If you’re fond of keeping up to date on games that were seemingly never meant to be (they were cancelled), then you may be interested to learn what the team at Housemarque was working on. Best known for their PSN games such as Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD, Housemarque apparently was branching out into new territory: the ever complex sub-genre of licensed video games.
Uncovered by Superannuation, some concept art has been unearthed of two key Housemarque projects that never saw the light of day: game adaptations of The Walking Dead and Superman. Alongside a proposed Dead Nation sequel that was cancelled, likely because Sony wasn’t interested in it, Housemarque put together pitches for their take on The Walking Dead and the superhero legend that is Superman.
It’s unknown just how much time Housemarque put in these projects as they could’ve never gone beyond the initial pitch stage. With their take on The Walking Dead it appeared that Housemarque was taking a note from Dead Nation as one concept image shows an isometric perspective with the accompanying co-op gameplay that was present in the hit PSN game.
Concept art from Housemarque's proposed version of The Walking Dead
Unlike The Walking Dead game from Telltale, Housemarque seemed to be blending artistic styles from both the graphic novel and the AMC series as opposed to favoring one over the other. Perhaps already drawing the ire from those tired of zombie centric shoot-em-ups, the potential of a Walking Dead game in the vein of Dead Nation could’ve been interesting if Housemarque managed to properly leverage the narrative strands the series is known for instead of casting it aside for constant action.
Housemarque may have presented a familiar style with their take on The Walking Dead, but the studio was going in a more interesting direction with their take on Superman. Again devoid of any core details, Housemarque’s Superman pitch included Kal-El in his iconic blue & red outfit along with the appearance of big baddies such as Doomsday, yet things were going in a more unique direction. As opposed to presenting Superman as a flawless deity, Housemarque was trying to show what constant battles has done to the actual man beneath the suit.
Character art for Superman
According to a comment made by artist Amar Djouad, Housemarque was attempting to show a an older version of Superman that was simply worn out from carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. It’s a shame that Housemarque’s Superman project was the latest attempt to be kicked to the curb (Factor 5 was the first) as it could’ve been interesting to see a more tragic, perhaps Atlas inspired, take on the character of Superman.
Based on how Housemarque pitched a Superman game to WB Games/DC, it's unknown if we'll see a new Man of Steel game from another studio down the road. As of now WB hasn't revealed a tie-in game for the forthcoming Man of Steel flick nor have there been any rumors of a Batman: Arkham Asylum type reboot game for the character.
With these two projects sadly not being picked up by their respective license holders/publishers, it’s unknown what Housemarque is currently working on. There haven’t been any signs that the fate of the studio is in jeopardy, so it could only be a question of when, and what, Housemarque will finally reveal to us when the time is right.
[art via Amar Djouad]