Despite making games since the early 90s, Housemarque wasn't exactly a name many knew before the studio started focusing on smaller, arcade-inspired console games after Super Stardust HD launched in 2007. This "golden era" lasted for around a decade before the studio said those kinds of games weren't profitable enough. This leads us to the launch of Returnal, what you might call the studio's first AAA game in more than twenty years, last month. While we haven't heard anything significant about the game's commercial reception yet, Housemarque sure sounds confident about its new approach.
At least the studio's marketing director, Mikael Haveri, makes it seem that way. He was kind enough to let me interview him earlier this month, and had this to say about what Housemarque's future might be:
"Yes, we've been working on two projects previously, and now with Returnal we have of course only one project. 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."
What do you think after playing or seeing more of Returnal? Should Housemarque continue making big AAA games with higher production values or give smaller projects one last chance?