Returnal update 2.0 is coming later today, headlined by the save system players have been clamoring for since launch.
Developer Housemarque announced the update this morning, confirming suspicions sparked by a curiously large beta file spotted earlier this month. Update 2.0 introduces the "Suspend Cycle" functionality, which is sort of like an in-game version of the suspend-resume function available on new-gen consoles, but crossed with a traditional save or checkpoint system.
Simply put, Suspend Cycle lets you "create a single-use suspend point", quit the game, and then load up again and pick up from that point. You can create another suspend point later in your run, provided you don't try to do so during a boss fight, cinematic, first-person sequence, or "intense combat scenarios." The latter limitation suggests that you'll only be able to use the Suspend Cycle during calmer moments, before or after the bursty fights Returnal is known for, which is a pretty decent compromise.
"With this approach, we can keep the roguelike spirit and 'high stakes' commitment to your run intact, while still providing some quality-of-life convenience for players who like to experience Returnal in shorter bursts," game director Harry Krueger explained. "So next time you’re deep into a lengthy session on Atropos and life comes knocking at your door, you’ll be able to simply Suspend Cycle and jump back in at a more convenient time."
Demand for a Returnal save system began to swell almost immediately after the game's release, with many players complaining that it's not easy or even possible to sit down for several uninterrupted hours, which a single clear can often take. You could use the PS5's built-in suspend feature, sure, but not if you wanted to play another game, plus that left you open to a power outage or other unintended reset. At the time, marketing director Mikael Haveri explained that a save system could be in the cards for Returnal, but the studio wasn't sure what it would look like.
It's nice to finally have an answer to this conundrum, and a way for players to play Returnal without feeling nailed down for a long session. Anything that makes this game more approachable is good news. As we said in our Returnal review, it's an unapologetically weird and hellacious third-person shooter that deserves to be played, and that holds up more than one year later.
Returnal update 2.0 also adds a dedicated photo mode, and unlike the Suspend Cycle, you can use this feature just about anywhere excluding first-person sections. "Use the analog sticks and the adaptive triggers to move the camera around and pick the perfect angle for your photo," Krueger says. "Once you’ve perfected your composition, you can then explore some optional settings like focal distance, aperture, saturation, or contrast. You can also set different sources of light to highlight the scene, and choose from a variety of many different filters, effects, frames, coloring options, and much more to help bring that unique flair to your captures."