It’s been close to a year since the launch of Housemarque’s sci-fi roguelike shooter Returnal, and looking back, it’s become abundantly apparent as time has passed that the PS5 exclusive is easily the best game the studio has ever made, which has been reflected in its commercial performance as well. Given how good Returnal was, and given the fact that Housemarque is now a first party PlayStation studio, there’s no shortage of people with questions of what it’s going to move on to next.
As it turns out, that next project is going to be a new IP. Speaking in an interview with VentureBeat, when asked about whether, given Sony’s renewed focus on live service games, Housemarque, too, is going to try its hand at something similar, the studio’s managing director Ilari Kuittinen suggested that old-school arcade shooters is probably what the developer is going to continue to focus on.
“We’re one of the very last dinosaurs making arcade games,” Kuittinen said. “Nex Machina, a few years ago, was very much a shoot-’em-up game in the style of the coin-ops from the ‘80s. That’s sort of a clue. But it’s interesting. We’ve been thinking about that.”
Kuittinen then briefly spoke about how Housemarque’s attempt at making a multiplayer shooter with the cancelled Stormdivers wasn’t exactly a successful one, before adding that the studio is in the early stages of developing and “concepting” a new IP.
“We had our stint working on multiplayer games, because a few years back it seemed like you needed to have some kind of multiplayer experience,” he said. “We tried that, and we really didn’t do it as well. But it’s early days with us starting a new game, a new IP, concepting it out. We’ll see what comes with that.”
Returnal’s game director Harry Krueger also chimed in, saying that different kinds of gaming experiences, including live service titles, can co-exist, but that Housemarque’s trajectory is going to continue down the path that Returnal carved out.
“We’re really trying to hold on to that identity,” Krueger said. “It’s wonderful right now that gaming has grown and evolved so much that there’s so much variety and diversity of game experiences. They can all peacefully coexist. There can be live service games, multiplayer games, games with many different sensibilities. Returnal is just another voice. At this stage we’re quite proud of what we accomplished with Returnal, and we’re quite excited to pursue that same trajectory as a company.”
While it’s probably going to be a while before we hear much about what Housemarque’s got cooking up next, the studio has previously given some indication of what we can expect of it in the future. Shortly after Returnal’s launch, marketing director Mikael Haveri said that Housemarque wants to its next game to be even bigger– a sentiment that was echoed by Kuittinen not long afterward.