Housemarque says it turned down ‘big players’ to join PlayStation
“The fact that we were being competed for feels a little surreal”
Returnal developer Housemarque has claimed that it turned down offers from “big players” in the games industry to join PlayStation Studios.
This week the Finnish studio indicated that it would continue to build upon the experience it gained creating its recent PS5 exclusive, after confirming it had been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
However, speaking in a new interview with Finnish publication Yle, CEO Ilari Kuittinen claimed that Sony wasn’t the only buyout offer it received for the company.
Asked who had made an approach to Housemarque, the exec said: “Usual suspects: big players in the sector from China, Sweden and the US. I have to say that we have had a very special spring and the fact that we were being competed for even feels a little surreal.”
He added: “It was clear from our discussions that Sony wanted to buy us because we were doing something that other people weren’t doing. Their starting point has not been that we would start making games according to a formula defined by Sony.”
Third-person sci-fi shooter Returnal released for PS5 in April and is the Finnish studio’s largest and most ambitious project to date, following several decades focused on 2D arcade-style shooters such as Super Stardust HD and Resogun.
Speaking in a separate interview with GQ this week, Kuittinen suggested that joining Sony would allow Housemarque to continue to make bigger game experiences like Returnal.
“Well, at least initially, I think we’re looking into what we’ve done now and building upon it,” he said, when asked if it would return to the 2D arcade games it built its reputation on.
“Certainly Returnal is kind of a stepping stone for us,” he added. “When we’re thinking about the future titles, they’ll maybe be even bigger and even more ambitious.”
PlayStation Studios boss Herman Hulst said in a statement this week: “I have been a fan of Housemarque since the studio’s early days when they introduced Super Stardust HD to PlayStation fans.
“Housemarque’s recent release of Returnal proves the studio is one with incredible vision, capable of creating memorable new games that resonate with our community. This addition enhances the creative force of PlayStation Studios, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Housemarque.”
In VGC’s Returnal review, critic Chris Scullion said the game’s “constant action and clever semi-procedural structure make it an engaging adventure, not to mention a visually stunning one.