"Lackluster" sales of the brilliant Nex Machina were the icing on the cake for Finnish developer Housemarque - from here on out it will no longer make arcade games.
Super Stardust developer Housemarque's recent PS4 opus Resogun was described by many as a modern update to Eugene Jarvis' 1981 arcade game Defender. And now the developer is working with Jarvis himself on its next game.
The Super Stardust spiritual successor is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, developer Housemarque has announced.
Finnish developer Housemarque, which also made Dead Nation and Outland, is hard at work on the game as we speak.
Housemarque boss Ilari Kuittinen said: "We are super excited to be working on Sony's next-gen hardware. The platform's performances are enabling us to do things that wouldn't be possible otherwise and we truly believe that better technology can lead to better gameplay. The more tools and resources we have at our disposal, the better.
"It's a gamer's game."
It's hard to believe that Super Stardust HD recently celebrated its second birthday. Play the game today and it's still one of the most technically adept, brilliantly conceived and ultra-addictive shooting games available on the current generation of consoles. Where Xbox 360 has its Geometry Wars, PlayStation 3 has Stardust. Both superb, both essential.
Super Stardust is one of the most concentrated shoot-'em-ups ever made. There are no breaks in the action, no cut-scenes, never a moment to pause, to marvel at the firework display of particle effects exploding around you, or even to pay much attention to your current score. Your tiny ship, caught in a maelstrom of asteroids and alien attackers, weaves through a constantly shifting maze, firing one of three different bullet types in all directions, collecting pick-ups, deploying smart bombs and dashing through the ever-encroaching clusters of obstacles. The result is a breathtaking flurry of twitch-gaming, a scramble to steady your disorientation amongst the hubbub, and a constant prayer that the sum of your skill and luck will be enough to overcome the odds that are so overtly stacked against you.
Originally released on PlayStation Network for PS3, Super Stardust HD is the closest Sony's console has to a Geometry Wars. While the game lacks some of its rival's finesse, not to mention its narrow but deep design, perfectly pitched difficulty and always on-screen high-score challenge, it nevertheless holds its own, maintaining its position as the strongest shooter on PSN even 18 months later. But the move to PSP hardware, with its different control configuration, demanded tweaks: changes that will upset the muscle memory that fans have spent so long developing.
The handheld's analogue stick still controls the movement of the ship, but 360-degree fire has been reduced to eight directions. Each face button, pressed on its own, directs your stream of fire toward that side of a compass. Used in conjunction with another button you can fire across the diagonals, but whichever way you look at it this is a noticeable limitation of the original's analogue precision.
Sony has backed up its commitment to PSP by unveiling several new titles during its E3 press conference.