PS4 Developer Moves Away From Arcade Shooters, Citing Industry Focus On Multiplayer Games

Arcade is dead, long live arcade.


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The era of Housemarque's high-octane, chaotic arcade shooters is over. The developer, best known for its work on games such as Resogun, Nex Machina, and Alienation, is setting its arcade-style days behind it and moving onto new things.

In a blog post today, Housemarque CEO Ilari Kuittinen reminisced on the studio's 20-year history of working in the arcade-shooter genre. Even though they were all generally well-received critically--especially Nex Machina, which came out over the summer--Kuittinen explained that they just weren't selling that well. The studio realized that it wasn't sustainable to keep making games in the genre.

"Lackluster sales of Nex Machina have led us to the thinking that it is time to bring our longstanding commitment to the arcade genre to an end," he wrote. "While this genre will always hold a special place in our hearts, the industry is moving more toward multiplayer experiences with strong, robust communities, and it's time for Housemarque to move forward with the industry. Hence Nex Machina and Matterfall will be the last of their kind coming out of our studio."

Interestingly, Kuttinen doesn't actually announce that Housemarque will be working on multiplayer-focused experiences in the future. Rather, he simply promises, "We are exploring something totally different than what you might expect of us, but we believe this will lead to the creation of even more engaging gaming experiences."

Housemarque's pivot comes in the wake of EA's decision to shut down Visceral Studios and its singleplayer Star Wars project for similar reasons, specifically the market shift toward social, multiplayer-driven games. It'll be interesting to see what Housemarque comes up with in the future.

In the meantime, if you haven't already, it's definitely worth checking out Resogun and Nex Machina, two of Housemarque's best games. You can read Nex Machina's 9/10 review here.

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Avatar image for twztid13

Don't tell people how to fund their blasphemy.

"It'll be interesting to see what microtransactions Housemarque comes up with in the future." Fixed. That will be where every ounce of creativity will be laser focused on in this market (especially the devs that think they have street cred), in the MT realm, not gameplay.

Avatar image for BigBadBully

Yeah even Sony is now looking at microtransactions for its Singleplayer games. Dont think Housemarque for the games they currently made would get recieved well if they introduced micros.

Sony better help these guys with whatever multiplayer project is in the works. They make great games and a multiplayer project from House would most likely be a hit and kickstart multiplayer on PSN.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a1d4b615a3a3

Perhaps its time to get out of bed with Sony as well and release future games on every platform.

Avatar image for lembu90

I had enough with this multiplayer craps. Single player all the way.

Avatar image for twztid13

@7tizz: that's misleading. What do you consider enough? There ARE enough supporting single player games for the publishers & developers to make a profit, don't fall for that. There are not an equal amount of sp games being sold compared to multiplayer games, however. The days where the developers were honored to make a labor of love that gamers enjoyed is long gone. If those developers do exist, sprinkled throughout those mega-development studios somewhere, they know better than to say as much. They will get slapped silly by big daddy publisher just for thinking about something other than profit. I think the vast majority of gamers that prefer sp experiences DO support those games, but there are not enough of us to compete with the babysitter, the roller skating rink, the mall, the club, etc, as those are the places these multiplayer lounges for teenagers have replaced. In the past, gaming was for nerds & people that didn't care about hooking up with girls. Now, it's the cool thing to do, & even tons of attractive girls even play these multiplayer games. There is just no way to complete with the modern day hangout spot for all the kids. Even if they don't care about a game, they will all buy it so they can chat & hang out, & they certainly don't want to be left out because their parents wouldn't buy them the newest they make certain their parents DO buy it, whether they play it much or not. Back to my original point, the publishers want money, & there are no longer any acceptable circumstances for not making every cent of profit that they think is on the table. Present day gaming business does not recognize things like the devs' love for a genre, story, the development process, or any such mitigating factor, which in the past would allow a studio to create games with a clear conscience, even when they couldn't be certain that their game would be bought by the largest groups of consumers. They knew that their Dev team loved making it & their biggest fans loved playing it, so if it sold less than expected, they'd aim for higher sales on the next version. Now, they close the studios if that happens, & when that doesn't work, instead of working hard to make something better than the game that has the highest sales, they'll just kill the genre altogether. Eventually there will be no one left to create games if they follow that to it's logical conclusion.

Avatar image for inebriantia

@7tizz: It's true, while I love Alienation and Resogun, I haven't liked any of their other titles. Something that also hurts is last gen, almost every indie game had a demo, and now many dont. SP indie games especially need a demo, there's many times I've bought one and it wasn't what was advertised, so now I rarely buy them unless a friend recommends. Physical titles I still try out first by renting at least.

Not too mention so many indie devs are getting screwed by stolen keys, chargebacks, to the point some just say pirate it. There's also honestly, too many games coming out. It's a freaking flood out there, and it's like a dice roll of whether you'll get noticed.

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy

Lets just hope this turns into something good, a good evolution but honestly i'm worried, their games are some of the best, Resogun alone I'd rate as one of PS4's best games.....

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@MJ12-Conspiracy: They can't keep making games that aren't selling well enough that's how you go bankrupt. Kinda suggests that their previous titles didn't meet expectations either. Like look at United Front games they had great success with sleeping dogs and instead of making a sequel they worked themselves towards a closure by making titles people didn't want.

Avatar image for kaminobenimizu

The nail in the coffin was Matterfall's trailer that confused many that didn't know them previously, thus making many ignore them even more. Just check comments on many Matterfall videos, and the comment section on the trailer itself.

People got hyped thinking it was a revolutionary FPS, but discovered it was a "Run 'n Gun" in the end. That, and the price of their games are slightly too "high" compared to competition, and for an underrated genre at that.

Avatar image for afromakka

oh crap ! that's one of my fav studios of all time !! damn you ea and damn you ubisoft