We’ve known for some time that Housemarque has been working on their next game, and now we’ve discovered that it features “ideas and storytelling systems” cut from Returnal.
After its release last year, Returnal marked one of Sony’s first PS5 exclusives, with the roguelike following protagonist Selene trying to escape a hostile alien planet. We’ve seen substantial updates since then, including an infinite mode, Tower of Sisyphus, and we recently found out that Housemarque is working on their next project, which has been confirmed as a new IP and won’t be Returnal 2.
We don’t have a lot of details on this currently, but thanks to a recent interview, Housemarque’s Senior Narrative Designer Eevi Korhonen gave us some interesting details. Talking to VGC (opens in new tab)she advised:
“The return was so ambitious. We dreamed big, but we still had a lot to leave on the cutting room floor. All these ideas and storytelling systems. I’m super excited to pick up these pieces and see how they fit into our new IP story.” .”
Korhonen doesn’t stop there, however. Detailing Returnal’s development challenges, she confirms that Housemarque is now in a stronger position for this new game:
“We had no control over how big [Returnal] was going to be, building a new platform on a new engine with a new team, all these things require some learning. Now we have that team that went through the fire and learned how to build a game like Returnal. So now we can start stronger.”
The cutting room floor can be a treasure
It is a well-known fact that not all planned features make it to a video game during development. These extra features and concepts are often removed to reign in scope, as feature fluency can cause significant delays during development. However, that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever after being cut – many sequels or sequels often embody these ideas.
In March, Housemarque Managing Director Ilari Kuittinen confirmed that this new IP is still in the conceptual phase. At the time, it looked like the title would see the studio return to its more classic arcade roots, of which Returnal was a major departure. As such, we are curious to see how these ideas fit together.