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Sony buys Returnal developer Housemarque in new acquisition

In a move that is only a surprise for the fact that it took this long to happen, Sony has bought the Finnish makers of Stardust and Resogun.

It looks like Sony was happy with the success of Returnal after all, as they’ve announced they’ve bought developer Housemarque, who will now become a first party studio.

This seems a sensible move for all concerned, especially as the majority of Housemarque’s games for the last few generations have been PlayStation exclusives.

The announcement was made on the PlayStation Blog (and, strangely, pre-empted by a reader in today’s Inbox) but there was no specific talk about what the developer might be working on next, even if a sequel to Returnal does now seem inevitable.

Housemarque are a much older company than you might imagine, with a history that dates back to the Amiga demo scene, from which the original version of Stardust emerged.

After finding success with Super Stardust on the PlayStation 3, and then PlayStation 4 launch title Resogun, Housemarque become renowned as one of the best old school arcade developers in the world.

That reputation was cemented by working with coin-op legend Eugene Jarvis on the superb Nex Machina but the game was not a hit and for a moment it seemed as if the studio might collapse, after their attempt to change gears with multiplayer game Stormdivers ended in failure.

They bounced back with Returnal though, which we currently rate as the best game of 2021, and while there was some concern it didn’t seem to have sold as well as other PlayStation 5 exclusives Sony are clearly happy with it.

‘Housemarque has flexed its creative palette on a wide range of PlayStation games over the years that have continually showcased the power of our hardware,’ said PlayStation boss Jim Ryan. ‘The addition of Housemarque to PlayStation Studios reiterates our commitment to elevating the best development teams in the industry and delivering new experiences that can only be found on the PlayStation platform.’

‘We are so excited to finally join the PlayStation Studios family! This gives our studio a clear future and a stable opportunity to continue delivering on gameplay centric approaches, while still experimenting with new methods of narrative delivery and pushing the boundaries of this modern artform’, said Housemarque co-founder Ilari Kuittinen.

‘With the backing of SIE and its family of studios supporting us, we can truly grow into our place in the industry and show what Housemarque can create with no limitations. We can’t wait to show everyone what will be in store in the upcoming years, and we hope to usher in more lasting memories and exhilarating titles for the next quarter century and beyond.’

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