A new update for Returnal goes live today and introduces Suspend Cycle which may offer players some breathing room.
Returnal, a PS5 game from Housemarque, prides itself on its unforgiving gameplay, and as noted in our review, the game showed that developers can “make an unforgiving but remarkably accessible game”. We also highlighted other features in our preview, but one thing that remained consistent was the die, die, die, element of the gameplay, and with no save mode, it was grueling. But now, the game is getting a new update that introduces a workaround while still not introducing save games.
Suspend Cycle is a new feature available in the game from the main menu and allows players to pause their cycle and continue it later. Players can exit the game and turn off the console without losing progress and keep the structure of the game intact. Instead of using mid-game saves, the game will now create a single-use suspend point that can, as expected, only be used once, and when deleted is gone.
There are some limits to this new feature as noted in the post, such as being unable to create a suspend point during boss battles, cinematics, first-person sequences, or during “intense-combat scenarios.” This is due to Housemarque feeling that there are moments that are best experienced “unfragmented”.
Having the option to jump out of Returnal and return later is likely to be a welcome feature for players that feel the fatigue of having to push on to reach the end of a cycle. While it’s not your conventional save, it’s lovely to see the studio working to keep their vision intact while offering a way around that vision.
Returnal will also introduce photo mode in the update going live on October 26, 2021, so if you’re like our Courtney, and you want to stop and appreciate the surreal world and take photos, you’ll be able to do so from now on.