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.
And Housemarque’s managing director has indicated that the studio will continue to build upon the experience it gained creating Returnal, now that it’s been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“Well, at least initially, I think we’re looking into what we’ve done now and building upon it,” Ilari Kuittinen told GQ, 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.”
Asked if Sony would allow Housemarque to create bigger things, the studio co-founder said that was “the right conclusion”.
“I think Sony is the partner that’s best positioned to help develop even further. Let’s face it, these are some of the best game developers in the world. So we’re really proud to be part of that group and hope to collaborate and learn from them.”
In the immediate term, Housemarque’s employees are taking a break, Kuittinen said. Speaking to Famitsu in a separate interview, the MD said he would like to grow and strengthen the 80-person team.
“We are aiming to become a more robust organisation, filling in the missing pieces and adding new talent to the team to ensure solid growth. We don’t want to grow too big too fast,” he said.
Speaking in another interview last month, Housemarque’s marketing director Mikael Haveri said that although the studio has aspirations to continue creating big, blockbuster games, it won’t entirely rule out one day returning to smaller titles too.
“We still love arcade. We still love smaller games as well. Who knows? Maybe 26 years in the future we’ll do more of that as well. But that really depends on how successful we are able to build ourselves with the types of experiences that Returnal now is representing.”
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.