Sony has acquired Housemarque, the Finnish developer behind PlayStation 5, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Sony announced the acquisition of Finnish developer Housemarques two months before the studio’s launch, and Returnal is one of the most high-profile exclusive products for the young PlayStation 5 console.
The rogue third-person game Returnal is an amazing PlayStation 5 exclusive title. In fact, Sony loves the game so much that they decided to buy the studio that was behind it. Finnish indie developer Housemarque has a long history with Sony’s consoles, dating back to 2007’s Stardust HD on the new PlayStation 3, which ran parallel to the PS4 launch of Resogun. It was also the studio behind the PS4 Twin-Screenshot Nex Machina from 2017, which Ars Sam Machkovech honored on his Game of the Year list. As a Finnish game studio, it is a new addition to Sony’s stable for first-time developers. The studio is the oldest active studio in Finland for game development and was founded 25 years ago in 1995.
The move further strengthens Sony’s in-house gaming industry after it acquired Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games in 2019. With the acquisition of Housemarques, the Helsinki studio behind PlayStation games like Returnal for the PS5, and arcade shooters like Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation, Sony will now have 13 companies under its banner PlayStation Studios.
This was announced in a post on the PlayStation blog, which highlights the long-standing partnership between Housemarque and PlayStation. “Today is a great day for Housemarques because our partnership with Sony has been in place for 26 years”. The two companies have been working together for more than a decade and most of them have developed PlayStation hits like Resogun, Alienation, and most recently Returnal, as well as newer titles on PlayStation consoles and handhelds. The company released Resogun and Nex Machina in 2017 and announced plans to develop another arcade-style game despite lackluster sales.
Housemarque is known for its extensive experience in the arcade shooter genre and its strong creative and technical skills and has developed eight exclusive titles for the PlayStation (r) console, including Returnal, Nex, Machina, and Alienation. With the recent release of Returnal, the studio has further developed its distinctive style of play, weaving haunting narratives into 3D shot-hell shooters. Housemarques has released games on other platforms since its inception in 1995 and the company has shown exceptional exclusive releases on launch dates for PS3, PS4, and PS5.
For me, this seems like a sensible move, as the majority of developers at Housemarques have become first-party studios whose games have been PlayStation exclusive products in recent generations.