Update - December 10: Best Buy Canada had it right: Returnal is coming to PS5 on March 19, 2021, as Housemarque confirmed in a new trailer released at The Game Awards tonight.
"In Returnal you get to dive deep into the mind of Selene, an Astra space scout trapped in a hellish loop of endless resurrection while trapped on a hostile planet," explains Housemarque's Mikael Haveri in a PlayStation blog post (opens in new tab). "The roguelike formula mixed with exploration platformer elements allow for a unique way to explore the planet and continue the battle she is fighting. Of course, there will be plenty of Housemarque arcade flourishes present, so prepare to be bombarded by volleys of bullet-hell projectiles along the way."
The Returnal release date seems to have leaked early on a retailer website, and we may only need to wait a few months to play the first PS5 game from Housemarque.
A new listing on Best Buy Canada put the Returnal release date at March 19, 2021, as spotted by ResetEra (opens in new tab) user Raigor. Best Buy has since pulled the listing down, but fellow user IDontBeatGames saved a screencap of the page that includes the March 19, 2021 date for perpetuity.
It's possible this is just a placeholder date and Best Buy doesn't know any more about when Returnal is coming out than we do. However, retailers don't usually just stick placeholder dates in the middle of the month like that, and March 19 is a Friday, which is a typical day of the week for game releases. It also lines up with recent teases from Sony that Returnal is set to arrive some time in the first half of 2021.
Returnal marks a new direction for Housemarque, which has been known throughout most of its 25-year history for creating arcade-inspired games such as Super Stardust and Resogun. The Finnish studio argued that "arcade is dead" back in 2017 and revealed that it was shifting its focus. While the moody tone, more prominent narrative, and near-photorealistic visuals are a shift, Returnal's fast and flashy combat still harkens back to Housemarque's roots.
If the timing of this apparent leak isn't a coincidence, we may learn more about the Returnal release date through official channels at The Game Awards tonight.
There are a lot of upcoming PS5 games to look forward to whether or not this leak bears out.