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Everything We Know About Returnal's Ascension Update

Viewers tuning into Sony's PlayStation State of Play on the evening of March 9 were treated to a showcase of trailers and gameplay videos for several upcoming releases and new content. Considering Sony had previously stated this particular event would primarily focus on titles from the company's line-up of Japanese developers, it was something of a surprise to see "Returnal" enjoy some time in the spotlight. And fans will be even more pleased to learn that the popular PlayStation 5 exclusive is due for a massive new update, which bears the ominous title of "Returnal: Ascension."

"Returnal" is a third-person shooter roguelike that quickly found its footing as an early addition to the PS5 library. The title focuses on a scout named Selene who finds herself trapped in an endless time loop after landing on the planet of Atropos. The game already earned players' favor for its brutal boss fights and haunting aesthetic, but can the new "Ascension" update elevate the title to new heights? Here's everything we know about the new "Ascension" update for "Returnal."

Is There A Trailer For Returnal's Ascension Update?

"Returnal: Ascension" was announced via a new trailer that showed off some of the new content players can expect to find. The trailer opens up with snippets of footage from the base game, showing Selene fighting against (and succumbing to) various foes. In between each death, the trailer cuts to Selene abruptly waking up and her loop starting over. From the very start of the trailer, the action is underscored by Selene's narration, in which she says, "Trapped in an endless cycle. Fighting. Dying. Returning. Always the same...yet always changing." 

From there, however, something different happens. Instead of pulling herself up on her own after a death, Selene wakes to see another scout offering aid. Selene then says, "I'm not alone. Not anymore." The trailer then cuts to a series of action-filled snippets as the two face down various threats on Atropos. Before long however, the trailer reveals a fearsome tower, with Selene saying, "Now I stand before the endless tower. I climb as Sisyphus did...pushing the boulder upward." 

Selene explains, "No matter how high I climb, the challenge begins again. But I fight on through the infinite... My release is within this tower. And I will find it." The trailer finally concludes with a scene of Selene standing before a giant tentacled monstrosity.

Returnal's Ascension Update Adds Co-Op And New Challenges

One of the biggest pieces of news surrounding the new update for "Returnal" is the new inclusion of cooperative multiplayer. Players have long lobbied for a way to play the title with friends, and now Housemarque is ready to deliver. "Returnal" generated a fearsome reputation for itself with bosses that don't pull any punches with new or inexperienced players. Now, co-op will allow players to help friends get past a tough boss or just team up for some good old fashioned double trouble. 

In addition to co-op, the "Ascension" update will also add a new challenge in the form of The Tower of Sisyphus. The Tower will present players with the ultimate challenge: an endless onslaught against old and new adversaries. Players will need to have their wits about them and bring their A-game if they're to stand a chance against the secrets held within The Tower of Sisyphus. 

Housemarque has always been good about adding fan-requested features, but between co-op and an endless fight mode, "Ascension" might take the cake.

Is There A Release Date For Returnal's Ascension Update?

Players won't have to wait long before sinking their teeth into the "Ascension" update, as it rolls out for all players on March 22. Even better than the quick turnaround time between reveal and release, the "Ascension" update will be made available for free to all players. More "Returnal" content was already enough to get fans excited, but now that they know it won't cost a thing, the anticipation is palpable.

On Twitter responding to developer Housemarque's announcement, one user said, "Honestly, I was expecting this to be a paid dlc and I screamed when it said FREE!" Another gleeful fan shared similar sentiments, saying, "Love this game. Going to love this DLC. Hopefully I can use coop to expose more people to this stunning and incredible game you guys have created."

The response to the free "Ascension" update has proved overwhelmingly positive already, so March 22 should be a banner day for "Returnal" players everywhere.