Returnal, by all accounts, looks like a fantastic PlayStation 5 title. With developer Housemarque's signature visual flair and snappy gameplay, it's a third person shooter that should seriously pop on the new console. Its rogue-lite structure and narrative focus should make for a properly compelling experience, too. It looks great, but there's one thing that's wrinkling the noses of even the most dedicated Housemarque fans: its price tag.
Indeed, Returnal currently costs $69.99 / £69.99, which is the same going rate as PS5 games like Demon's Souls and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War — perceived to be much larger projects from the outside looking in. It's become a major sticking point; we've certainly noticed a huge volume of commentary among our own readers suggesting the cost of entry is too high.
We had the opportunity to interview Housemarque — you can read the full conversation through the link — and couldn't resist asking them what they think about this reaction. Speaking to game director Harry Krueger and marketing director Mikael Haveri, we asked for their thoughts on the question of value surrounding Returnal.
Haveri told us the game is "a much larger endeavour than our previous portfolio", noting that it's the team's biggest ever project. More than that, it's launching on a brand new system, which involves adding new features like 3D audio and haptic feedback. "Everything really caters to a new type of experience," Haveri says, explaining that they're aiming to fulfil their end of the bargain by producing "the best, most replayable, and most engrossing experience" they can.
He continues: "Now, it is of course a new console generation and a next-gen title, so there's things that come along with that, but as long as we're fulfilling our part of it and making the best game possible, then we're doing our half of the value proposition in that regard".
We should probably point out that decisions like pricing are not made by Housemarque. Sony's stuck that premium price on the box, presumably because it views the game on equal or higher footing compared to other PS5 software. Just looking at the company's own titles, Sackboy: A Big Adventure goes for $59.99, and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is only $49.99. Looking at it this way, it's clear Sony is very confident in Returnal and its content.
Anyway, there you have it. The developer's belief is that it's making the best game it possibly can. Whether that's worth 70 smackers is down to you.
For more thoughts on Returnal, read our brand new hands-off preview.