Returnal is one of the best PlayStation 5 games you can buy right now, but it has had one major criticism levelled at it: its save system – or lack thereof. Currently, the only way to retain your progress during a run is to put your console in Rest Mode, but this creates all kinds of hiccups with regards to the PS5’s automatic update system, and it effectively prevents you from multitasking. (We can’t help but wonder whether Sony had originally planned a Quick Resume-style feature for PS5 that Housemarque had intended to utilise but it never made it into the final OS.)
Whatever the case, Finnish developer Housemarque is still searching for a solution. Newsletter Axios quotes marketing bigwig Mikael Haveri as saying that the firm’s “looking into improving the game’s limited save system [but hasn’t] decided on the best approach to take”. Don’t expect this to be resolved in the relatively near-future, then.
In addition to the save system, the team is busy beavering away on “new content and updates and fixes and stuff like that”, so potentially expect some kind of DLC to deploy later in the year. What would you like to see added to Returnal? Would you play some new levels or are you looking for different modes and challenges? Perhaps you’d appreciate a bit of both?
Save issues... lol.. this is how the game was intended!
If housemarque can give us 3 new biomes with more additional story. I will happily pay 10 to 15 dollar for it. Returnal is a really great game I hope Sony would just buy housemarque already before big money Microsoft try to acquire them.
I just started this last night and am really enjoying it. I can’t wait to get more ways to explore and more weapons to try out.
Brilliant game although the save thing can be annoying I don't mind it too much, hopefully reach the 3rd boss soon. And would definitely buy more dlc for this, it's probably the best game put for ps5 atm
I was going to buy this game but the save thing is a deal breaker. With kids and dog, it isn’t feasible to set aside the TV for 3-4 hours and not have to put it down. I get that they want to prevent save-scumming but the game just doesn’t fit into my life until the save feature is implemented.
@Mega-Gazz so you play for an hour then kill Selene off when you’re done. Your permanent progress will be saved.
Every other roguelike games out there have a save system. This not having it is wrong. It's not because the game is hard, it's because not everyone has hours to play the game every time they start it.
Putting it in rest mode isn't going to do it since you can't do anything while your progress is paused.
There should be bookmarks, not saves. It's so simple to solve the issue while simultaneously keeping the devs' intent intact. It's not even a novel concept. Just do it already.
Edit: Just to 100% clarify, by "bookmark" I mean a save that deletes itself when you start it. It's the exact same thing as rest mode except you could still play another game and/or turn off your console. Lots of other games implement this system.
Beat Act 2 last night after 15 hours. I agree about saving, despite personally having the time to sink into each run. It’s just silly not to have a bookmark.
Hades autosaves after every room and the challenge isn't lost. Very simple solution. Plus, this isn't an issue of difficulty. It's an issue of respecting someone's time and life outside of a video game.
@everynowandben yes. Even old text roguelikes (eg nethack) had this. I should boot up rogue to see if it had it.
And you can implement online if you’re really really worried about save-scumming.
Interesting mention of 'Quick resume' there, I too thought if PS5 had that feature then all this save game moaning would just go away.
I'd be very surprised if it's not in the pipeline though, next big OS patch perhaps.
I don't know why the game made without "save and exit" save system since the runs usually 2 hours long, more if you prepare first and really explore the map.
Most indie roguelikes: Some sorta bookmark/suspend/resume feature.
AAA Dev: Nah mean this seems hard
How about another fix for the hard crashes that are happening when there are too many particles on screen? I emailed Housemarque directly and was told “we’re working on crash issues”, so I guess that’s at least promising...
@nessisonett is the second boss difficult ? Took me a long time and many tries to beat the first boss.
@Dobbos 2nd boss was hard back when I first tried it but I beat it last night without getting hit 😅
Oh and the end of Act 2 is after the 6th biome. It gets a lot harder!
@RBMango they made the game how they intended to make it. If you can't fit it into your life, it ain't intended for you. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing nobody.
@nessisonett I think I am near the second boss for the first time. My ps5 is in in standby. I will give it a shot later. I find this game highly addictive and exciting.
@OMGitsLiamT Then Housemarque are idiots for intending the player to spend potentially hours on a single run without a simple, reliable way to save, and I refuse to buy into this "it's the way it's meant to be played" talk. Housemarque created an enormous design flaw and hurdle that could have been easily avoided. It's that simple.
Also, unless you're getting paid to play it, no studio should be demanding the player to plan their lives around a video game, especially one that released with as many tech issues as Returnal. It's inexcusable.
I am actually leveling up all my weapons to their maximum traits, it is so fun, despite the crashes, sound issues, and some frame rate drops here and there ( some unlocked weapon traits can really make the game struggle to keep up ). This game could use more enemies and I'm so excited the devs are working on more content, so so cool.
@OMGitsLiamT Terrible argument
@TechaNinja let's drop the whole ''AAA Game devs are lazy'', it's not an easy job and therens enough horror stories from any kind lf studio, big and small to prove it.
