We've known for a while that Housemarque is working on its next game, and now we've learned that it features "story ideas and systems" cut from Returnal.
After its release last year, Returnal marked one of Sony's first PS5 exclusives, the roguelike that follows protagonist Selene trying to escape from a hostile alien planet. We've seen some substantial updates since then, including an endless mode, Tower of Sisyphus, and recently learned that Housemarque is working on their next project, which is confirmed to be a new IP and not Returnal 2.
We don't have a lot of details on that right now, but thanks to a recent interview, Housemarque Senior Narrative Designer Eevi Korhonen gave us some interesting details. Speaking with VGC (opens in a new tab), he advised:
“Coming back was very ambitious. We were dreaming big, but we still had to leave a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor. All these ideas and story systems. I am very excited to collect these pieces and see how they fit together. in our new intellectual property story.
(Photo credit: Sony)
However, Korhonen does not stop there. Detailing Returnal's development challenges, he confirms that Housemarque is now in a stronger position for this new game:
"We didn't have much control over how big [Returnal] was going to be, building a new platform on a new engine with a new team, all of those things take some learning. Now we have this team that went through the fire and learned how to make a game like Returnal. So now we can start stronger.”
Cutting room floors can be a treasure
It is a well-known fact that not all planned features make it into a video game during development. These additional features and concepts are often removed to limit the scope, as moving features can cause significant delays during development. However, that doesn't mean they're gone forever once they're cut - many sequels or follow-ups often incorporate these ideas.
In March, Housemarque CEO Ilari Kuittinen confirmed that this new IP was still in the design stage. At the time, it seemed like the title would take the studio back to its more classic arcade roots, of which Returnal was a major departure. As such, we're curious to see how these ideas ultimately fit together.