Why PlayStation bought Returnal developer Housemarque: the inside story

As Sony Interactive Entertainment acquires Returnal developer Housemarque, GQ speaks to head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst and Housemarque’s cofounder Ilari Kuittinen about how the deal was struck and the Finnish studio's future.

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SullysCigar582d ago

This had to happen. These guys have been pumping out quality PlayStation games for generations now and they nailed it with Returnal!

Congratulations Housemarque Games!

alb1899582d ago

I thought that SONY doesn't buy anything. Just MS buys talents and Studios.

Darkborn582d ago

The studio has essentially been part of playstation for a decade. You guys need to learn how to listen, the reason the Microsoft acquisitions are bad is because all the studios they bought were third party studios making games for both consoles and pc. Sony bought insomniac and housemarque. Go look at their history with playstation. How many games have they produced only for playstation? Like almost all of their games, that's the answer.

alb1899582d ago (Edited 582d ago )

Darkborn, the reason is because SONY is not the one buying, that's the reason, don't be so blind.
If SONY buys Warner is good, if SONY buys Kojima production is good too.
SONY can't do wrong and MS can't do right, there is always a way to turn up things to make one looks good and the other bad.
It is a nature thing, it is in the blood of the Fanboy.

582d ago
Darkborn582d ago

Okay alb, I'm not gonna argue with you. We're talking about two different things here. This studio has made playstation exclusive games forever. That's the difference, same with insomniac. Look at spyro the dragon, ratchet and clank, resistance, spiderman, the list goes on and on for them. Now look at housemarque, when was the last time they made you Xbox fans a game? Why are you so upset since they don't affect your gamepass ecosystem anyways?

Teflon02582d ago

Alb no

Try Harding. Did anyone complain about MS buying PlayGround Games? No because they've been making Xbox exclusives as a second party. Just like Insomniac and House lol. You get the difference? There's a difference between buying say Dooms dev that don't do single platform releases as opposed to Insomniac that literally made PlayStation exclusives published by Sony since 1997 or earlier excluding 2 and house Marque which tbh might as well have been a PS studio years ago. Again everyone was happy and glad MS finally acquired PlayGround Games. They built that relationship

MIDGETonSTILTS17582d ago

You don’t see a difference in acquiring one studio after over a decade of collaboration, instead of panic buying the largest single media purchase in history in order to make up ground when you’re a whole generation behind with game innovation?

BigMalk582d ago

MS bought a whole publisher that housed multiple development teams, and IPs that have been multiplatform since the 90s.

Housemarque was an indie dev team that has been in partnership with Sony for quite the number of years.

There is a huge difference.

leejohnson222582d ago

Insomniac was the biggest and best purchase to date, the fee they paid was recouped as soon as spiderman released, Ms buys studios as they are too lazy to push the studios they already own to do anything good

Silly gameAr582d ago


It's not that they don't listen, it's just that it's easier for them to pretend that Sony and MS do the same thing, because that makes MS look less scummy for the stuff that they pull.

Vizigoth04582d ago

@alb1899 The toxic atmosphere of gaming starts with people like you. You can always stop and say something supportive or constructive but instead you add comment that lacks substance and further adds fuel to the flame of the fanboy war. Competition can be fun when all gamers win.

neomahi582d ago

PlayStation never acquired Quantic Dream. They were pretty much only with PlayStation and David Cage was practically begging Sony to acquire them and they ended up being picked up by a Chinese company. Long track records with PlayStation dont always yield good results.

TheTony316582d ago

Sony getting Housemarque is like MS getting Playground games. There's a big difference between this and buying Bethesda.

StoneyYoshi582d ago

IDC if I get temp banned. You sir are a fucking moron if you cant see the difference here. XD

Sunny_D582d ago

You're either not very sharp or just being purposely obtuse. The difference between devs being bought and a publisher being bought is quite obvious. Sony has always bought devs which include devs like Naughty Dog but that's only after having a close relationship with them for years. MS's initial acquisitions didn't get too much flak because those are small devs that may have had a close relationship with MS. The Bethesda purchase however was completely different from those acquisitions.

neutralgamer1992582d ago


Than it's you can go thought wrong don't blame others. Sony always buys the studios they have prior working relationship with. Sony will most likely acquire bluepoint next because vast majority of bluepoint work was on PlayStation

I personally have no issues with ms buying studios because they needed them. Overtime they didn't invest along the way so they had to buy in bulk to get their production up and running.
A lot of studios that Ms bought needed resources and were struggling from game to game to find a publisher so Ms buying them provided resources and peace of mind

but when they bought Bethesda they did wrong. Because Bethesda didn't need any help funding games. They literally did that to take games away from other platforms. They literally had PlayStation 4 and 5 version of the games that scrapped.

