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Housemarque adds 'suspend cycles' to Returnal so players can take a breather

Until now, players were unable to exit a gameplay session without losing progress.

Chris Kerr

October 26, 2021

2 Min Read

Returnal developer Housemarque has added 'suspend cycles' to the punishing roguelike in a bid to address complaints about a lack of save options without compromising the integrity of the game.

Until now, players looking to make headway in the looping shooter would have to commit to spending at least 45 minutes completing a single gameplay session, with a lack of saves meaning that if their console shut down or lost power during that time, all progress would be lost.

Suspend cycles aim to change that by adding a little bit more flexibility. As explained by Returnal game director Harry Krueger, the feature allows players to pause their cycle and dive back in later on, letting them exit the game and turn off their console without losing progress.

Unlike traditional 'save game' options, suspend cycles won't change the structure of the game, and Returnal will simply create a single use suspend point that will be deleted as soon as players return to the fold.

"Your game will continue directly from the moment you left it, and if you want to suspend the cycle again, your progress will be captured from that new point onwards," explained Krueger on the PlayStation Blog.

"There are some limitations in place -- for example, players won’t be able to create a suspend point during Boss battles, cinematics, first-person sequences or during intense combat scenarios -- as we felt there are certain moments in Returnal that are best experienced unfragmented to preserve the intended challenge and flow."

The game director believes this approach will "keep the roguelike spirit and high stakes commitment" of the title intact, while still providing some quality-of-life convincence to those players who want to be able to play in shorter bursts.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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