Housemarque’s moody PS5-exclusive sci-fi shooter Returnal gets March release date

Developer Housemarque is trying something a bit different with its new PS5-exclusive sci-fi shooter Returnal; while it’s earlier output favoured small but pristinely formed arcade experiences – think Resogun and Nex Machina – this time, the developer is going in a decidedly more blockbuster direction, and the result of its toils, we now know, arrives on 19th March.

Returnal, which was initially unveiled back in June, blends third-person action and platform elements with a great big dollop of moody narrative to create a game Housemarque calls its “most ambitious project to date”. The resulting adventure unfolds on the very edge of the galaxy, with players taking on the role of Selene, an Astra space scout who finds herself trapped in hellish loop of endless resurrection while stranded on a deadly planet.

It’s something of a rogue-like then, and the ensuing action promises “volleys of bullet-hell projectiles along the way” (clearly Housemarque isn’t entirely ready to wave goodbye to its arcade roots just yet), with players able to respond using an arsenal of weapons armed with rechargeable alt-fire modes activated by half-pressing the PS5 controller’s adaptive triggers.

That, unfortunately, is about all we have to go on at present; the remainder of Housemarque’s PlayStation Blog post reads more like a promo for PS5’s new features – the console’s 3D audio capabilities also get a nod – rather than a proper delve into Returnal itself. As such, we’ll need to wait patiently for the developer to share more in the way of gameplay specifics.

Thankfully, there’s a gorgeously moody new trailer to accompany Returnal’s release date announcement, and it certainly paints an intriguing picture. Hopes are high for Housemarque’s latest then, as its 19th March launch approaches.