One of the games revealed during the PS5's showcase in September 2020 was Returnal, a project in the works by renown Finnish developer Housemarque — best known for twin-stick arcade games on PlayStation platforms. Today, the developer showed off some more footage for Returnal, this time focusing on gameplay as part of the team's HouseCast video series. For episode 3, we got a look at how the team migrated from 2D to 3D, as well as how the game will incorporate the DualSense controller's features.
Check out the latest Returnal gameplay showcase as part of the HouseCast below.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the gameplay showing, Housemarque explained how it transitioned from developing 2D games in a top down or side-scrolling perspective, to what it's doing now with Returnal, which is the studio's first 3D game presented in third-person. Returnal's Game Director, Harry Krueger, said the team will still be sticking to its “strengths” and “wisdom” it has with developing arcade experiences.
In speaking about the challenges the studio has faced with the transition, it pointed to the addition of verticality as one of the most prominent additions — which is quite literally the implementation of a new dimension, in reference to the movement from 2D to 3D. Based on the showing, it looks like Returnal is a major departure for the studio, featuring realistically rendered character models and lighting, along with a much darker tone than the team is known for.
We got to see fast third-person action in which the game's main character jumps, runs, and shoots at various creatures in the world. There was also mention of a grappling hook, which could be very interesting in action. But despite the obvious differences, the game still seems like it will feature some arcade-style mechanics, like the ability to pick up power-ups and a focus on replayability.
Krueger then spoke on the game's DualSense functions, particularly in reference to the controller's Adaptive Triggers. “You can press [the trigger] halfway to do the traditional focus aim and then it clicks over and enters the outfire mode.” But Krueger also mentioned that players can fully customize the control scheme “as they see fit.”
Returnal will launch exclusively for PS5 on March 19, 2021.