Last November, Finnish game developer Housemarque declared that the arcade genre "is dead." The studio's last title, Nex Machina, was warmly received by the press and currently boasts an 88 rating on Metacritic. "Lackluster sales," however, meant the company needed to change direction if it wanted to keep making games. It vowed to make "something completely different" and today, we have our first tease of the team's next project. The game is called Stormdivers and it promises a "multiplayer-centric experience" blended with "hard flying and heavy hitting gameplay." What that means in practice, though, is a mystery.
Housemarque has been working on the game for two years. That means it was in development before the release of Nex Machina and PS4 exclusive Matterfall. Last year's blog post will have shocked some people — but clearly, this is a move the company has been deliberating for some time. Such a shift, though, isn't so strange when you consider Housemarque's history. Before Resogun and Super Stardust HD, the developer worked on a bunch of different games including two snowboarding titles (Supreme Snowboarding and Transworld Snowboarding) and a mobile version of The Chronicles of Narnia. Arcade shooters are a long-running passion, but the team is capable of much more.
It's hard to know what, exactly, the company has in mind though. A teaser trailer shows a forest shrouded in mist and the occasional man-made structure. It switches to a shot of a deadly lightning storm before revealing the name of the game and a strange, fiery figure running through the undergrowth. Is it a battle royale title similar to PUBG or Fortnite? Or a close-quarters brawler like Absolver? Mikael Haveri, Housemarque's head of publishing, offers few hints: "It's going to be very much still a Housemarque game, with the gameplay being the primary component and then that visual flair right after it."