We've known for some time that Housemarque's working on its next game, and we've now learned it features cut "ideas and narrative systems" from Returnal.
Following its launch last year, Returnal marked one of Sony's earliest PS5 exclusives, with the roguelike following protagonist Selene trying to escape a hostile alien planet. We've seen substantial updates since then, including an endless mode, Tower of Sisyphus, and we recently learned Housemarque is working on its next project, which it's confirmed is a new IP and won't be Returnal 2.
We don't have many details on that currently but thanks to a recent interview, Housemarque's senior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen has given us some interesting details. Speaking with VGC, she advised:
"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."
Korhonen doesn't stop there, however. Detailing Returnal's development challenges, she confirms Housemarque is now in a stronger position for this new game:
“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”.
Cutting room floors can be a treasure trove
It's a well-known fact that not every planned feature makes it into a video game during development. These extra features and concepts are often removed to reign in scope since feature creep can cause significant delays during development. However, that doesn't mean they're gone forever once they've been cut – many sequels or follow-ups often incorporate these ideas.
Back in March, Housemarque Managing Director Ilari Kuittinen confirmed this new IP is still in the conceptual stage. At the time, it sounded like the title would see the studio return to its more classic arcade roots, which Returnal was a major shift from. As such, we're curious to see how these ideas ultimately mesh together.