Technology

Sony Buys Returnal Developer Housemarque

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Sony has acquired Finnish developer Housemarque, after years of collaboration between the two companies. Housemarque most recently released the PS5 exclusive Returnal.

The news was announced on the PlayStation Blog, with PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst saying “Housemarque’s recent release of Returnal proves the studio is one with incredible vision, capable of creating memorable new games that resonate with our community. This addition enhances the creative force of PlayStation Studios, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Housemarque.” The studio has been purchased for an undisclosed fee.

In a detailed interview with British GQ, Housemarque co-founder and managing director, Ilari Kuittinen, said: “I think Sony is the partner that’s best positioned to help develop even further. Let’s face it, these are some of the best game developers in the world. So we’re really proud to be part of that group and hope to collaborate and learn from them.”

Hulst added to the conversation, saying” “We’ll be able to take the limitations away and to get Ilari, Harri Tikkanen [creative director] and all the core team to focus exclusively on making amazing games. I think this is going to help them grow even further and it will be great for the quality and ambitions.”

“I think we’ve always been pushing technology,” said Kuittinen while discussing what possibilities the acquisition will open up. “We can do that from now on, even more than we did before since we can concentrate on a platform. So that’s a big, big part of it. You know, we have our own VFX engine in the game that we’re using and, hopefully, we’ll be creating something more on top of that.”

“And obviously, they’ll be invited to forums such as a studio head forum, where we share a lot of initiatives, ideas and technology,” added Hulst. “It’s hard for him to comment coming in from the outside on what he’s going to benefit from, but I can tell you from experience it’s going to be quite a lot. It’s entirely voluntary. He gets to run his team, gets to maintain the culture and we’ll obviously protect that. But we’re going to be able to offer a lot to Housemarque going forward.”

Housemarque was founded in 1996, but found particular success after the release of Super Stardust HD on PS3 in 2007, which began a long relationship with Sony. The Helsinki studio has since released Dead Nation, Resogun, Alienation, Nex Machina, Matterfall, and Returnal as console exclusives for PlayStation.

After releasing Returnal, Housemarque CEO Ilari Kuittinen thanked Sony for letting it work on something “very risky”. “In the age when game publishers are taking less and less creative risks,” he wrote, “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.” Hopefully, this move allows Housemarque to keep taking more risks.

We awarded Returnal an 8/10 review, saying its “third-person shooter action, clever story, and atmosphere are excellent.”


Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.

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