So what’s next for the Finnish studio? Well, they have a new IP in the works, for one thing. In an interview with VGC, Eevi Korhonen, senior narrative designer at Housemarque, discussed life after Returnal:
“Returnal was so ambitious, we dreamt super big, but we still had to leave so much on the cutting room floor. All of these ideas and narrative systems. I’m super excited to pick up those pieces and see how those fit our new IP story.
“We didn’t quite have the handle on how big [Returnal] was going to be, building for a new platform on a new engine with a new team, all of those things require some learning. Now we have that team that has gone through the fire and learned how to build a game like Returnal. So now we get to start off stronger.”
Korhonen discussed the many lessons learned during the development process, and what it was like creating a game with a larger focus on narrative than anything the studio had done before:
“I think we’ve learned the importance of pacing and how difficult that is in a rogue-like game,” Korhonen said. “It’s very hard to control and say ‘okay, now we hit them with this perfect story beat’, that’s kind of the beauty of linear games, you get to control that absolutely perfectly.
“Letting go of that and somehow building the sandbox or the playground for players in a way that means certain story blocks become available is challenging.”
“You’ve got to just like tempt them with this foreshadowing, and teasing them like ‘hey, soon you’re going to get this story block are you excited?’ and hope that they grab on to it before the next thing needs to happen,” Korhonen explained.
When asked if Selene’s story was over, Korhonen said the following:
“(laughing) I can’t comment on that too much. But I think the boys did slip sometime earlier this year that we are working on an original IP. Of course, if we return to Selene’s story after that, remains to be seen.”
Are you excited to see a new IP from Housemarque, or would you rather see a sequel to Returnal? Break free from the loop in the comments section below.