Returnal - Hostiles Trailer & Enemies Details

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LuminaryGhost

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#1  Edited By LuminaryGhost

There’s a new Returnal trailer detailing some of the enemy design. The game is about 2 weeks out, the more I see of it the more interested I am! I’m likely going to pick it up on launch, barring any performance issues.

There’s also a PlayStation blog entry about the game here.

When creating the organic enemies of Returnal, one of the biggest sources of inspiration for me was looking at bioluminescent deep-sea creatures. In many ways they felt like the most alien lifeforms one could find here on Earth. There is something inherently unsettling and foreign about the deep-sea as an environment for us. The way these creatures move deep underwater, with their long tentacles and bioluminescent highlights, can often appear majestic, beautiful and downright terrifying. It’s also not uncommon for these creatures to use their luminous beauty to allure or distract their prey (for example, with a dazzling display of bioluminescence), and suddenly strike when their prey is least expecting it. This combination of chaotic beauty and nightmarish aggression was something we aimed to capture with our organic creatures’ aesthetic.

Towards this purpose we ended up creating our own special VFX-driven tentacle tech and used it very liberally. These fully dynamic elements bring that chaotic beauty to the enemies we were after, and also created some really satisfying feedback for players as well.

For instance, the bioluminescent emissives on tentacles are strongly highlighted to telegraph oncoming attacks and provide satisfying hit reactions when enemies are shot (or when an enemy is killed, where they blow up in a glorious explosion of severed tentacles). The strong emissive highlights also connect back to our Bullet Hell attacks, where our projectiles naturally inherit this vibrant “energy signature” from our enemies, to create a cohesive aesthetic that strongly reinforces our gameplay intent as well.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#2  Edited By ll_Exile_ll  Online

I am definitely interested in this game, it looks good and I've enjoyed Housemarque's games in the past. However, something just feels very wrong about this game being priced at $70. Maybe I'm wrong and it will be an experience that justifies that price point, but it just doesn't sit right.

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bigsocrates

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@ll_exile_ll: I'm also a skeptic. I like Housemarque's output for the most part, but they've never done anything this big before and Matterfall (which I haven't played yet because there hasn't been a good sale) was apparently good but not great (Nex Machina was awesome but apparently sold poorly.) A $70 Roguelike 3D 3rd person shooter seems like a pretty risky proposition from them, and we haven't seen much about the game. If I had to guess I think this is going to end up very divisive, with most people thinking it's not great but a small core audience loving it. It feels very underpromoted for a big Sony exclusive, especially given the way the market is now.

I'm waiting on review scores for sure.

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peffy

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I don't think I would like this game, cuz I don't really enjoy bullet hell or shooters or roguelikes, but ... "VFX-driven tentacle tech" ... .... .... I really love tentacles..

I think the narrative in this game could be something special. It's awesome that they chose a woman for the protagonist, especially one who might be in her 40s or so. The monster design looks really cool, too. I'd consider playing it if the gameplay was.. not what it is. Might enjoy watching someone stream this.

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Morningstar

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This looks like a 40 dollar game to me. Perhaps there is more to it. Excited for a quick look of this.

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glots

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#6  Edited By glots

Upon the original announcement, I was just glad to see a new Housemarque title, after they had some rough going with their last few games. After every new trailer/stream and article I've read of the game, I've grown more excited for it and now I'm definitely way interested in it. If it manages to be even half as good as Hades, which is now my go-to roguelike (one with an evolving and good narrative at that), I'll be pretty stoked.

The price is...eh, yeah. If Hades had cost 80€ to grab originally, I probably wouldn't have jumped on it as fast as I did, but I think that by the time I had +45 hours clocked in, it would've justified that price tag too. Unless the reviews trash Returnal completely, I think I'm ready to drop the asking price on launch day already, even if just to support Housemarque, because I'd hate to see them taking a new step with this and then just having it flop terribly.

Also Selene is voiced by Jane Perry of Diana (Hitman) fame!

P.S. I watched the State of Play stream from a while back just recently that the duders talked over and Jeff mentioned that it is kinda odd/dumb, how roguelikes do have this stigma of "Well a roguelike game can't be full-priced, because reasons" and I have some of that same "brainrot" too. Because visually this looks kinda amazing to me (especially in motion and with 60fps) and it sounds like they're doing neat stuff with the Dualsense too, so it's not like this is just a PS4 downloadable game that they're putting out on PS5.

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TheRealTurk

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The number of times "tentacles" are mentioned in that press release makes this sound like a hentai game.