I unistalled the game, and I'm waiting for updates. I have been working crunch for the past 11 days and I don't have time for nonsense like this. You just need a simple bookmark system to guard against crashes or power surges, things like that. Come on now. I would have beaten this stupid game if not for the crash I got at the end of Act 2, and after that I have lost all motivation of playing it.
Never buying a Housemarque game again. First time day one buyer of one of their games, and never again.
@RBMango there's no flaw in the design. Its a roguelike. See below, specifically the last part.
''Roguelike (or rogue-like) is a subgenre of role-playing video games characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, grid-based movement, and permanent death of the player character.''
@GKT how is it? I've never played the game FYI, coz I ain't into the genre. Don't like the genre, don't play the game. Unsure where the issue lies with people. It's like playing a RPG but hating on the role playing element.
Would love a score attack mode outside the Daily Challenge mode. Maybe a repeatable biome that you play until you die.
Custom starting loadouts would also be cool, along with a biome select option for when you have a specific biome you want to play through without having to use the normal gates.
New content!? I supported Housemarque buying the digital deluxe edition which came to $86 after tax... it’s gonna be hard to shell out more anytime soon!
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon from 2005.
Open menu. Quick save. Game boots you to menu. Next load is forced to be that quick save which then deletes itself.
Fixed it for you.
I am massively disappointed that this game doesn't have a normal save system. That it's a roguelike is not an excuse in this case. Will not buy the game until this issue is resolved by devs.
@Haruki_NLI I guess the risk would be players uploading to the cloud/ps plus. However, having the save file on their servers, would totally work.
If they add more areas or challenges or anything to this game I’ll be there. The credits rolled for me last night and even then I didn’t want to stop playing. Luckily there’s plenty more to do still so am keeping on going. Save would be good sometimes but most of the time I’d died before I’d have had chance to use it 😁
Making excuses for AAA I see
It's pretty obvious here people who are against other Players having a choice between saving the game and not saving it still live at home with their parents and have no responsibilities whatsoever. When you have responsibilities you don't always have the time or any time at all to play such games.
@2cents i was thinking the same thing. At $70 they better be giving away free dlc.
@2cents Yup, I totally agree. For this price, new content should be obligatory and free.
@RBMango Returnal is currently my GOTY and I still agree with this. Auto-save would certainly make it easier, but I don't get why they didn't just put a full run (which really amounts to beating 3 biomes in a row) to a platinum trophy. You should be able to save at each new Biome. It would make the game easier yes, but not so much so. The game as is, is simply not accommodating enough. I would have even put an easy mode in where you keep your proficiency level. And there are certain perks that just should be permanent like the buffed dash or harder-hitting melee.
@RubyCarbuncle To some degree I think it's more that people who have played the game can see that it's not quite as much of a problem as it seems to those who haven't.
I'd still like them to add it, and it sounds like they will, but I can understand why it's at least a little tricky.
Just stick a save in with the option of using it or not.
Pop up menu at the start 'would you like to use this, yes or no because you cant change your mind without starting from scratch'.
That way all these people who think it 'diminishes the vision' can play it without saves as they prefer. Folks who dont care can play it with the save option. I mean, how other people play has no bearing on the other persons experience at all. So why would it matter to just have the option.
I finally made it to the fifth biome after an incredible run (for me) where I beat the third and fourth bosses in the same run (i.e. both on the first try). I also stayed up until 4AM to do so. I'm not always on vacation, so either a "Save and Quit" or "Bookmark" option would be welcomed by me. I'll keep playing without it (the game is great!) but it'd definitely improve things, IMO.
Can say what you want about how the game was intended. But I've had two no death runs ended on the 3rd boss (final form didnt load in properly glitch) and on the final biome from a hard crash today. Both runs with all bosses killed.
Pain in the arse not to be able to reset from glitches.
I adored the game up until I finished the story, a definite 10/10.
But after the endgame trying to collect all the collectibles I absolutely hate it. Couldn't stand there to be anymore of it.
I would love to see some DLC that expands the story/universe, but please set a reasonable $20 or cheaper price.
As for the "saving situation", hopefully that is resolved by the time I pick this up around November.
It’s clearly a fantastic game, but for people like myself that aren’t awesome at video games, it’s tilted too much to the hard side. I’m at 30 deaths and haven’t beaten the first boss yet. Add difficulty levels or an optional checkpoint system or something. I get the way the game is provides the purest storyline and is “the way it’s meant to be played”. But in its current state people like me will never get to experience all the game has to offer. Even after I finally got to the boss, death means another hour grinding for proficiency and max health before I can try him again. Not sure what the answer is, just saying in its current state there’s zero chance I’ll complete the game.
Got past act 2 yesterday, did the final boss. What a game! Highly addictive but what was once incredibly hard, I now do with ease! It's pure skill and once mastered, you can smash the game to pieces! 24 deaths in total which isn't half bad! I'd welcome more DLC, not sure I can wait until the end of the year though.. haha
New content in the works for Returnal is very exciting news!
New content would be great. Adding back in the scout corpses would be better. I really don't care about the save function.
For me the solution for the saves is quite simple.
At the start of the game, offer 2 modes.
