Sony have bought Housemarque, developers of Returnal and Nex Machina
Arcade is dead, but Housemarque aren't
Housemarque are best known for developing PlayStation exclusives like Returnal, Matterfall and Resogun, but among those they also released stellar arcade shmup Nex Machina on PC. Now the Finnish developers have been bought outright by Sony.
The news was announced on the PlayStation blog, with Housemarque co-founder Ilari Kuittinen writing that the acquisition would "secure the legacy of the oldest game studio in Finland."
The studio has gone through substantial changes since Nex Machina's launch in 2017, with the studio announcing at the time that "arcade is dead". Nex Machina was critically acclaimed but it hadn't "sold in significant numbers".
That was a shame, given Nex Machina was excellent. "There will be more twin-stick shooters, probably excellent ones, but if time stopped and all we were left with was Nex Machina, then that wouldn't be such a terrible thing," wrote Fraser Brown in our Nex Machina review.
Afterwards, Housemarque cancelled some projects and consolodated their teams to work on a single, more ambitious project. That project was Returnal, a third-person action game and PlayStation 5 exclusive released earlier this year to critical acclaim (and apparent commercial success).
Of course, being owned by Sony no longer means that Returnal or the studio's future games won't eventually come to PC. Horizon: Zero Dawn and Days Gone have made the leap to PC in the past year, with Uncharted 4 next in line. Regardless, I remain a little sad that another independent studio has been hoovered up by a conglomerate, part of a years-long trend that I think is worth worrying about.