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bigsocrates

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@glots: I don't think it's the fact that it's a roguelike that makes me dubious about the price, it's more the company's track record (mostly great games, but definitely smaller experiences) and size.

I'm concerned that Housemarque either bit off more than they could chew here, or that the game actually doesn't have a ton of content because it comes from a small team that had to learn a whole new style of game design. The fact that they haven't showed much of it just compounds that. Hades was worth $70 IMO, but because it was insanely polished and had a ton of content. We have no idea about either of those things here.

If reviews come out and say "this is great and makes for a fantastic 25 hour campaign with a lot of variety" I'll happily pay $70 for it. But I feel like there's an equal chance that it's either short or repetitive or unpolished.

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glots

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#9  Edited By glots

@bigsocrates: Yeah, it’s definitely not everyone who has doubts about the price (or the game as a whole) just because it’s a roguelike. Doing a game with a narrative in much bigger focus and also marrying it with the looping gameplay of a roguelike is a pretty risky move to make. But it’s also something they’ve been working on for three years (though I think they are using things they learned from Stormdivers, so one could say technically 4-5 years) so I’ve some faith in them pulling through. We’ll see soon.

Though they actually *do* have some experience on narrative-driven games, but I don’t think a lot of people in 2021 remember Alien Incident anymore...they really should put that thing out on GoG.

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bigsocrates

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@glots: I am sure they have not lost a step in the last 25 years.

Honestly, narrative is not my biggest concern with the game. Most game narratives are bad, and narrative is something that I think you can do well just by hiring one or two people who understand how to do it.

My biggest concerns are the amount of content (can a team this small make a big budget 3D game in the same time they usually took to make mid-budget 2D shooters, which is a style they were experts in?) and difficulty to gameplay refinement.

Housemarque games tend to be pretty tough, and that's fine when they're as great as Resogun or Nex Machina, but if this game is a little less refined because this is their first time working in 3D like this AND it's super tough because that's what they do...no thank you. That's just a recipe for frustration.

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ThePanzini

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#11  Edited By ThePanzini

Whenever I hear the phrase roguelite my first thought is not a lot of content on repeat, and I admire the games Housemarque make but never been a fan.

Returnal has a lot of obstacles for me, a genre I don't really like and one I find is often lacking in content. And this being the first AAA game from Housemarque with a very high price point.

The game would have to score really really well, while being praised from folks not normally into these types of games.

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C0rey

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I am definitely interested in this game, it looks good and I've enjoyed Housemarque's games in the past. However, something just feels very wrong about this game being priced at $70. Maybe I'm wrong and it will be an experience that justifies that price point, but it just doesn't sit right.

I also think that the price is too high

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glots

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I am sure they have not lost a step in the last 25 years.

A point 'n click game in 1996 and a roguelike in 2021. It's basically the same thing when writing a narrative, if you really, really think about it.

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bigsocrates

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@glots: If this thing was sold as a roguelike point and click story adventure from the people who brought you Resogun I would buy it for $70 on the sheer chutzpah of the pitch alone.

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LuminaryGhost

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I guess I don’t really understand the apprehension about the price. It’s a high budget third person shooter with roguelike elements. It’s not really the same as something like Hades, as an example.

I’m also someone who is coming from a place of privilege where a $89.99CAD full priced game doesn’t really dent my wallet much, so I have no problem paying full price for games if it hits all the boxes for me. Returnal seems to be that kind of game for me (Sony and Nintendo games in general).

I can understand people not being able to afford or wanting to spend $79.99USD/$89.99USD on the game at launch, but you’ll find sales if the game isn’t selling much anyway after a few months, so why not just wait?

It’s just unfortunately the cost of the game keeps coming into the conversation whenever the game is shown. It’s an odd argument that tends to happen in gaming more so than other industries. I rarely hear the same argument repeated over and over again about movies or books for example. If people say $15 is too much for a movie in theatre and they’d rather wait, they just do and it’s not constantly brought up. Likewise with people not wanting to spend $30 on a hardcover book, they’ll just wait for a paperback release.

With gaming it seems like people are super fixated on price and the value proposition it provides. I find it kind of odd.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#16 ll_Exile_ll  Online

I guess I don’t really understand the apprehension about the price. It’s a high budget third person shooter with roguelike elements. It’s not really the same as something like Hades, as an example.

