Returnal developer Housemarque has taken home the Breakthrough Award at this year’s Golden Joystick Awards.
The trophy, which was decided by critics from GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, Edge, Play Magazine, and Retro Gamer, has gone to the now PlayStation-owned studio, who delivered the PS5 exclusive title Returnal in March this year.
Housemarque has released many games before this, but our panel believes this is the game that’s pushed the studio truly into the spotlight. The developer’s other titles include Nex Machina, Matterfall, Resogun, and Alienation.
Returnal took PS5 gamers on a roguelike adventure like no other with a take on the genre that blended it with a third-person shooter. Delivering a beguilingly weird blockbuster, with a narrative that keeps evolving every time you beat it, it was the first this year to explore an eternal time loop. It’s bullet-hell, it’s roguelike, but it’s also totally its own.
It arrived as the first post-launch PS5 exclusive back in March, and beautifully demonstrated many of the console’s unique features. From 3D Audio to the delicate recreations of raindrops using the haptic feedback in the DualSense, it was quite the technical spectacle.
“Returnal is a breakaway from the type of exclusive Sony has focused on in recent years, using a genre that has only recently come back into fashion as a starting point for a story that makes you work to understand it, offering plenty to chew on without wrapping it up neatly,” we wrote in our Returnal review. “It’s an unexpectedly daring step forward for a developer who has refined what makes its style so compelling while adding in new elements.”
You can play Returnal now on PS5.