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The Pressure Is Starting To Build On Returnal

For the most part, audiences love "Returnal." Despite the game standing solidly in roguelike territory, a genre known for its punishing difficulty and reliance/obsession with RNG, critics and gamers have applauded both the new and familiar aspects of "Returnal." However, these reviews notwithstanding, the game's save system is dividing audiences, and as time goes on, more and more players are joining the "'Returnal' needs a proper save feature" camp. For some gamers, only being able to save in between lengthy runs just isn't often enough.

While "Returnal" has approximately 20 hours of content for gamers to explore and fight through, a major deciding factor is luck. Skill will only take you so far. A bad roll of the invisible RNG dice could leave you in a consumables and gun drought that renders future biomes virtually impossible. However, Lady Luck doesn't just determine if gameplay sessions run on too long (or end in failure). She also decides whether gamers lose all their progress due to crashes.

Whenever you start a new "Returnal" run, you either end it in sweat-soaked victory or bloody defeat. But, you have to make sure you have enough time to finish a loop because you can't save partway through. According to IGN, plodding through "Returnal” from start to finish can last two to three hours. Players can suspend "Returnal" and put their console to sleep, but that risks crashing the game mid-sleep.

Players demand changes to Returnal

According to numerous Reddit threads and Twitter posts, "Returnal" is prone to crashing regardless, especially while playing, which can ruin obscenely lucky runs. Because of the necessary time investment, many commenters are calling for a save system to preemptively prevent the pain of run-ending crashes.

However, while crashes are a major concern and justification for a save system, many crash causes can be patched out, but that is a cure on par with the disease. According to several gamers and their Reddit posts, if "Returnal" is suspended and updates overnight while the console is asleep, the process will close the game and delete your progress.

As IGN pointed out, many gamers have argued that a save system is "antithetical to the [roguelike] genre." Others have countered that most roguelikes don't include manual saves, since they typically only require a 40-minute investment per run. One reddit commenter, r6335, offered a compromise: a checkpoint system that automatically saves after every boss. With that set-up, gamers can pick up from where they leave off after crashing or closing the game, but if they die, the checkpoint is deleted.

While Housemarque, the developer of "Returnal," has not announced plans for a new save system yet, the company has stated it is listening to community feedback, so anything is possible.