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Returnal dev Housemarque wins this year's Breakthrough Award at the Golden Joysticks

Returnal developer Housemarque has taken home the Breakthrough Award at this year's Golden Joystick Awards

The trophy, which was decided by critics from GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, Edge, Play Magazine, and Retro Gamer, has gone to the now PlayStation-owned studio, who delivered the PS5 exclusive title Returnal in March this year. 

Housemarque has released many games before this, but our panel believes this is the game that's pushed the studio truly into the spotlight. The developer's other titles include Nex Machina, Matterfall, Resogun, and Alienation.

Returnal took PS5 gamers on a roguelike adventure like no other with a take on the genre that blended it with a third-person shooter. Delivering a beguilingly weird blockbuster, with a narrative that keeps evolving every time you beat it, it was the first this year to explore an eternal time loop. It's bullet-hell, it's roguelike, but it's also totally its own.

It arrived as the first post-launch PS5 exclusive back in March, and beautifully demonstrated many of the console's unique features. From 3D Audio to the delicate recreations of raindrops using the haptic feedback in the DualSense, it was quite the technical spectacle. 

"Returnal is a breakaway from the type of exclusive Sony has focused on in recent years, using a genre that has only recently come back into fashion as a starting point for a story that makes you work to understand it, offering plenty to chew on without wrapping it up neatly," we wrote in our Returnal review. "It’s an unexpectedly daring step forward for a developer who has refined what makes its style so compelling while adding in new elements."

You can play Returnal now on PS5.

Sam Loveridge

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for over seven years, and for GamesRadar, she is in charge of reviews, best lists, and the overall running of the site and its staff. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles!