Housemarque’s upcoming third-person shooter Returnal marks a big change of pace for the developer. Beyond the increased level of production in comparison to its resume of arcade games over the past decade, it marks the first time that storytelling and narrative design through cinematic elements is a central element of the design.
Today, in the fourth and latest episode of its HouseCast dev diary, narrative director Gregory Louden explains how storytelling in Returnal fits in with the typically gameplay-centric design of traditional Housemarque games. He runs through a number of examples that highlight how storytelling is conveyed in an organic and seamless fashion without interrupting the pace and flow of gameplay.
There are also some story tidbits that he uses as examples, which tease some interesting themes and narrative arcs we’ll experience throughout the game — obviously, no spoilers!
The episode is below. Be sure to visit the developer’s YouTube channel to catch up on the previous three if you haven’t yet seen them.
Returnal is currently slated for release exclusively on the PlayStation 5 later this month, April 30. For more on the game, check out one of its most recent trailers. It focuses on the story, and also gives a brief peek at some first person segments. Likewise, there’s the recent announcement that the game has gone gold which can be viewed here.