Developer commentary tells us a little bit more about the games we love.

A lot of movies have an audio commentary track as a bonus. Commentary tracks on movies have been around since the days of LaserDisc. They can be funny, entertaining, and full of useful information. Most of the time, they’re the best part of all the extras.

But video games haven’t been able to use the tool as well. You can’t just do a Let’s Play with the people who made the game. You have to make it feel like a natural part of the experience. Developer commentary isn’t used very often in games, and it should be used more often, but some games do it well.

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour

The 20th Anniversary World Tour edition of Duke Nukem 3D came out 20 years after the game first came out. It had a new official fifth episode made by Allen Blum and Richard “Levelord” Gray, who were the main map designers for the original game. It also had comments from the developers in all five episodes. The commentary really takes you back to a simpler time in gaming.

A lot of it talks about tricks in the Build engine and how hard it was to make certain things happen. They even say that many people who work in game design today might think it’s easy to do these things, but it wasn’t easy in 1996 with the tools that were available. In It’s Impossible, Randy Pitchford isn’t even at his own level, which is also interesting. This makes Blum and Gray more important in that map.

Monkey Island 2: Special Edition

Just one year after The Secret of Money Island got a special edition, the second game also got one. The controls were changed a bit in the console versions, and unlike the first game, the developers talked about the game. It has work by Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine.

It’s interesting for what it is, and it’s even more interesting now that Ron and Dave have made Return to Monkey Island. They talk about how they liked to mess with the player, such as in the beginning of the game. You have a lot of money in your inventory, but it is all taken away at once. People would try to avoid Largo by reloading a save point, but it didn’t work.

Alan Wake

After they were done with the Max Payne games, Remedy’s first project was Alan Wake. The game is a treat for horror fans because it was based on Twin Peaks and several Stephen King books. This game is unique because it has two separate tracks of developer commentary. The first one came out at the same time as the main game and can be played on the bonus disc that comes with the Collector’s Edition.

The second one came out at the same time as the 2021 remaster. Considering how much time has passed, both are interesting to look at. Sam Lake’s remastered commentary goes into detail about the story and how Alan Wake connects to Control. Both tracks make the game fun to play again and again.


Valve is one of the few game companies that always adds comments from the developers. It was first seen in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, but the short length of Portal makes it the best game for a beginner. The commentary is full of talk about different design choices and fixes that were found through play testing. Play-testers found out a lot of things that needed to be changed.

A lot of technical information about how the game worked with the source engine is also in the commentary. This probably won’t be interesting to the average player, but it’s still a nice addition. Since Portal is short, you can listen to this in a short amount of time, and it gives you another reason to play this classic puzzle game.

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx was one of the most well-reviewed games of 2020. It called the “first VR killer app.” Even though most Valve games have developer commentary, you might not have known this one did. Because Valve didn’t include comments from developers at launch. Eight months later, in November 2020, it was added to the list.

The commentary is pretty interesting since this is Valve’s first game in a while. A surprising amount of it is about the story and a lot of it is about how VR was used. The Half-Life 2 episode developer commentaries didn’t have much to say about the story, but that’s not the case with Alyx. Since Alyx is the first Half-Life game in a long time, it makes sense that the story would be more important.

Hitman 3

Hitman 3, the last game in the World of Assassination trilogy, comes with commentary from the developers as part of its Deluxe edition. This game has one of the shortest commentaries for a video game. The developer commentary only shows up at the beginning of the mission. Since this feature only used in five missions, it won’t be around for long. What included, though, is pretty important.

A lot of it talks about how important the story is to the mission and how it affects Agent 47. They also talk about how they wanted the different places to feel. The main benefit of the Deluxe edition is the exclusive escalations and cute outfits, but these commentaries are a nice extra.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Even if you’ve seen a lot of developer commentaries, you probably didn’t know this game had one. The third game in the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, one of the best cyberpunk games ever made. Two years after the base game came out, a Director’s Cut came out with a lot of extra features, such as developer commentary.

Slope Game is a lot of fun and full of interesting and funny stories. So it’s also pretty meaty, as it lasts for more than eight hours. It’s important to note that the Director’s Cut can be bought on PC, but the Xbox 360 version can only be played on an Xbox Series X with a physical disc. The base game is only available in the Xbox Series X|S online store.

BioShock Remastered

When it came out in 2016, the BioShock Collection had remastered versions of the whole BioShock Trilogy. The developer commentary only in BioShock 1 Remastered. Most other books don’t use commentary like this one does. You don’t turn it on when you reach a certain part of the game. Instead, you collect golden film reels. These let you watch a commentary video right away or from the main menu.

It seems strange to do it this way, but it works well to spice up the game when you play it again. The videos do a great job of explaining how this game was made, including its gameplay, story, and setting. It’s too bad that Infinite didn’t have a commentary, but at least the first game, which might be the most important and well-known, did.