#1 – Squaresoft, 62%
“Massacre” is the most apt word to describe how handily Square won this contest. Taking a whopping 62% of the vote – a figure that is all the more astonishing when you see the percentages of the remaining winners – it is clear which game company provided PS1 owners with the best experiences on the system. Beyond the three core Final Fantasy installments, there were not only a number of other memorable RPGs (Parasite Eve, Chrono Cross, Xenogears et al) but Square also ventured out into other genres in that era: fighting games (Tobal, Ehrgeiz, Bushido Blade), action/RPGs (Threads of Fate, Vagrant Story, Brave Fencer Musashi), strategy RPGs (Final Fantasy Tactics), shooters (Einhander, iS: internal section), rouglikes (Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon), even survival horror (Parasite Eve 2) and racing (Chocobo Racing). Honestly, it’s easy to make a case that Square’s PS1 output is the overall best third-party library any single company has had on any one system ever – yes, even next to their SNES games (and I personally would support that assertion).
#2 – Konami, 14%
Metal Gear Solid. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Suikoden 1 & 2. Silent Hill. Need I say more? Like Squaresoft, Konami was at the top of its game on the PS1, creating what are still considered to be among the best video games of all time, including some that are often looked at as the favorites in franchises full of amazing games (MGS, Castlevania). Even some serious missteps in some of their other beloved franchises, like the awful pair of Contra games, weren’t enough to diminish gamers’ feelings about Konami’s PS1 library. That was also the console that Dance Dance Revolution first came home to, which might not seem like a big deal now but in the mid to late 90’s was a pretty significant thing. And beyond the big blockbuster titles, Konami put out some cult favorites for the PS1, like the two Vandal Hearts games and Japan-only favorites like Poy Poy, Policenauts, and Sexy Parodius, which given how the PS1 was one of the first systems to have a huge import scene it is legitimately worth noting the import games available for the platform.
#3 – Capcom, 10%
Even though it was never a platform-exclusive series, Resident Evil was definitely one of the defining franchises on the PlayStation and its hard to imagine one without the other. Capcom’s other two most iconic properties – Mega Man and Street Fighter – both also had strong showings on the PS1 as well. Not only was the PS1 home to its own core installments in both the classic Mega Man and Mega Man X series, but it was also the platform that brought us Mega Man Legends 1 & 2 and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, which are among the most valuable games for the system to this day (and not just for their rarity but also their quality). Street Fighter has appeared on basically every game platform that has ever existed, but it had a very strong presence on the PS1, with one of the series’ defining games – SF Alpha 3 – having an excellent PS1 port. Add two installments of Breath of Fire, great non-SF fighters like Rival Schools, the long-awaited Strider 2, Dino Crisis and its excellent sequel, and more, and you can see that Capcom showed the PS1 plenty of love.
And the rest…
Four other companies put up a weak battle for fourth place, splitting the remaining 10% of the non-other votes pretty evenly: Namco, Activision, Psygnosis, and EA. Of those, I am most surprised to see Namco finish so poorly. It gave the PS1 what was arguably its most important launch game – Ridge Racer – and then proceeded to have an incredible lineup on the system, including sequels to Ridge Racer up to the amazing R4, Tekken 1-3, Time Crisis, Point Blank, Klonoa, Air/Ace Combat 1-3, the first great retro compilations by way of Namco Museum…honestly, I felt that were right there with Konami for second place, rather than fighting for scraps with lesser companies (for the time) like Activision and EA.
The other votes, as it often goes, are people who didn’t quite get what the poll was asking for, writing in developer names like Naughty Dog and SingleTrac. I know my introductions can be wordy, but read them, people!