For this reason and this reason only I really hope Sony buys out Capcom and square because only than will Xbox fanboys understand why doing such things are wrong for gamers. People on this site act like Sony is some broke company that can't afford to buying studios. They are worth over a 100 billion and playstation is a lot more important for their existence then Xbox is the Microsoft

So yeah keep making stuff up but Sony will keep acquiring more and more studios and we may even hear some more news about more acquisitions

Thundercat77582d ago

People should read about these acquisitions in order to understand the clear difference.

acdramon582d ago

Ah yes, knew people would try to act like this. A lot of people have mad clear distinctions about how Sony and MS handle acquisitions and deals, calling out both when needed. But sure go ahead and act like it's just Sony fanboys being hypocritical...

dcbronco581d ago

No Darkborn. When your executives talk nonsense about developing inhouse when it's never been the case and fans have such a lack of memory that they believe them it's really just the PR BS of the moment.

Babadook7581d ago (Edited 581d ago )

That’s kind of true in that it IS different. Sony acquires talent through a successful working relationship and a mutual fan base. MS buys them with big money.

enkiduxiv581d ago

Hey look, its the same guy with the same comment from the other thread on this topic. Everyone take a moment to laugh at how triggered this weirdo is.

Ninver581d ago

Shut up troll. Learn the difference.

dbcoops581d ago

Well apparently you thought wrong.

Army_of_Darkness581d ago


Bro, if you can't see the difference from buying a single Studio versus an entire multiplatform publisher, then I suggest you sit down, keep quiet and STFU.

DJStotty581d ago (Edited 581d ago )


Your right, people need to listen, Zenimax games and also Bethesda games are still multiplatform.

Why is everyone assuming all their games are exclusive now that microsoft own them?

People need to stop comparing the 2's acquisitions, Zenimax games, the majority will be kept as multiplatform, Sony's studios will be solely exclusive.

I think it was a smart decision by Sony to acquire not only Housemarque, but it looks like Bluepoint also (think it is called bluepoint?), it is a whole different level of acquiring in comparison to the Zenimax acquirement.

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alb1899582d ago

Darkborn, I won't and I don't want to learn to be a Fanboy that just makes excuses.

Flawlessmic582d ago (Edited 582d ago )

Lol alb

You sound like a upset 5 year old, ask mummy for your dummy

alb1899582d ago

Flawlessmic, ofcurse, I'm not saying what you want to hear.
How you guys sound when you just want to invent whatever make looks bad a company just because it is not your preference?
Sorry, I don't speak English.

Flawlessmic582d ago

Whos trying to make MS sound bad lol

Just pointing out there is difference which even a smart 5 year old would notice.

One has culivated an exclusive relationship with years of exclusive collaboration with studios hence the organic and natural nature of the move.

The other went to the bank, deposited all the money out and said yea we own u and everything uv ever made now.

Smart moves on both sonys and microsofts part but clearly different.

Knushwood Butt582d ago

You are a fanboy, and you just made an excuse that you don't speak English.


Elda582d ago (Edited 582d ago )

I think you're old enough to understand,you're just deflecting the facts like a fanboy.

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KillBill582d ago

"These guys have been pumping out quality PlayStation games for generations now and they nailed it with Returnal!' - what games are you thinking about? Looked at their list of games and nothing and nothing really stands out to me.

Nitrowolf2582d ago

Well that’s on you.
Resogun had huge praise when it released
Stardust, and Super Stardust HD did as well.
Dead Nation? Eh that’s a middle one but a lot seemed to have liked it.

A lot of their other work is pretty eh , but they do have some great games behind them considering they were indie and all

Ron_Danger582d ago (Edited 582d ago )

This comment reminds me of a comment a few months ago in an article about a Sony game winning a BAFTA and a user came in complaining about how the BAFTA’s don’t matter because they had never heard of them.


