Returnal devs are working on a new game - but its not Returnal 2

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(Image credit: Sony)

Developer Housemarque has confirmed its working on a new game - but it's not a sequel to the studio's critically acclaimed Returnal

Speaking with journalists at the recent DICE Awards (via VentureBeat), Housemarque's Managing Director Ilari Kuittinen hinted at Housemarque's next game, which will be a brand new IP rather than a sequel to Returnal. The game is still in the concept stage, according to Kuittinen, but sounds like it will see Housemarque returning to a more classic arcade game experience.

"We’re one of the very last dinosaurs making arcade games," Kuittinen said in response to a question about whether the studio has considered moving into the live service space - something the managing director didn't entirely rule out. 

"Nex Machina, a few years ago, was very much a shoot-’em-up game in the style of the coin-ops from the ‘80s. That’s sort of a clue. But it’s interesting. We’ve been thinking about that. We had our stint working on multiplayer games, because a few years back it seemed like you needed to have some kind of multiplayer experience. We tried that, and we really didn’t do it as well. But it’s early days with us starting a new game, a new IP, concepting it out. We’ll see what comes with that."

2017's Nex Machina seems a world away from the polished PS5 exclusive Returnal, but both games boast Housemarque's own unique bullet hell experience and clear arcade elements. Returnal, though, utilized the PS5's technical capabilities to become a truly mesmerizing (but challenging) next-gen experience - something the studio didn't previously have at their disposal.  

But this leap in technology also presented a challenge for the studio, in both retaining its identity and meeting expectations.

"We have maybe built a name for ourselves over the last 12-13 years for making these arcade-inspired games – Resogun, Nex Machina, Super Stardust HD and so on," Returnal's Game Director Harry Krueger told journalists. "Each of those had an incremental step up in terms of refinement and technological progress, but with Returnal, the step was so high it almost felt like a wall we needed to climb over.

"It was interesting for us, because when you’re given so many new possibilities, it’s important to remember who you are. It was valuable for us to always remember that we have these timeless gameplay values we’ve explored in our previous games. The unapologetic video game, arcade heritage."



(Image credit: Sony)

It sounds like we'll see Housemarque returning to its classic arcade roots with its next game, but that likely means that, if Returnal 2 is on the cards, we won't get our hands on it for a while yet.

Though whether we will ever see a sequel to Returnal remains to be seen. Housemarque hasn't confirmed plans for a new Returnal game, but the studio has hinted that the game could get DLC in the future. Perhaps DLC is all that's on the cards right now.

Returnal's ending (no spoilers) left us with more questions than answers, so the game seems primed for another installation. It could be those questions are answered with DLC, a new game or left unanswered to haunt us - let's hope the latter is not the case.

Either way, we're excited to see what Housemarque has in the works, especially with the power of Sony behind it. Even if another Returnal isn't on the way, we have high hopes for the studio.

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Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.