You don’t hear too often about indie developers deciding to abandon smaller scale titles in order to embark on bigger, costlier AAA projects. But Housemarque is doing just that, transitioning into becoming an AAA developer.
GameIndustry.biz spoke to Ilari Kuittinen, CEO and co-founder of the Finland-based developer about future plans. After spending a number of years focused on the arcade genre with titles like Super Stardust HD, Kuittinen says that they are now planning to transition into becoming an AAA developer. The decision comes after choosing between two fates: scaling down significantly or going on a more ambitious route.
“It took time to convince ourselves that we could be up to the task of developing a much bigger game than we have done in the past, as we were only around 50-people strong, working on two projects simultaneously,” Kuitten said. “We knew this wasn’t enough people to create a AAA game, so we dug in and took the plunge.”
“We started working on new, creative concepts to present to potential partners and eventually, we landed a great opportunity to start working on pre-production for a new, unannounced AAA IP last year,” he added.
Housemarque likely saw the writing on the wall based on the lack of success of recent titles. Before going in the new direction, the company was mostly working on smaller titles like Nex Machine, a twin-stick action game. While reviews were strong, sales were not.
“It’s bittersweet at this moment,” Kuittinen said at the time. “The era, the ten-plus years that we’ve been mostly working on smaller, downloadable, arcade-inspired console games has come to an end.”
Other games that Housemarque have worked on in the past include Outland, Alienation, and Matterfall.
They are also currently working on Stormdivers, set to be released in 2019. There’s not much information about it other than Housemarque describing it as a “high flying and heavy hitting multiplayer centric experience.”