Some ideas left on the cutting room floor for Returnal could end up in Housemarque’s next game.
Speaking to VGC, senior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen discussed the future of the studio and whether the story of Selene was finished.
“Returnal was so ambitious,” Korhonen said. “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.”
When asked if the story of Selene was finished, she said: “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.”
Returnal was Housemarque’s most ambitious project, adding narrative elements to shoot-em-up gameplay as an extension of the studio’s previous arcade-style games.
“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,” said Korhonen.
“I think we’ve learned the importance of pacing and how difficult that is in a rogue-like game,” she said, discussing what the team learned. “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.”
The BAFTA award winning game is set to soon arrive on Sony’s PS Plus subscription, where Housemarque managing director Ilari Kuittinen is hopeful it will reach a new audience.
There are also rumours the game could be headed to PC.
For more on Returnal, check out our interview with Selene voice actress Jane Perry on embodying psychological trauma.