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Housemarque had offers from companies other than Sony – but was it Microsoft?

Returnal screenshot

Returnal – Sony were not the only bidders for Housemarque (pic: Sony)

Sony’s recent purchase of Returnal developer Housemarque was actually a bidding war against several other publishers.

The acquisition of Returnal and Super Stardust developer Housemarque was broadly welcomed by everyone, with the only major comment being why Sony didn’t buy them before – since the majority of their games have always been PlayStation exclusives.

It was speculated that perhaps Sony was worried that Microsoft might try and make a move for them, which now seems even more likely given new comments from Housemarque on the situation.

According to co-founder Ilari Kuittinen, in an interview with Finnish website Yle, the ‘usual suspects’ also approached Housemarque about an acquisition, including companies from China, Sweden, and the US.

Kuittinen didn’t mention any names but it’s relatively easy to guess that the Chinese company would be Tencent, who has made a habit of buying up or investing in Western developers.

The Swedish firm was almost certainly Embracer Group, who started up buying out THQ Nordic and now own the likes of Koch Media/Deep Silver and Gearbox Entertainment.

The US companies are harder to infer but EA and Take-Two tend to be the most aggressive in terms of large acquisitions.

In this context though the most obvious guess is that one of the companies was Microsoft, which has been on a spending spree for the last several years and would undoubtedly see acquiring a developer strongly associated with Sony as highly desirable.

In the end though Housemarque went with Sony, not necessarily because they offered the most money (the financial details of the purchase have not been revealed) but because they were a ‘logical’ continuation of Housemarque’s operations and development.

Given Returnal only launched a few months ago it will likely be a long time before they announce another game, but the implication so far seems to be that they’re keen to work on a sequel.

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