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Game Dev CEO of HOUSEMARQUE: we are truly thankful to our publishing partner Sony, who has given us an opportunity to work on something very risky.

Bo_Hazem

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Thanks to DonJorginho DonJorginho for pointing this out:

In the age when game publishers are taking less and less creative risks, we are truly thankful to our publishing partner Sony, who has given us an opportunity to work on something very risky and has given fantastic support during the whole project. We are forever grateful for having this opportunity.

Shipping games is hard, shipping games that are bigger, more ambitious than the company has ever delivered before featuring things that we’ve never done in our previous games, like translating Housemarque arcade gameplay from 2D to 3rd person action and adding substantial storytelling elements, is even harder. We also added quite a few new wonderful people in the team growing up to 75 game developers internally at the same time and tried to figure out how to produce a game of this scope. We also have been working with great external partners helping us out to create the best possible game and delivering the game on a new platform, which has some ground-breaking features to consider. Then adding a total new challenge in a form of COVID-19 pandemic forcing us mostly to work remotely, we can start talking about some additional challenges to game development, which is never easy in the first place!


The whole article:

HOUSEMARQUE'S NEXT AWESOME ARCADE ACTION GAME RELEASES TOMORROW!​



TLDR​

  • Returnal is finally soon out after over 4 years in the development, almost six years after the initial concept was born.
  • We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Despite these challenging times the team has been able to ship a unique and intriguing game.
  • Kudos and huge thanks to the Housemarque team, external studios helping us out and our publishing partner Sony, who took a chance on us and gave us an opportunity to create something new and unique.

Returnal is going to be out tomorrow and we are so proud and happy to finally release the game to the world. The wait is soon over, and our work has now been completed and it’s now time for us to wait for you fans, reviewers and influencers to tell your opinion of the game. Before you have your hands on the game, I want to share a few thoughts with you and reveal some things that might not be so obvious to everyone following the games industry.

We have just wrapped up development and are taking a deep breath here at Housemarque. Even though we announced that Returnal went gold a few weeks back, our team has not stopped working on the game to further balance and polish. This might probably be hard to believe if you aren’t the insider in the game development scene and haven’t been part of shipping a game yourself. There is always something you think you could improve, add, or polish. I think it is not even possible to develop a “perfect” game with everyone in the team thinking that we have now accomplished everything we ever dreamed of, when finally setting the game free out to the world. And therefore, we’ve worked on the first day patch trying to make the game even a little bit better up until the last moment.

When we started our pre-production of the game almost exactly four years ago in March 2017, we never would have imagined how big a production we eventually would be making. Looking back, it’s almost incomprehensive to think that we were working on four (!) different projects and we only had 50 people in-house at the time! We were finalizing two different projects, Nex Machina and Matterfall, prototyping and experimenting with a multiplayer project we later named Stormdivers and were starting a small pre-production of a totally new game.

At the time it was very hard to see which, if any, of the projects would be moving us forward in the years to come. Our multiplayer PvP prototype seemed at the time as a necessary experiment as the industry seemed to have moved on from single-player games towards multiplayer games. We were thinking that if we don’t have anything to show on that front, we might be out of the business very soon as we wouldn’t be able to sell any projects to publishers anymore.

We were hoping that our self-published Nex Machina would allow us to have at least a bit of financial freedom to enable us to continue developing great arcade, fast paced shoot-em-up experiences. During the years preceding the release of the game, publishers had been less and less keen on talking about funding arcade inspired games and we wanted to prove that there’s still life in the genre. After all, we were working with our hero and one of the most legendary arcade game developers of all time Eugene Jarvis best known for games like Defender, Robotron 2084 and Cruis’n USA. We’d also noticed that companies developing shmups like Japanese masters of the genre Cave and Treasure hadn’t been releasing anything new in years, so we certainly had seen the writing on the wall.

Although we managed to release one of the best reviewed new game of 2017 according to metacritic, we were certainly left disappointed with the sales leading me to declare #arcadeisdead and ending our long standing commitment to the arcade genre. Giving up on the genre didn’t mean that we’d be giving up on our deep commitment to fast-twitch action gameplay. Instead, we wanted to take on the challenge to figure out how we could translate our arcade 2D gameplay expertise into a 3rd person action game. On the other hand, it was still very uncertain, if we’d be able to move past the prototype phase and convince Sony to keep on funding a new, unproved concept. The concept was ridiculously ambitious and looking back we as a company really weren’t totally appreciating the challenge ahead of us and how hard it could be to tackle it.