That way, the developer can keep that 'Souls' appeal but the game is also made accessible for a much wider audience that probably don't care about trophies anyway.
I would love a ‘Slightly easier’ mode. I really struggle with games like this but I’m really enjoying playing it. However, it gets frustrating when you get a half-decent weapon / buff and then get wiped out even before you get to the first boss. Even with The Demons Soul remake you could learn enemy placement and grind to level up armour and whatnot. Would like to be get off the first biome before I’m 60.
@Mgene15 exactly. And it's wonderful. No complaints. Does a wonderful job of allowing you to go to the next area when you beat the boss of the previous area. It's great. Different.
Completely new levels would be nice. And an easier option for players like myself who just find it a tad too challenging.
@blinx01 well you aren’t a game developer so the solution you suggest isn’t as simple as we hoped. The developer themselves admitted that implementing saves is proving to be hard because of the other game systems built around it- so it’s not a matter of simple addition, but re-writing existing code to fit the save system into the experience without literally breaking the game
Instead of expecting devs to respect your time, why don't you respect the rules of the game and decide whether it is for you or not, before buying? Games are here to waste time, not save it. If you rushed out to buy it day 1 just because you wanted it... Tough! Learn the hard lesson that every game is not for you and move on.
@Grimwood Astro's Playroom, Miles Morales, Resident Evil Village, Sackboy A Big Adventure, Disco Elysium and Hitman 3.
@blinx01 That’s by far the best solution I’ve seen anyone come up with yet. Great idea. You really should email your suggestion to Housemarque, dude!
@OMGitsLiamT Except every other roguelike have a save system in place that allow you to quit and resume where you left off later. Housemarque were incompetent in this case.
@JigsawPieces I was playing Returnal and while I do enjoy the game having no way to resume where I left off is a major issue that needs to be fixed. I'm 42 years of age and the reality is I lack the energy to play games for long periods of time.
I also do not go along with this "it's the way they intended it to be played" nonsense. Such statements only demonstrate a very high level of ignorance.
It just seems like they are adding to their intended game to satisfy those who probably lost interest in it.
@OMGitsLiamT you’re speaking facts. Our society doesn’t want to hear that
@blinx01 but then you’re going to get the same morons saying “I’m not able to achieve the platinum” please housemarque do something! 🤣
@RubyCarbuncle 42? Youngster
Housemarque/Sony would have to make servers for the game, but the solution that I see working is that you can make a save, but that it save's server-side, rather than on the console. When the player downloads the save to play, it is immediately deleted from the server (preventing save scumming).
No local saves of the game state (to prevent save scumming with PS+ cloud), only meta-progression.
Server-side saves could even be made when the user starts a new biome, or whatever, in case the game crashes, so that the user doesn't lose all progress in the case of a crash. Such auto-saves could be set to delete if the user dies (to prevent save scumming, again).
Seems like the best way to maintain Housemarque's creative vision while also helping the players out with this issue.
Problem is that Housemarque and/or Sony will have to create some infrastructure to support such a solution, increasing the costs of maintaining the game long-term. So it probably won't happen.
@AdamNovice He means games that are ONLY on PS5. You mentioned games that are either on PS4 as well, or basically all platforms. In that case you could mention a ton more.
@Haruki_NLI That doesn't fix anything. The problem that they are trying to avoid is save scumming. If they allowed for mid-run saves like this (even save & quit) then it makes the core perma-death mechanic optional.
The game has shortcuts that are intended for you to use to get back to specific biomes within minutes of starting the game, with weapon proficiency bonuses that make it unnecessary to grind out each and every biome in a run.
That being said, there are certainly times when you have an amazing run and you just have to put the game down for whatever reason; so I am not saying that they shouldn't try and solve this problem, but the solution is a lot more complex than you make it out to be.
@JigsawPieces Normally yes but I'm in bad health and having a heart complaint takes away your energy.
@Mgene15 There's so much irony in that statement of yours "you're speaking facts but our society doesn't want to hear that" it's not even funny.
@thedevilsjester It doesn't allow save scumming.
The way PMD quicksaving worked is once you did the quicksave it saved to a non permanent slot. It then forced you to close the game
Upon reopening the only menu option you had is to reload that quicksave which once loaded, deletes itself.
There is no way to recover that quicksave without making a new one, which means it'll save at the exact point you made it.
Using this method you can never go backwards mid run, only forwards. But it lets you take breaks.
It does allow for save scumming. The fact that it deletes the save (from your console) once you load it is immaterial because you can back that save up and restore it from PS+.
From then on, as long as you don't upload a new save to PS+ (turn off auto-upload to be safe), you can restore your save as many times as you need.
@thedevilsjester I'd assume that this being a separate volatile save file would not be uploaded.
The example I have of course was long before cloud saves were a concept. You just said the action itself would allow.save scumming, not a cloud save of that volatile save. I understand now.
@Haruki_NLI I don't think that PS5 developers have an option to make save files ephemeral like that. I know they didn't with the PS4; however the PS3 did have a quasi-solution to this (there were some saves that could only be downloaded from PS+ once per 12 hours).
@RubyCarbuncle Sorry to hear that.
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