Returnal is Housemarque’s craziest idea yet, and it’s been in the works for quite some time.
Shooter specialist Housemarque is entering new territory with its upcoming third-person (and PS5 exclusive) roguelike Returnal, and the studio has not only been working on the game for several years, but has been looking forward to making something like that even longer. . As we covered Returnal in our Big in 2021 in-depth analysis, we recently spoke with Narrative Director Gregory Louden and Game Director Harry Krueger about Housemarque’s goals with Returnal. Louden explained that, despite its relatively recent announcement, Returnal has been in active development and testing for years; However, even after all this time, he and the rest of the Housemarque staff are still amazed by their own creation. “It still amazes me after years of interpreting how it unfolds with each cycle and the surprises we’ve created,” says Louden. “Returnal’s dark sci-fi time cycle setup is very exciting narratively for us because the premise of Selene, our deep space explorer who repeats the accident, allows us to add many narratively hidden layers that are discovered through repetition. . The design means that the further you go, the more you discover Selene. What does the cycle do to someone? What is the history of the planet? Why do things appear here that are beyond Selene’s understanding? For me, great stories are loops and are about review and progress for characters. Our premise allows us to explore this from the beginning. “
Touching on Returnal’s origins, Krueger added: “We have always been drawn to dark themes of sci-fi and horror at Housemarque, and it seems we’ve always been waiting for an opportunity like this to let those sensibilities shine through.” Overall, the two describe Returnal as a cosmic horror work that was explicitly designed to be replayed over and over again, and Louden emphasizes that its layered narrative ensures that it is “definitely not your usual sci-fi game.”