Returnal, one of the best dang games of the year where you play as Celine Die-on, represents a turning point for developer Housemarque. Up until the release of this grand game, the studio had largely been focused on creating smaller and pure arcade experiences, but Returnal takes that insert coin DNA that made previous games such as Nex Machina and Resogun so memorable, and expanded on it with a bigger serving of AAA sauce.
Housemarque has had a taste of thinking bigger. And it wants more.
“We’ve been working on two projects previously, and now with Returnal we have of course only one project,” marketing director Mikael Haveri said to Game Reactor. “It’s hard to say if we will continue with one or two projects in the future, but the idea of us now being able to establish ourselves with Returnal will be defining the future type of titles we want to make.”
The idea is that we now want to show we’re not just a ‘Resogun-studio.’ We can do all kinds of things, and from our studio’s perspective that means that we want to go for these bigger types of experiences. Now, 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.
Housemarque was at one time working on a battle royale, but the less said the better about that game which was fortunately left on the cutting room floor. Returnal has helped Housemarque’s stock rise higher than ever thanks to its challengingly addictive loop of action and death, although the studio is still trying to figure out how to address the game’s criticised lack of save options. Which is kind of a non-issue, when you realise that Returnal is best played in an energetic spurt of two or three biomes at a time, not all six.
Anyway, the game is good stuff, looks superb, and sits alongside Astro’s Playroom as a showcase for the Dualsense controller’s fanciest features.
Last Updated: May 24, 2021