Housemarque, the Finnish developer behind titles like Returnal and Resogun, is PlayStation Studio's resident arcade expert. Since joining the first-party family, it seems the company has grown to 110 people, with that number likely to increase as it gears up for whatever comes next (though they aren't in the habit of making sequels).
We know that Housemarque had around 80 employees when it was acquired and will surely continue to ramp up as time goes on. This is welcome news to us, as it's nice to see Housemarque appear to be in the ascendant. After all, it wasn't even that long ago that the developer itself, one of the premier studios within the genre, famously declared that arcade games were dead.
Are you excited to see what a thriving Housemarque can do? Do you hope it stays true to its more retro roots? Please insert a coin to access the comments section below.
Returnal is one of the best games this Gen so i'm very excited for their next title.
I will never ever get the size of game teams and amount invested and how it can be financially rewarding.
Then again I'm no economist and can only do milkmaid bills (if that's a phrase in your language 😀)
100 people... Everyone at least gets 5000 a month. Which is 6 million every year. Not counting everything else and probably higher salaries anyway.
Games like Returnal sell maybe 1 million copies (most successful games have 10). Which is maybe 10 million profit (probably less)
Just no idea how this industry (single player games without constant income from ingame shops of course) works (apparently) 😄
Definitely one of the projects I'm most excited to learn more about. Returnal is still my favourite PS5 game.
Arcade is not dead if they mix it with immersive Storytelling in typical sony quality. Just like Returnal.
@Grimwood Videogames cost formula is generally $100k per person per year for all costs. As an 80 man studio Housemarque would have cost roughly $8m a year to run at that point.
Returnal actually had a very short amount of time in full production, around 18 months which sounds crazy in modern times, but it was in pre-production for years as they were trying to shop it to publishers while working on a different game(cancelled battle royale game)
If Returnal sold 1M copies only it would have no trouble getting back it’s production costs, even if they weren’t first party and only keeping 70%.
However, Returnal will likely sell considerably more than 1M considering it sold 560k in its first 2 months as a £70 game and PS5 exclusive when there was only around 10m PS5’s in existence.
@ChrisDeku Ah, thank you for the explanation. Hm, I would have imagined that you maybe get 30% from sold units as actual profit and that you can't really calculate with full price (Almost noone gets the game for the full price at launch, so the average would be maybe 30-40 bucks?) but ok.
Digital copies make a lot more money than physical so its hard to put a number on exactly. So at $70 for a digital copy that would be $49 to the developer/publisher and $21 to the platform holder. However, in other territories like Europe the price sold on the website already includes tax(unlike USA) so in the UK 1/6th of the £70 would go to the government and then 30% of the remaining figure to the platform holder and the rest to the developer/publisher. So in the UK it would be slightly less than the $49 after currency conversion.
Totalling all digital and physical sales at launch across all regions it might be that the average third party publisher is getting around $40 per game for a $70 game.
@ChrisDeku I only know that Sony were really happy with the games reception and I believe they said it is a "mega-hit"
I don't like acquisitions, but this is one of those rare ones where everyone benefited. Now let's hope Sony let's them stay creatively independent and they keep growing. Can't wait to see what they're up to next!
I honestly didn't love Returnal. Clearly a well polished game but I didn't gel with this one.
I really loved resogun, and returnal (despite being really bad at playing returnal). I liked nex machina to a lesser extend. Anyway I am very interested in what they are doing next.
Though, I am still hoping that a vr mode is added to returnal, before they move on.
Housemarque's output has been excellent over the years, can't wait to see what they come out with next. It's hard to imagine they could produce something better than Returnal for my money - it was just that good.
@Grimwood Just seconding @ChrisDeku excellent posts and adding some extra context. The figure Jason Schreier gave in his book Blood, Sweat & Pixels (worth a read imo) was around $10,000 per employee per month. That is not what the employees are paid, but the cost of everything to have that employee on board, typically called a 'burn rate'. That will cover everything from office space, electricity, software licenses, insurance etc. etc. as well as their salary.
Note the $10,000 was from around 2010 so it may well have increased, but it is a rough guide, this will also change depending where you are in the world.