There’s also the co op dungeon crawler shooter Alienation (my favorite [former] indie game of last gen) and Matterfall. I love how you can see the influence of their older games on their new projects. It really is amazing how good of a developer they became.

KillBill582d ago

Seriously... most nobody has heard of any of the games they have made before Returnal. But Sony buys them and suddenly all their previous works are classics.

Ron_Danger582d ago

Dude… how do you get proven wrong by multiple users and come back and double down on your ignorance?

Sharky231581d ago (Edited 581d ago )

Have you ever played any of these games? Just because they are lesser known doesn’t mean they’re not great games. If you gave any one of them a chance you’d change your mind. The quality of their games is great for an indie studio. Their controls are always tight. Returnal is just the fruit of all those labors and I’m so glad that Sony locked them down! I can’t wait to see what they can do when they are just turned loose!

P_Bomb581d ago (Edited 581d ago )

“most nobody has heard of any of the games..”

I’ve beaten near all of Housemarque but I’m not gonna hype it every day for the benefit of others.

Money says there are people that never heard of Roblox til they had kids. I never played Minecraft til I had mine. It happens. But the games were there.

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IRetrouk582d ago

Was expected, but exciting regardless, they are also expanding the team, good news in my view.

lellkay582d ago

100% Behind these guys! Lets go!

garos82582d ago

Returnal is goty for me so far. decent acquisition for sure

Flawlessmic582d ago (Edited 582d ago )

Yes sony buys studios but check the history of those studios you will find a long history of them working soley with playstation for years with multiple exclusives!! Hence the more oganic buy its a more natural process that makes sense.

Mircosoft buying zenimax would be like sony buying activision blizzard out of the blue, no organic working history, outside games that can be found on every single platform

The studios sony buys are basically unofficial playstation studios by the time they do buy them.

I got no problems with what microsoft did, they were struggling and have a mountain of cash behind them so they put the money to good use, just please for the love of god stop trying to say its the same thing because it isnt.

GamerRN582d ago

No a better example would be that they don't trust the companies and make them work harder to prove themselves worthy of purchase, Microsoft just buys established companies who already proved themselves. Same crap

Flawlessmic582d ago

Lol whatever helps you sleep at night, i said i dont have an issue with the way ms does it. but it is different dont know why you fanboys just wont admit MS are doing it the heavy handed way which in there defence if you have that much cash then why not.

Use daddys money to paper over years and years of mistakes because sonys has put in the work over the years to do things more naturally with more auccess at a much lower cost.

Its called knowing who you get into bed with and smart business.

DOMination-582d ago

I think if Sony were a ~$2T marketcap company they would *probably* splash some cash as well. This "growing studios organically" makes them look good but I'm sure part of it is PR/business speak for "we can't complete, so we are doing things differently".

Lets remember that back in the mid-nineties, gaming was niche and when Sony entered the market they were the big fish, utterly dwarfing the gaming companies in terms of revenues. I don't recall them growing things organically back then, I remember them being utterly ruthless and blowing Philips, Atari, Commodore and Sega out of the console business entirely, screwing over Nintendo (who barely survived for a decade following that) and even taking out Panasonic who were also much bigger than these gaming companies but alas, not as big as Sony. They did this by acquiring a load of studios, getting a whole raft of third party exclusives and spending millions on whacky and aggressive marketing.

Don't get me wrong - integrating some of these talented smaller teams into PlayStation Studios is a good approach for them. Spending more $ does not mean better. Housemarque and Bluepoint are fantastic additions and hopefully there will be some more along these lines.

Knushwood Butt581d ago


Screwing over Nintendo?

Way I read it, Nintendo screwed Sony over development of an optical drive for one of Nintendo's consoles, and Sony responded by launching the PlayStation.

GamerRN580d ago

Not sure why all the dislikes?! I didn't say what Sony does is bad, just different approach to the same game.

So many haters and fanboys out there.

Also, I own both, and who gives a crap, just enjoy the games and be an adult and buy both. Then you can watch the idiots argue over which is better like I do...

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Chevalier581d ago


Sony could have also bought Zenimax if they wanted to. They've spent more than that purchase over the years in games, music, TV, movies and so on. So while you think Sony couldn't also do the same shows how clueless you are about Sony's purchases and how they are growing