PlayStation and Housemarque: Sony buys one studio and leaks a second

Returnal developer Housemarque is now first-party, and a second studio is probably to follow...

Housemarque Welcome to the family

by William Lobley |

Sony has bought Housemarque, the developer of the PS5-exclusive Returnal. The Finnish team, whose previous work includes the acclaimed action titles Resogun and Nex Machina, are now part of PlayStation Studios.

In a post on PlayStation Blog, Herman Hulst (Head of PlayStation Studios) has this to say about the acquisition: “Housemarque’s recent release of Returnal proves the studio is one with incredible vision, capable of creating memorable new games that resonate with our community. This addition enhances the creative force of PlayStation Studios, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Housemarque.”

Returnal
©Housemarque

Hulst is correct in his assertion around Returnal - it's one of the best sci-fi games in recent years. There is currently no news as to Housemarque’s next project.

Housemarque now sits as a part of PlayStation Studios, alongside the likes of Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last Of Us), Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man) and Sucker Punch Productions (Infamous, Ghost Of Tsushima).

Thanks to a potential slip-up from PlayStation Japan on Twitter, we may also be hearing of another Sony acquisition in the coming days or weeks. Rather than posting “Welcome To The Family” with a banner featuring the Housemarque logo, they tweeted the logo of Bluepoint, the developer of the acclaimed remake and PS5 launch title, Demon’s Souls.

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This appears to be more than just a case of mixing up logos. The image posted also featured characters from other first-party Sony studios, including Kratos (God of War), Astro (Astro’s Playroom) and Ellie (The Last Of Us). In amongst them, there's Selene Vassos, the protagonist of Housemarque’s Returnal. The dots join themselves here, and it’s a pretty good bet that this Bluepoint announcement was to be scheduled for sometime after the Housemarque reveal.

Bluepoint Welcome to the family
The image that was Tweeted - it's now been taken down ©Sony

Bluepoint is a developer known for acclaimed remasters, previously having handled Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus.

Now we have to wait and see what happens.

PlayStation bolstering its ranks with Housemarque and Bluepoint reads well and tracks with the console identity and lineage.

While in previous console cycles, the purchase of a studio was reasonably interesting, it feels considerably more urgent in the current marketplace. Microsoft has been hoovering up studios over the past few years, seemingly to right the perceived absence of Xbox exclusives and to feed the Game Pass catalogue. Most potent of all was the acquisition of Zenimax Media in 2020, which gave Xbox control of several acclaimed studios, including Bethesda Softworks (Fallout, Elder Scrolls), id Software (DOOM) and Arkane Studios (Dishonored). The heft of this purchase was made clear at the E3 2021 conference, which you can read about here.

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William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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