A mid-run Returnal save system is one of the most requested features from players at the moment. While the roguelike saves certain permanent unlocks between runs, there is no way to power off your PS5 or switch games in the middle of a cycle without it restarting. In an interview with Axios Gaming, Housemarque’s Marketing Director Mikael Haveri confirmed the feature is “something that we’re actively, very actively trying to get out as soon as we can.”
Housemarque wanted players to feel like Returnal was challenging with an “easy to learn, but hard to master” mentality. Part of the game’s design to achieve this was the inability to save in the middle of a run. Many players complained about this, especially those that felt they didn’t have enough time to complete a single lengthy run in one sitting. Having listened to the feedback, Haveri said “we understand that there are some systems in place that are currently a hindering factor.” As such, the team is trying to find a solution as soon as possible.
What that solution will be remains to be seen. The team is trying to come up with a solution but they “just don’t know exactly what it is.” Because they feel like “there’s a lot of different people looking for different things,” they need a solution that suits as many people as possible. Some players have suggested a save file system where the game forces players to quit their run when they save. When that save is reloaded and players resume their run, the save file is deleted. This would maintain the integrity of the game while providing a solution for those who can’t play for 3-5 hours at a time, however it still doesn’t resolve the issue of “save scumming,” or uploading the save to cloud to recover later should the run end in disaster.
Returnal recently received Patch 1.3.6 that reinstated the fixes initially introduced with Patch 1.3.3, including rare crashes, issues with pre-order suits, and custom controller mapping problems. When 1.3.3. was found to cause widespread save corruption, Housemarque rolled the game back to a more stable build. Housemarque then issued advice for those who were affected by the corruption issues, although some players did unfortunately lose all their progress. It has since received additional patches and is now stable and safe to play without fear of save corrupting issues.