If you don’t know by now, Returnal does not let you save the game manually. Even when the roguelike saves your progress, you always return back to either the beginning of the game or the second half when you exit and boot the game back up. There is no way to take a break and play something else. If you need to suspend your current play session then you can only put your PS5 into Rest Mode and continue from that point.
While this sound unforgiving it is actually far from it. After every boss, the game makes it easier to get back to a further point by unlocking shortcuts and portals that whisk you away to a later portion of the game. However, exiting the game and loading it up does mean you have to start from scratch to a certain degree and collect items, kill enemies and get to these shortcuts.
Some players believe the gameplay loop in Returnal is not fair and that the lack of a save option works against them. Reddit has since blown up with angry players demanding that Hosuemarque adds this option into Returnal through a patch of some sort. Many of them believe that the checkpoint system forces players to spend half a day running through one cycle. They aren’t wrong as the game demands quite a lot of time due to the lack of manual saving.
One Reddit user by the name of AbUndMax explains that “busy people need to save!“. They say that “players shouldn’t be able to choose between save-files and the save-files should be automatically deleted as soon as you die so the roguelite character of the game won’t get destroyed.”
Returnal developer Housemarque has since spoken up about the ongoing debate saying that there is no need to be toxic about people who need save options.
“We hear the community and we love you all. Nothing to announce now, but keep playing and enjoying the challenge as you can!”
By the sound of things, Housemarque may be working on a Returnal save game method which will allow players to save quit their progress and return at a later stage from that point. This feature will most likely be optional in order to keep the original experience intact. If you have not read our Returnal PS5 review make sure you check it out here. If you are playing the game and have hit a wall after Act 2, check out our guide to Act 3 here.
— Housemarque (@Housemarque) April 30, 2021