Alienation Q&A with Housemarque

Housemarque is one of the most prolific and talented independent development teams in the gaming industry. The Finland studio was founded in 1995 and has created memorable titles such as Super Stardust, Dead Nation, Outland and a game many consider to be the best PS4 title to date – Resogun.

During Gamecom 2014, Housemarque announced their next twin-stick shooter would continue the developer’s partnership with Sony Entertainment by being a PlayStation 4 exclusive titled “Alienation.” This “spiritual successor” to Dead Nation offers drop-in and drop-out play as soldiers fight off impressive swarms of enemy forces.

Tommaso De Benetti, Community Manager at Housemarque, shared insight into the development progress of Alienation and what fans can look forward to. Tommaso is forthcoming that the game is in a pre-alpha build currently, and there are some aspects which are still not finalized and cannot be discussed.


Q: How do you describe Alienation to people who haven’t heard of it?

Alienation is a sci-fi top-down shooter that you can play in single or in co-op with up to 3 friends. It’s more than Dead Nation in the future – we’re incorporating elements from other genres as well, like loot, for example.

Q: What is the inspiration for Alienation?

We’ve been looking at our own past titles and tried to figure out how to take them to the next level, not only tech-wise, but also gameplay-wise. The sci-fi setting opened up possibilities we wouldn’t have had with another zombie game. That said, it’s no secret we’re fans of some elements of Destiny and Diablo. We wanted to answer the question “what does a player do when the campaign is over?”.
Alienation BattleQ: What are the different gameplay modes available?

We’ve been talking only about the campaign thus far, which you can play alone or in co-op. There’s more, but we’ll discuss the rest later in the year.

Q:  How many different classes are there? Do they play differently?

Alienation will launch with 3 classes; each of them has different pros and cons and specific abilities. So it’s not only “this one is faster” and “that one is more resistant,” each class is supposed to offer new approaches to battle, and these approaches can be combined between players.

Q: I’m a huge trophy fan. Are there any unique or different trophies within Alienation? What lessons learned from Resogun did the team take away that helped with Alienation?

Most likely. Trophies will be added closer to release but if there’s something we learned from Resogun is that players love trophies, so we’re certainly looking at ways to expand that concept within the game.

Q: Have you looked into porting Alienation to Vita like Resogun was eventually?

No, we’re focused only on the PS4 version of the game, as we’re trying to squeeze all the power we can out of the machine. Porting the game to other platforms is usually up to our publisher, Sony XDev.

Alienation AlienQ: Will there be any user generated content in Alienation?

There are ways to continue the game after the campaign, let’s put it like that. We can’t speak about those yet.

Q: What is your design philosophy for creating games?

I think gameplay is still king for us. Even when we’re looking at more complicated stories or characters, we give absolute priority to the game. If the setting or a story element makes the game slower or less fun to play, it must go – it doesn’t matter how cool it looks on paper. In that sense, we’re very much trying to keep the spirit of arcade games alive.

Q: What advice do you have for designers trying to break into the industry?

Develop games in your free time. Start small and complete what you start. A small, complete game is the best CV you can ever have in this industry.

Q: Any chance for a Resogun sequel?

Not in the immediate future, but never say never. There have been a few Stardust titles from us, after all.

Alienation is coming soon to the PlayStation 4 and will most likely have additional announcements during this year’s E3. Visit Housemarque’s website and sign up for super secrets in their “accidental leak” newsletter.