Housemarque says its next game will include “ideas and narrative systems” that were cut from Returnal.
AAA roguelike Returnal is one of the PS5‘s most ambitious and best titles. Selene’s stellar adventure was recently expanded with a new endless mode, the Tower of Sisyphus, and a co-op mode allowing you to take on Atropos’ alien horde with a buddy at your side.
Recently the developer confirmed that its next game won’t be a sequel to Returnal. Instead, the team is currently hard at work on a brand new IP. Details about the game are scarce at present, but according to Housemarque’s senior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen, it will use concepts and narrative systems that were originally planned for Returnal but didn’t end up making it into the game.
Speaking to VGC (opens in new tab), Korhonen said, “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.”
During the interview, Korhonen reflected on Returnal’s development process and what it was like to create a game for a new console, on a much grander scale than anything the developer had attempted previously.
“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,” Korhonen explained. “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.”
She also discussed the difficulty of weaving a well-paced narrative around Returnal’s roguelike gameplay. “I think we’ve learned the importance of pacing and how difficult that is in a roguelike game. 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.”
When asked by VGC about the possibility of Selene’s story being continued, Korhonen didn’t confirm that we’d be joining the astronaut on another grueling trip to space, but she didn’t deny it either. She simply laughed and responded with, “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.”
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