It's also worth bearing in mind that typically most developers won't be working on a game for the entirety of it's development. You often have a much smaller core team that will be working initially on pre-production and then increase the number of developers once you reach full production. So you might just have 20 people working on it conceptually at the start then increase this to 40 before getting 200 on board for full production.
Additionally AAA games also farm out a lot of work, especially ultra high quality artistry, animation, sound etc. to support studios all around the world who's job isn't to make games themselves but to make high quality art, animation or other things for games for hire. This is how you see AAA games with thousands of developers (see the credits for God of War 2018 at 1,698 developers) even though Santa Monica Studio only employees approximately 400 and reportedly have 2 games in the works.
This is all important as it isn't as simple as 1700 people working on a game for 4+ years.
In Sony's case they also have several of their own support studios including XDev, Visual Arts Service Group, San Matteo studio etc. who do this, and occasionally devs from one studio (e.g. Naughty Dog), will help another Studio (e.g. Santa Monica Studio) towards the end of development to help get them over the line.
Ultimately every game is different in how it is financed and developed, but something like Returnal was made with a much smaller team, and much more quickly, than something like God of War or Spider-man.
Whatever Housemarque makes, I’m there day 1. Consistently a great studio, and Returnal was GotY 2021.
Back on point. I still haven't' gotten round to Returnal yet. So many games, so little time! Looking forward to it though.
Hoping it’s a game with an EASY setting. I’ve loved all of their PS output, but Returnal was just too hard for my reflexes.
@ChrisDeku @themightyant Eventually Returnal ended up in the PS Plus Extra catalogue. I'm guessing that a developer also gets a bag of money for that? So next to the copies sold, they make profit from that too I can imagine. Either a one time fixed sum, or a small 'royalty' for each download or PS plus Extra subscription or something.
@Yinx Usually yes, but as Housemarque is a Sony studio now, perhaps not in this case. I'm not sure how that works in these cases.
Really interested to see what they do next to be honest.
Returnal was obviously very good even if it wasn't really my jam so hopefully the next thing will be good too!
Can't wait for whatever comes next from Housemarque.
I'm 44 and i've been playing games since i was 7 or 8,i can say for sure that returnal is the best game i have ever played.As you grow older you dont get suprised as much and you have just about seen it all when it comes to video games.The way this game made me connect with the protagonist,the way it trained me to play it ,the gameplay that was amazing,the music and the performance of the main caracter i mean wow just wow.Housemarque has become my favorite studio along with remedy.So yeah bring it on take as much time as you want,i want something as unique as returnal.I would love a sequel but i trust them with whatever they want to do next.
Returnal is the only game i have or probably ever will Platinum .So i am excited for whatever they release next..
Definitely ready for their next game. Returnal is one of my all-time favorites. Felt like the closest thing to third-person Metroid we’re ever going to get. So much joy (and sweet, sweet pain) playing that game! You got this, Housemarque!
@Fill3rup_ If you can platinum Returnal, you can easily platinum most games. You'll earn more plats, no doubt.
@Kidfried Oh i know,but ive normally zero interest in Trophies.I platinumed Returnal as i just wanted to keep on playing it..
I no it’s not Returnal sequel, but I wish it was
Loved Returnal, but didn't like the roguelite crap. If it had been more like metroid or proper progression didn't like all that starting over nonsense.
@Fill3rup_ That's the right way!
If I didn't have too many games to play and too little time I'd be playing Returnal over and over again. Still one of the best gaming experiences I've had, together with Elden Ring and Nier:Automata. PS5 is really delivering so far.
I haven't played my copy of Returnal yet, but definitely looking forward to whatever game they're working on next.
I always liked them but Returnal was my very unexpected personal 2021 goty, so interested in anything that comes from them.
Returnal is still my favorite game of all time — I still jump back in every couple weeks to play it through. I still never forget the feeling I had of first playing it, and how immersed I felt being trapped on some alien planet. Like everyone has already said, can't wait to see Housemarque's next project.
Lets wait for their upcoming mega hit
IS THE NEXT PROJECT FIXING DEAD NATION ON PS5?
I'm sorry to the staff if I'm being a nuissance about this but I dont get how THIS is such an issue
Love their games especially Returnal and would love to see another game like it but maybe not quite as unforgiving though. I made it to Biome 4 in Returnal and that was it I just gave up after that. I was just sick of dying and being sent back to the start over and over again.
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