Though Sony says it's not in an arms race with Microsoft, recent history suggests otherwise. Today the company has revealed its latest acquisition, the Finnish team at Housemarque, while an apparent social media mixup may indicate another buyout is not far behind.
Herman Hulst, former head of Guerrilla Games and current head of PlayStation's first-party operations, welcomed the team to the PlayStation Studios family in a blog post.
Today I’m thrilled to welcome a new member to the PlayStation Studios family! I have been a fan of Housemarque since the studio’s early days when they introduced Super Stardust HD to PlayStation fans. Housemarque’s recent release of Returnal proves the studio is one with incredible vision, capable of creating memorable new games that resonate with our community. This addition enhances the creative force of PlayStation Studios, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Housemarque.
The team joins PlayStation after years of developing as a second-party studio for the team, almost exclusively working with PlayStation for well over a decade now. Its latest game, Returnal, earned high praise from critics when it launched back in April. Today it boasts one of the year's best aggregate scores on OpenCritic, with a "Mighty" 86 from 134 critics.
The acquisition should give Housemarque the safety net it's sought after years of making critically lauded but commercially underperforming games, which once led to the team announcing a departure from its traditional arcade-style games. Returnal was the first project of this new-look Housemarque, which combines the team's penchant for fluid gunplay with a more Sony-friendly third-person cinematic adventure.
It may not be the only acquisition Sony has coming down the pipeline. A PlayStation Japan tweet announcing the news, which has now been deleted, included a welcoming image featuring Bluepoint Games, the team behind last year's Dark Souls remake. It would be weird if the team mocked up such a similar image on a whim, so we expect to hear more about this soon.