IndieMonth (User)

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We Like Gameplay and That Fits us Fine

IndieMonth | 58d ago
User blog

By Mikael Haveri, @mbace

The question of corporate values is usually the tricky one, especially if it needs to be defined in a single word. I would say for Housemarque that word is "Arcade", but there is of course so much more. 

Even though we are such a diverse crowd, it stills seems that the average gaming time per employee is at about industry standard. Still, our accountant loves the retro cabinet in the corner and destroys on Bubble Bobble. Others use it mainly for Bomb Jack and some just pose in front of it, since it seems to make a good backdrop for when the press is visiting and taking pictures. We have young and old, guys and girls, that all have their own clicks. Be it gathering around an obscure table top game or playing FIFA, most of us spend quite a bit of time "testing products" as we jokingly call it. There are a few of us that compile custom audio hardware and others that just adore sports, yes the kind that take place outside and require physical activity. To an outsider, we as a collective, are a pretty typical Finnish game development company.

Values that make up Housemarque are diverse, but whenever one of us gets asked the "question", we usually answer in unison. Gameplay. Simple, or complicated, but mainly just the simple kind. Usually the follow up to that knee-jerk answer is along the lines of a mixture of terms that you might find on the back of a cardboard retail copy, if we'd make them any more. Co-op, smooth framerate, twitch controls, explosions. Those are just some of the mainstay one liners that get thrown in, but after all it seems that the "gameplay" is always the primary answer.

Storytelling is not our strong suit, but it very well could be. I'm sure if we put our efforts into it, we could muster up a game like "Alien Incident", but with a bit more Hollywood flare. After all, that was the first Housemarque title almost 20 years ago. Then again, Finland already has Remedy, masters of the story genre and they have been making games for almost as long as us. On the other hand, why not make "artsy stuff", the second option when talking about indie games. Art we can definitely do and end up excelling in, usually, even if it is in the form of voxels and pure, all-out destruction. 

Since the beginning Housemarque has been more a tech-centric company. To this day, we have a strong passion for developing our own technology and hitting the limits of what a specific hardware can handle. In a slightly unique way of course, due to the fact that we have always been quite small in size. This has lead to very different approaches and looking at projects in a way that many other teams couldn't. Resogun and the visual style it flaunts is partly a side product of cool looking tech being tested out and then applied in to a genre that we all hold very dear. Shoot-em-ups. Another word that is often heard at the office.

So what is it about gameplay that is so interesting? Hasn't all that there is to know already been discovered through out the few decades that our art form has been around? Sure, that is also a big part of it. When we play games it's usually just for the fun of it, but sometimes when we can't stop we start to really analyse the logic behind it. What makes a particular game so addictive and fun and how can I possibly learn it better or even exploit its mechanics. Ultimately to beat the game or just for bragging rights. This is the process that drove many gamers to the the brink of bankruptcy back when "Pay-to-play" was about $0.25 a try. We are still stuck in that process. Housemarque is simply a collection of people who in one way or another are chasing that same goal many of us started way too long ago.

Arcades never really left, they've just taken new form. Most of the developers that we follow are bringing those experiences to the forefront in mind blowing new ways. From Software has brought the balls back to gaming and countless Indie stars are headlining the next gen with amazing titles that some say could have been made twenty years ago. Yes, we play "modern" games, but almost as much TowerFall also. In the end, all that matters is that we are enjoying the games we play and maybe even learning a bit.

Day 4 | Housemarque

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Alex_Boro  +   58d ago
Gameplay is what matters in the end of the day. It's what makes a game a game.
#1 (Edited 58d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Disagree  +   58d ago
housemarque excellent dev team
F4sterTh4nFTL   58d ago | Spam
randomass171  +   58d ago
"Arcades never really left, they've just taken new form." Very interesting quote IMO. Arcade experiences are largely relegated to low cost downloads and this is by no means a bad thing. Keep up the great work guys!
xHeavYx  +   58d ago
Not all games need a story, keep up the great work
majiebeast  +   58d ago
Loved Deadnation.
randomass171  +   57d ago
Me too! I got my copy as a freebie on PS3. Fantastic experience.
oasdada  +   58d ago
that being said... the gfx and sound aint that bad either! keep up d goody work
Neo43224  +   58d ago
Alot of games dont need a story to be successful.
PSNintyGamer  +   58d ago
Truer Words have never been spoken
shadowvisa  +   58d ago
very nice
-Alpha  +   58d ago
I really like the update pushed by Tommas (on your forums) who suggested adding a friend's high score to be "chased" after in the HUD. It's little things like that that can push the competitive addictiveness and simulate the arcade feeling people used to admire
PSNintyGamer  +   58d ago
Game play over Graphics in my book.
SpeedDemon  +   58d ago
I've heard a lot of good praise for this game, looking forward to playing it myself when I eventually pick up a PS4.
kingmushroom  +   58d ago
Great read, contemporary art doesn't tell you a story it stops you and makes you think and its amazing, games don't have to tell a story they can have great gameplay and be fun, keep making great games guys.
AgentSmithPS4  +   58d ago
I'll play most types of games as long as they're fun and/or challenging.
memots  +   58d ago
so Remedy been around almost the same amount of time, yet one get downplayed for being indie for the type of games they make and the other gets called triple aaa dev ?

I never understood why people are calling Housemarque a indie dev, They made game on the original Ps1 disc retail and all. So when did this start ?
Caffo01   58d ago | Spam
Derekvinyard13  +   58d ago
It's all about the gameplay
Robochobo  +   58d ago
Gameplay is king over story. Every time.
MasterofMagnetism  +   57d ago
Really enjoyed their games. Can't wait to see what they do next.
Utalkin2me  +   57d ago
Agree
beepbopadoobop  +   57d ago
need more of this!
dictionary  +   57d ago
Ok Housemarque, take my money.
MightyNoX  +   57d ago
That's fine! Look at Crytek. I know some Devs don't like insulting other Devs but I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned from their downfall. They tried to be jack-of-all-trades and master of nothing. They wanted to be a military contractor, COD style shooter, Console AND PC Dev, F2P Moba makers AND a story-based hack-n-slasher Dev...

I lost my train of thought...

Point is, you know where your strengths and that's no shame. 10 out 10 game from me.
randomass171  +   57d ago
You're really onto something. There's such a thing as being far too ambitious for your own good.
Mr_Danski  +   57d ago
Its developers like these that run wild in the hearts of gamers. Its not all about AAA titles, Indie devs run the show when it comes to commitment and making the gamer happy.
rambi80  +   57d ago
I spent wayyy to much money in arcades back in the day. I'm gonna Avoid pay to play at all costs.
Mokastro  +   57d ago
Hm.. Well gameplay makes or break a game, and it essentially the element that define a game. But I reckon good Storytelling are the elements that makes a game even more engaging.
The industry could use more devs like this.
Emilio_Estevez  +   57d ago
I play bubble bobble every day :)
randomass171  +   57d ago
Fun stuff. :) I'm more of a Tetris guy myself. Always play it on me 3DS.
punker  +   57d ago
gameplay is important but their games look good too so win win with an attitude like this.
BiggCMan  +   57d ago
For a game like this, it's all you need! And they do it perfectly!! So addicting, I got platinum only a month after release, and now i'm playing the expansion! Love it!
Xsilver  +   57d ago
IT's all about the gameplay
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