In the age when game publishers are taking less and less creative risks, we are truly thankful to our publishing partner Sony, who has given us an opportunity to work on something very risky and has given fantastic support during the whole project. We are forever grateful for having this opportunity.

Shipping games is hard, shipping games that are bigger, more ambitious than the company has ever delivered before featuring things that we’ve never done in our previous games, like translating Housemarque arcade gameplay from 2D to 3rd person action and adding substantial storytelling elements, is even harder. We also added quite a few new wonderful people in the team growing up to 75 game developers internally at the same time and tried to figure out how to produce a game of this scope. We also have been working with great external partners helping us out to create the best possible game and delivering the game on a new platform, which has some ground-breaking features to consider. Then adding a total new challenge in a form of COVID-19 pandemic forcing us mostly to work remotely, we can start talking about some additional challenges to game development, which is never easy in the first place!


Finally, huge thanks to our team, which has overcome many challenges during the development of the game and many key team members have pushed themselves beyond any expectations to bring a unique game to the markets for our fans to enjoy. Getting a game out does not happen every day and it’s always a big moment and worth celebrating. Game development is really like magic as things are created out of thin air, starting from a small idea and eventually those ideas start to cluster together to form a game concept. Very few concepts come to fruition. In our case, the first pitch deck of the game was put together in August 2015 and now many years later we are witnessing the release of the most ambitious and daring game of our history. This is truly miraculous!

We’ll be partying, online unfortunately, on the release date and the whole team at Housemarque is super proud of what we accomplished. Thanks for supporting and being with us for all these years. There are great things ahead, but let’s first start with the release of Returnal! We hope many of you enjoy your adventures on Atropos starting 30th of April, 2021!



Cheers!

Ilari
 
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megreotsugua

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I think "risky" is a bit exageratted, tho the game looks promising.

I think Housemarque is astroturfing (or just wanna get the obvious out there) considering the recent fanboy narrative that Sony will not take risks anymore.

But if I were Housemarque, I would really be thankful to Sony. They've been a great partner for them for years.
 
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truth411

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Awesome. Very Proud of HouseMarque, they always make fun polished games. Returnal looks like there best game yet, I hope they are rewarded with millions of copies in game sales (Fingers crossed for atleast 10 million copies life time sales). Doing my part Pre-Ordered for Day One.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Awesome. Very Proud of HouseMarque, they always make fun polished games. Returnal looks like there best game yet, I hope they are rewarded with millions of copies game sales (Fingers crossed for atleast 10 million copies life time sales). Doing my part Pre-Ordered for Day One.

I regret not preordering the deluxe edition, although I give 2 fucks about the additions of that version but just to give them more support.
 

SSfox

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I think the roguelike element as a AAA game is VERY risky. Roguelike fans are usually a minority and very hardcore, this is literally exposing the genre to a wider audience with a big budget.
Yeah if we talk about the genre, but for the setting it's still kind of "alien space shooting" thing. Which is something already heavily incorporated internationally in people's mind specially in western and American culture.

Not taking anyway from the game of course, it's still much more fresh than many other/most shooters right there.
 
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Looking forward to reviews and the inevitable Digital Foundry video. I won't be picking it up just yet because I'm still making my way through a couple of other games at the moment.

Jumping from 2D to 3D is quite a big undertaking for such a small studio. And yes, Sony took a pretty big risk providing funding for a pretty niche game (rougelike). I hope Housemarque knocks it out of the park with this one.
 

Bo_Hazem

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Inb4 "its too expensive, pass" and "ugh, what's wrong with her face? Pass" comments leaking into this thread.

On topic:

I'm happy for them. They deserve a shot at joining the big leagues, and I'm glad they have been given just that.

I think what they've done as a shooter can fit in an even bigger MP game. I would happily give them a shot in a new MP shooter project. Shooting looks so satisfying.
 

geary

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Risky for sure:

“A new IP, elevated priced compared to last gen, a developer without a history in AAA, and next-gen only.”
Same as Outriders and The Medium....almost every project which is not mold to the recurrent mechanics in the genre is risky...
 
