Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


Returnal Save Feature Being Investigated

by Marcus Stewart on May 14, 2021 at 01:38 PM

Want The Next Issue In Your Mailbox?

Subscribe now

Two things generally come to mind while I'm playing Returnal. One is “Wow, this game is pretty fun!” and the second is “I kind of wish I could save because I need to go to bed.” Most players seem to enjoy the game but have been vocal about the lack of a proper save system. Thankfully for those players, Housemarque has heard the complaints and is investigating a solution. Just don't expect a fix to come in the very near future.

If you haven’t played Returnal, the game is a third-person roguelite where players blast their way through ever-changing levels teeming with hostile aliens. It’s a very challenging game, especially since you can’t save your progress. At all. That can get hairy since a good run often lasts for a couple of hours at least, and dying (or quitting) restarts you from the beginning of the game due to its time-loop story premise. 

If you need to walk away mid-run, putting the PS5 into rest mode is the only way to halt and preserve your progress. At best, you’re burning electricity for potentially hours until you return. At worst, the game closes anyway due to the occasionally unreliable nature of suspend mode, a sudden power outage, or an auto-update forces Returnal to close to install a new patch (though you can disable that feature at least). 

So what can be done? Speaking to Axios Gaming, Housemarque marketing director Mikael Haveri acknowledges the complaints, saying “We understand that there are some systems in place that are currently a hindering factor,” and that the team is very much looking into a remedy. However, it sounds like introducing saves won’t be as easy as simply flipping a switch.

In terms of figuring out a solution, Haveri says “But currently, we just don't know exactly what it is. So it's very difficult to announce anything, because I think there's a lot of different people looking for different things.”

Housemarque intentionally designed Returnal as a hardcore experience, lack of saves included, so introducing the feature likely requires more work than players may realize. You’ll just have to take solace in knowing a save system of some sort is in the works. Preserving save files has been the story of Housemarque's life since Returnal launched. It recently squashed a progress corrupting bug that plagued players following an update.

I love Returnal but as I explore deeper and my sessions grow longer, I find myself wishing I could put it down without leaving the machine running. I personally don’t think it would spoil the experience to have a normal save system. Hades, for example, allows you to save mid-run and it didn’t take away from that game’s challenge. We’ll see what Housemarque comes up with while I continue to pray that lightning doesn’t knock out my PS5 while my current awesome run is suspended.

Do you want to see Returnal get a save system or are you satisfied with its hardcore design as it is? Let us know in the comments! 

[Source: Axios Gaming]

Products In This Article



PlayStation 5, PC
Release Date:
April 30, 2021 (PlayStation 5), 
February 15, 2023 (PC)