Housemarque’s senior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen recently talked about the studio’s future plans and upcoming games in an interview with VGC. During the interview, she talked about how experiencing the development of Returnal will help in creating its next IP.
Korhonen said that despite Returnal being a massively ambitious title, some ideas and narrative systems were canned for a variety of reasons. She also said that the team will most likely use these ideas for its new IP.
“Returnal was so ambitious,” she said. “We dreamt super big, but we still had to leave so much on the cutting room floor. All of these ideas and narrative systems. I’m super excited to pick up those pieces and see how they fit our new IP story.”
She also talked about how the developers grew as a team while trying to build Returnal on a new engine for a new platform. Now that the team has learned so much about the current-gen hardware, they can essentially start on a stronger foot.
“We didn’t quite have the handle on how big [Returnal] was going to be, building for a new platform on a new engine with a new team, all of those things require some learning,” she said. “Now we have that team that has gone through the fire and learned how to build a game like Returnal. So now we get to start off stronger.”
Korhonen also briefly touched upon the problems she encountered as a narrative designer while trying to inculcate story elements and manage pacing in a roguelike with sandbox elements.
“I think we’ve learned the importance of pacing and how difficult that is in a rogue-like game. It’s very hard to control and say ‘okay, now we hit them with this perfect story beat’, that’s kind of the beauty of linear games, you get to control that absolutely perfectly.”
“Letting go of that and somehow building the sandbox or the playground for players in a way that means certain story blocks become available is challenging. You’ve got to just like tempt them with this foreshadowing, and teasing them like ‘hey, soon you’re going to get this story block are you excited?’ and hope that they grab on to it before the next thing needs to happen,” she added.
Suffice to say, Returnal has proved to be a big hit for Housemarque– although it’s going to be some time before we get to see what’s next in store for this newly-acquired Finnish studio.
A recent rumour has suggested that Returnal could be coming to PC- read more on that through here.