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I think "risky" is a bit exageratted, tho the game looks promising.
It's perhaps doesn't look risky now because the games finished, has appealing concept and by most accounts is really good.

However I think the process of making the game would have been really risky. We only see the finished product we don't know about all the difficulties and challenges the developers faced along the way.

Like others have mentioned this was a small team focused on smaller 2d games scaling up for a full fledged big budget 3d game. This was no doubt a new experience for the devs and alot of things could have gone wrong. It's pretty amazing that's it turned out really good.
 

Bo_Hazem

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It's perhaps doesn't look risky now because the games finished, has appealing concept and by most accounts is really good.

However I think the process of making the game would have been really risky. We only see the finished product we don't know about all the difficulties and challenges the developers faced along the way.

Like others have mentioned this was a small team focused on smaller 2d games scaling up for a full fledged big budget 3d game. This was no doubt a new experience for the devs and alot of things could have gone wrong. It's pretty amazing that's it turned out really good.

I can see this being their trial, if it succeeds we can expect Sony to acquire them. They can really be Sony's MP shooter studio as the shooting in Returnal looks perfect.
 
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Another thing I disagree with in these topics in general is the assumption that being creative and innovative is always more risky than sticking with what you know.

I don't think this true at all e.g. I think if guerilla and suckerpunch released sequels to killzone and infamous would have been more risky than what they ended up doing.

What if in this timeline both games underperformed would we being seeing guerilla and suckerpunch restructuring instead of expanding?

We saw this with days gone and the order 1866 both games criticised for not innovating and now we're not seeing sequels. No doubt it can go the other way like with Death Stranding but its difficult to know how a game will be received until its released
 
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abel empire

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Thanks to DonJorginho DonJorginho for pointing this out:

In the age when game publishers are taking less and less creative risks, we are truly thankful to our publishing partner Sony, who has given us an opportunity to work on something very risky and has given fantastic support during the whole project. We are forever grateful for having this opportunity.

Shipping games is hard, shipping games that are bigger, more ambitious than the company has ever delivered before featuring things that we’ve never done in our previous games, like translating Housemarque arcade gameplay from 2D to 3rd person action and adding substantial storytelling elements, is even harder. We also added quite a few new wonderful people in the team growing up to 75 game developers internally at the same time and tried to figure out how to produce a game of this scope. We also have been working with great external partners helping us out to create the best possible game and delivering the game on a new platform, which has some ground-breaking features to consider. Then adding a total new challenge in a form of COVID-19 pandemic forcing us mostly to work remotely, we can start talking about some additional challenges to game development, which is never easy in the first place!


The whole article:

HOUSEMARQUE'S NEXT AWESOME ARCADE ACTION GAME RELEASES TOMORROW!​


Reminds me of vanquish and bayonetta
 
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Ellery

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Sony definitely felt the PR pressure from Jason Schreiers article lol. Jim Ryan, Hermen Hulst and now Returnal dude are doing some funky interviews.
Not that I mind it much, but it is indeed funny.

Returnal reviews today. I hope it can get a good a really good score (like higher than 75) and the game looks fresh and would be a welcome addition to console exclusives we currently lack so much (from all 3 main players !).
 

Bo_Hazem

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Sony definitely felt the PR pressure from Jason Schreiers article lol. Jim Ryan, Hermen Hulst and now Returnal dude are doing some funky interviews.
Not that I mind it much, but it is indeed funny.

Returnal reviews today. I hope it can get a good a really good score (like higher than 75) and the game looks fresh and would be a welcome addition to console exclusives we currently lack so much (from all 3 main players !).

Yeah at least they've spoken, or overspoken, lol. Also the first 2 reviews are 9.3/10 so far!

bb...buu...but JAPAN STUDIO HOW !? :(

I think people feel emotional to the "Japan" part of the name. It's in good hands and only got reconstructed.
 

quest

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Bubububut Jason Schreier said Sony doesn't like risks!!!! He has insider sources damnit!! :messenger_grinning_smiling:
Are they Sony first party? That is what people are talking not funding tiny games. Do we need to go over the first party release list coming upcoming yet again? Remasters and sequel city that people gave other companies shit for doing the same thing.
 
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muteZX

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Not familiar with both games but I think you mean it might be as popular.

He thought so generic .. avatar shooting things .. If we continue to adore simple games with PS2 gameplay, this will be the only thing we will continue to get.