Our special report on the Finnish game industry continues today with a look at one of the country's longest standing developers, which created Super Stardusts – a series still seeing releases 16 years after its debut.
IPs: Super Stardust HD, Rope
Specialty: Console downloads
As one of the first game companies established in Finland, Housemarque is a relative old-timer in the Helsinki community, having formed in 1995.
An amalgamation of early Finnish developers Bloodhouse and Terramarque that started making Amiga games like Super Stardust, Housemarque now focuses on downloadable games for consoles.
Having enjoyed early success on Sony’s PSN service with Super Stardust HD, the Housemarque team have carved a niche in designing what they call small high end games.
“We aim to create games that are small in size that are still of triple-A quality,” says CEO and co-founder Ilaro Kuittinen, who is also chairman of the board of the Association of Finnish Game Developers.
So far Kuittinen’s team have delivered on that promise, with Super Stardust HD ranked as the third best seller on PSN in 2008. Two pieces of PSN-exclusive original IP are in progress for 2010, as is a multiplatform game for a leading publisher.
Housemarque is also planning on moving towards self-publishing with Rope – a physics-based game already approved in concept form for PSN. Kuittinen also revealed that his studio hopes to move the game to Xbox 360, and possibly WiiWare and iPhone.
This may be a bold move as, while Housemarque will crucially retain complete ownership of its IP, it will lose the marketing assistance normally provided for by an external publisher like Sony.