While many of the PlayStation 5’s features are meant to improve the experience for gamers, one feature seems to have had the opposite effect for Returnal players. After developer Housemarque pushed a Returnal patch live, some PS5s reset the current progress for players depending on which features they have turned on.
It has been widely reported that Returnal does not offer any form of mid-run save, so players will need to make a certain amount of progress within the game in order to get to something that resembles a checkpoint. Even then, runs can take hours just to get to a good stopping point.
However, there is a way for Returnal players to use the rest mode on the PS5 and “save” the game that way. As long as the PS5 remains in rest mode and they don’t switch to any other games, PS5 owners can retain the progress they made in Returnal and pick up another day. Unfortunately, a different PS5 feature can impact that handy trick.
If PS5 owners have automatic updates turned on for their games, then the console will periodically check if a new patch or update is available, download it, and then restart the game. It’s that last part that has frustrated Returnal players that were using the rest mode as a way to save. On Monday morning, Housemarque pushed a patch live for Returnal and PS5 users who had automatic downloads turned on found that their game had closed.
Closing the game is part of the process of the automatic update download and outside of the player’s control if they have the feature turned on. Many players didn’t even realize that they turned on the feature or didn’t know that it would impact their Returnal progress, and unfortunately, now they do. And for the record, the patch didn’t even include any notes about what it fixed or changed.
For as long as Returnal players are working through the cyclical story of Selene, it’s recommended that they go into their settings and turn off the automatic update download feature. Developer Housemarque has hinted that it might offer players a way to save their runs in-game, but until that feature is added any interruption can put an existing run at risk. Disconnecting the power to the PS5, for example, will also “kill” a run.
There has been some debate online about the nature of Returnal as a rogue-like and whether or not it should have a save feature. Rogue-like games typically don’t offer a way for players to save their game mid-run, but usually those runs are much shorter than a full playthrough of Returnal. Players can spend hours scouring every room in just a few Returnal biomes, and losing that progress can be very deflating.
Hopefully, the discussion has at least left Housemarque with some considerations when it comes to saving the game. Losing progress to a mistake in-game is one thing, but losing progress because of a useful PS5 feature is another.
Returnal is available now for PS5.