We don't know that it's a high budget game, you're just assuming that. Housemarque is a studio of only 80 employees (Naughty Dog has nearly 500 for comparison) and they've never done a AAA game before. Based on everything we know, Returnal has been in some form of development since 2018, but as late as January 2020 they were still working on multiple projects at once (Housemarque puts all other projects on hold to focus on "most ambitious game to date" | GamesIndustry.biz). I think it's fair to be skeptical that a studio of this size, that's never done a AAA game before, with this amount of development time, is going to put out a game that justifies a $70 price point.

I can understand people not being able to afford or wanting to spend $79.99USD/$89.99USD on the game at launch, but you’ll find sales if the game isn’t selling much anyway after a few months, so why not just wait?

Not really sure what this point is supposed to address. I can't speak for everyone, but at least for myself when I express skepticism about the price point it's the context of why I probably won't get the game at launch. I assume most folks who don't feel great about the price are indeed going to wait for a price drop. "Why not just wait?" is a silly thing to say when that's almost assuredly what the people who don't like the price point are going to do. Are you implying that someone who is waiting for a price drop should just shut up and not complain?

It’s just unfortunately the cost of the game keeps coming into the conversation whenever the game is shown. It’s an odd argument that tends to happen in gaming more so than other industries. I rarely hear the same argument repeated over and over again about movies or books for example. If people say $15 is too much for a movie in theatre and they’d rather wait, they just do and it’s not constantly brought up. Likewise with people not wanting to spend $30 on a hardcover book, they’ll just wait for a paperback release.

With gaming it seems like people are super fixated on price and the value proposition it provides. I find it kind of odd.

It's not odd at all. The other mediums, for the most part, have fixed prices. Essentially every movie ticket is priced the same, but games have several distinct pricing tiers based on what a game offers. What you're seeing here is a game priced as a big budget AAA game while many are skeptical that the game will offer that type of experience. It's not hard to understand. If someone doesn't think seeing a specific movie in theatres is worth the price the form, the only option is to wait for home release. There doesn't exist the concept of a movie with a ticket price half that of blockbusters like their exists the $20-$30 game, so saying a specific movie should have cheaper tickets is not a thing.

While it is unfortunate the game's price point has been a major talking point, it's not for no reason. The marketing has not done a enough job to convince people that the game justifies a the price point. The same thing happened with Destruction All Stars, though the response to that so thoroughly dominated the discussion that Sony moved it to PS+. I think the biggest shame out of the whole thing is that Sony has likely priced Returnal out of success. I just don't see it doing very well in terms of sales at this price point, even if the game is good.

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ThePanzini

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#17  Edited By ThePanzini

I think success for Returnal will ultimately be determined by strong reviews and word of mouth, these focused AAA titles tend not to get big marketing pushes. Roguelites don't really produce sexy trailers, most of Hades success was from postive wom.

Control was made by ~100 people over 3 years costing 30m to make and found big success only shifting 2m copies, given Housemarque's a smaller team and Returnal a first party release that bar should be lower again.

While the asking price is high it is releasing on a new console, scoring well Returnal should have a pretty long tail being on a new box. Roguelites also do show well across Twitch.

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LuminaryGhost

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@ll_exile_ll: I disagree with the idea that it’s not a high budget game. I’m not making assumptions, it’s quite obvious that the game is larger than Housemarque’s previous titles in terms of scope and ambition, which you mentioned, which inherently means higher budget. The comparison to Naughty Dog doesn’t really make sense — AAA development doesn’t mean it has to be as large or ambitious as a Naughty Dog title.

Yes, the point about price I was making was with regards to game enthusiast interjecting this point in every instance that the game is shown off. Outside of gaming and the gamer enthusiast bubble, most people would just say “it’s too pricey for me so I’ll just wait” and move on. In no other hobby or industry is this really as prevalent as gaming, it just makes it seem like gamers are far more price sensitive than other forms of entertainment.

The movie example I gave is also relatable to gaming as I mentioned before and I disagree with your thought that movie prices are fixed, they aren’t as the price varies depending on the desired experience — 3D, IMAX, VIP, Regular, etc. People also have options if they don’t want to see the movie in IMAX, they can watch in regular for example. Likewise, if they don’t deem it valuable to watch the movie in theatres, they’ll wait for an iTunes release, Netflix, etc The thing is in those instances, no one keep berating that movies are too expensive so it’s not “worth it” — they just don’t go and watch them and wait, or find it valuable and go.

