‘Nex Machina’ developer Housemarque is done making arcade games

Finnish developer Housemarque has built a reputation over the last few decades for intense, creative twin-stick arcade shooters, with games like Resogun, Super Stardust Ultra, and Nex Machina releasing to critical acclaim. However, the studio has encountered financial troubles that have forced it to change its development strategy, and as a result, it will no longer be developing arcade-style games.

“Despite critical success and numerous awards, our games just haven’t sold in significant numbers,” said Housemarque CEO Ilari Kuittinen in an announcement bluntly titled, “Arcade is Dead.”

While Resogun‘s inclusion as the very first free PlayStation Plus game on PlayStation 4 helped to get Housemarque’s work into the hands of more fans, Kuittinen said that this didn’t translate into stronger sales for the studio.

“While this genre will always hold a special place in our hearts, the industry is moving more toward multiplayer experiences with strong, robust communities, and it’s time for Housemarque to move forward with the industry,” he added. “Hence Nex Machina and Matterfall will be the last of their kind coming from our studio.”

Kuittinen promised the next game from Housemarque will be “totally different” from the studio’s previous work, though the studio will still be taking a “gameplay first” approach to development.

The multiplayer-focused strategy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone following industry events over the last few weeks. Electronic Arts is taking a similar approach with its Star Wars action-adventure project, shifting it from a linear single-player game into something players will keep coming back to over time. Developer Visceral Games was shuttered as a result of this decision.

Housemarque’s decision is especially disappointing because the studio is just so good at making twin-stick shooters. In our Nex Machina review, we called the game one of the best titles released all year, and praised its smooth controls and relentless difficulty. Just two months later, the studio released the PlayStation 4-exclusive Matterfall, a sidescrolling shooter that had already been in development for years. We certainly hope Housemarque backtracks in the future and releases a follow-up to Nex Machina in particular, as the game absolutely deserves a sequel.

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