footing in strategy games; check out the Company of Heroes games as well!
The team at Eidos-Montréal in Montréal worked very hard on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, with many noting its attention to narrative and story-telling. This iteration of Star Lord is also played by Canadian local Jon McLaren! If you have enjoyed the Guardians of the Galaxy films, then you may find some enjoyment in this game, as it goes more in-depth with the Guardians.
The Mass Effect games have pretty much solidified Canada in the RPG shooter genre because not many games thrived in the space in the early 2000s besides Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Deus Ex games. The first Mass Effect came out the same year as the first Assassin’s Creed, so Canada came out swinging that year and really hit the mark for a great future.
From a small Montréal-based team, Boyfriend Dungeon caught a lot of attention with its twist on the hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. It is like a dating sim but where the love interest is the player’s weapon. Not only does it represent Canada for Canada Day-sake, but it also represents the wonderful queer community in the Montréal area and beyond.
Another Montréal-based company, Behaviour Interactive really nailed the online 4v1 survival horror Dead by Daylight. In a sense, they were pioneers in perfecting their style because the genre only began expanding afterwards with games like Friday the 13th and Evolve trying a similar concept. The killers and survivors being from well-known IPs have also really grown the fan base.
Maddy Makes Games (now known as Extremely OK Games) created a gem with this one, also representing the queer community. Vancouver-local Maddy Thorson headed this challenging yet tranquil platformer. It gained great critical reception for its simple approach to the genre that nailed its smooth movements. A lot of platformers are made with a certain level of difficulty, but this one really leaned on more of a good time versus a tough one with its Assist mode. If you are chilling this long weekend for Canada Day, then this might be a good one to grab on the Switch.
If you want to kill some nasty alien monsters and have a chance of skipping a heartbeat from jump scares, this is the perfect game for you. Montréal’s Motive Studio remade a solid space horror classic and also brought it to PC. Another prime example of Canada’s great work in carving a specialty in its own genre and pushing game mechanics.
Hailing from the Six/Toronto, Ubisoft Toronto has been a branch in charge of the Far Cry series—some of the wildest adventures and action. The game series has been around since 2004, and the fan base has loved it ever since. It has been lauded as a great anthology series despite its fairly formulaic recipe of taking on a protagonist thrown into a lawless environment and typically having to join up with freedom fighters to liberate the land. However, every game has been evolving from the last.
Soccer is arguably one of the most-watched sports worldwide. And thus, a lot of people play the FIFA games. EA Vancouver has been in charge of the soccer game franchise for a while, always looking for new angles to revamp its classic games. It has been known for doing a lot of collaborations as well, like the most recent addition of the Ted Lasso character, along with the show’s soccer team. Grab some controllers for the whole family this Canada Day for a couple football matches.
Another genre-bending video game that has received positive feedback is Daniel Mullins’ Inscryption. The Vancouver resident was able to single-handedly create a horror deck-building game that surprisingly works. It has been regarded as an amazing mashup of spookiness and escape room elements, with mysteries that keep unfolding like an onion.
In a wonderful partnership with Mojang Studios, Vancouver’s Blackbird Interactive developed this evolution to the Minecraft world. Minecraft Legends is set in the Minecraft world but blends tower-defence and multiplayer base defending—campaign mode included. It added a more strategic level to the original game format. It was also visually stunning!
The Outlast games have been one of the most streamed horror games on Twitch, and played by YouTubers. Its smart jump scares and style of utilizing first-person with a video camera have become a staple for the series. Red Barrels is another company from Montréal that showed off Canada’s horror chops with this game series, The Outlast Trials hopes to grow audiences even more with this multiplayer version.
While Riot Games has League of Legends and Valorant and Activation Blizzard has Overwatch and Hearthstone for its competitive scene, Ubisoft has Rainbow Six Siege. Overwatch does have some Canadian influence on the dev side of things, but Rainbow Six Siege has Canada’s hands all over it. The game and its sponsors created a major competitive scene for this unique FPS that boldly placed emphasis on multiplayer-only gameplay that focuses on the ‘search-and-destroy’ game mode of a lot of other FPS games.
Star Wars and Canada Day have some ties together, like gathering around the TV to binge Star Wars films and/shows. When DICE began reinventing the classic Star Wars Battlefront games, Motive Studio was also onboard to help develop this new era of Star Wars games. While these games have had more mixed reactions compared to Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi game series, it has still had its own share of fun.
Another shoutout to Toronto with Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs game series. It has paved the path for the open-world hacking narrative; the boundaries of hacking were pushed, and the reputation of hackers was really emphasized in these games. While there has been a lot of mixed reception of these games, one could say it paved the way for some of the hacking in future games like Cyberpunk 2077. Woo, Canada!
While Minecraft had its dangerous worlds of Creepers, Ender Dragons and Zombies, Don’t Starve had its own appeal of randomly generated worlds to explore. Through time, multiplayer modes were made, especially with Don’t Starve Together. Vancouver’s Klei Entertainment really had its own take on the open-world survival genre with its own distinct art style to boot.
Hinterland Games’ The Long Dark truly represented the point where art imitates life…or something along those lines of that quote. A first-person survival game that is set in the Canadian wilderness (most likely in British Columbia since the creators are based there) with some harsh conditions after crash-landing through a storm. Canadian-born voice actors Jennifer Hale (BioShock Infinite) and Mark Meer (Mass Effect) were also featured in this game.
Halifax’s Isometricorp Games really pushed the boundaries of what an indie game is capable of achieving. It is something along the lines of Celeste but closer to the Souls games in which the game rarely helps explain anything to the player, despite looking pretty. The main fox character even looks like Link from the Zelda games. It truly set the bar for making a visually stunning, mechanically satisfying and budget-friendly game. While Tunic may not be as loudly recognized as Ubisoft or BioWare games representing Canada, it certainly gained a lot of attention with its countless nomination and awards.
All of these games are currently available to play now this Canada Day weekend, and I hope you all find some enjoyment in some of these. I also wish you all the best Canada Day this weekend.