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glots

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Humanity

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I don't have a PS5 and likely won't have one for a while so as a pure spectator from the sidelines it looks like a triple AAA produced roguelite which bears all the pros and cons of the genre depending on what you like. That said in this case specifically it is a roguelite that is priced at $70 which is the biggest difference as many have discussed above. A lot of people that buy these don't ever actually finish them but it's fine because at $20 you don't feel too bad when you put the game aside after you've had your fill even if you don't reach the end. At this new next-gen price it's not nearly as throwaway.

So generally I'm curious how this will do. I'm anticipating it will find a small but dedicated core group of supporters but casual gamers or folks who just don't like roguelite elements will be hesitant to buy this at full price and will instead wait for it to end up on PS+ as it inevitably will. Unfortunately developers don't benefit from second-market sales so it has a high potential for flopping at launch.

Gamers are fickle and often unreasonable when it comes to this stuff. Recently on ResetEra there was a storm about the latest reveal that Sony decided to pass on a Days Gone sequel because the original didn't do well enough. Then when one of the original game devs commented that if people are passionate about a franchise they should buy games at full price instead of waiting for sales or to get it free on PS+ there was a huge pushback by the same folks calling the developer greedy and entitled. But sales are everything. Franchises won't survive on admiration alone. Gaming is an expensive hobby and risky proposition for both the developer and the consumer. Dedicating three years of your life to a project that ends up flopping after a week must be soul crushing.

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bigsocrates

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@humanity: The "you should buy games at launch" thing was hot garbage coming from that developer for 2 reasons. 1) It's your job to make the games appealing to buy at launch by making games that people want to play. 2) That game was a buggy pile of garbage at launch. Anyone who bought it at launch got a horrible experience. A lot of people stayed away for that reason.

I am a Days Gone defender when it comes to the game's quality post-patches, but launching a broken game and then whining that not enough people bought it at launch is incredibly entitled. And how were people even supposed to know if they wanted a sequel before they played it. "Buy a game at launch if you want a sequel" is an argument that makes no sense!

I also don't understand what you mean by "developers don't benefit from second-market sales." This is a Sony published game so presumably if it wasn't too expensive (which it shouldn't be given team size) and it gets a cult following and does well on PS+ eventually they will be happy. Are you talking about the used physical market?

@glots: Early impressions are super positive. I'm interested to see if it holds up as people play further and also get an idea for length, but at this point I'm much more excited than I was earlier. I hope reviews drop before the game releases.

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CreepingDeath0

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This is shaping up to look REALLY good. But I just can't justify £70 for it. Or any game for that matter.

Funnily enough, if I could find it for the equivalent of $70 I'd be all over it.

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Humanity

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@bigsocrates: Days Gone isn't getting a sequel because it wasn't a very good game, patched or not. It only sold "well enough" and the bugs certainly didn't help things either. That said plenty of people don't buy good games at full price either. The sentiment here is not to buy bad games blindly because you might want a sequel to a game you haven't even experienced yet - thats absurd. The idea is to support good products that you care about. If a game reviews extremely well like theoretically Returnal, but a lot of people look at the $70 price tag and decide to wait for a sale or buy it used a year later because they still have a backlog, then that hurts the developer.

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bigsocrates

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@humanity: Buying a game is a personal consumption decision based on whether you think it's worth it or not. It's not really the consumer's job to support the developer with their money, partially because as an individual your choices have very little impact. It's about whether the product is worth it to you.

And of course buying a game at a discount does benefit the developer. There are plenty of examples of games that became profitable after they had big price cuts or went on sale.

The best way to support the developer is to talk up the game to others so they buy it (at a discount or not) and to some extent to buy DLC or other stuff for the games you like. Also if you really love a developer it can make sense to pre-order their games because you have faith in them.

But buying a game you don't think is going to be worth the cost? That's not the way to go.

It's the publisher/developer's responsibility to offer a compelling product at a competitive price.

Companies are not our friends.

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peffy

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Previews look great. I wonder if anyone at Giant Bomb played it yet?

It always stuck out to me when, during a couple of Bombcasts, they were listing off upcoming games (while complaining that there aren't many games coming out this year) and completely forgot Returnal both times.

Anyway, like I said before, it's still not my kind of game so I won't be buying it. (also $70 US = $90 in Canada, and soon the government will be charging sales tax on digital products so make that $102. Let me remind you that a full price digital game at the start of PS4 gen cost me $60. I'm gonna be waiting for sales more often.)

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bigsocrates

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Reviews just hit and they're very positive, for the most part.

I guess I'm in at launch for this one.

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