Housemarque has announced Stormdivers, the first game from the Finnish developer since they rather sombrely declared “arcade is dead” following the commercial failure of Nex Machina, all despite the universal praise.
Stormdrivers will be the first title from Housemarque that isn't a top-down shooter. Housemarque describes Stormdivers as a “high-flying and heavy-hitting, multiplayer-centric experience”.
Your guess is as good as mine on that front, but Housemarque is at least a studio at the very top of its game in regards to action. They’ve produced the best top-down shooters of all time in the last decade. In short, they know tight gameplay like the back of their hand, so there’s certainly a level of intrigue in them applying this thinking to competitive multiplayer gaming.
The teaser trailer doesn’t give us much of a sniff as to what Stormdivers actually entails, other than the obvious - battle royale. An encroaching storm is a feature of the genre, as is diving onto a huge map from an insane height. It’s a popular genre choice these days for sure, but no one has yet given it the slick level of polish that Housemarque could. If Stormdivers could aim to be the Rocket League of the battle royale world, we may be in for a treat.
“As a part of our recent transition away from our core genres, we’ve had a hard look at what really makes up an arcade game and how can we bring those elements to whole new heights,” explains the Housemarque team. “Fortunately a few greats have been able to show the way and bring gameplay centric experiences to wider audiences. We hope to expand that progress as we bring our explosive effects and second-to-second gameplay to new genres.”
Stormdivers will be treated as an ongoing service, the first of Housemarque’s games to adopt this strategy. It’s the second game they’ve developed in Unreal Engine 4, after Matterfall, but there’s also a layer of special effects known as the “Housemarqe VFX Engine” being layered on top. In true Housemarque form, this probably translates to insane amounts of particle effects.
No word on platforms or a targeted release date yet, but Stormdivers is definitely one to keep an eye on.