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Returnal Update Caused Some Players to Lose Save Data

Returnal players may have lost their save files after the game received a patch pushed out to counter a previous update from May 5, 2021.  It remains to be seen whether this small but severe problem could impact the game’s current financial success as issues continue to arise regarding players losing their data.

Returnal‘s developer Housemarque has made a name for itself with previous games focusing on fast-paced arcade action, such as Resogun, and its latest game builds on that legacy. Returnal is already proving itself to be one of 2021’s best games as one of the first high-profile PlayStation 5 releases of the year, though recent patches have sparked a few controversies.

The problem began with the release of patch 1.3.3, which raised debates about using Helios to heal and caused issues resulting in Housemarque pulling the patch and telling players to re-downloaded the game if affected. Now, the developer has released patch 1.3.4, which restores the game to a more stable build. While the patch recovered some saved data, a blog post on Housemarque’s website says, “Unfortunately other save games will have been effectively ‘deleted’ by patch 1.3.3, with their file size reducing to 0KB. These save games are not directly salvageable by patch 1.3.4, without a backup save game available.”

This is not Returnal‘s first problem with patches and updates. Due to the inability to save during runs, many players have lost progress because of the game auto-updating while the PlayStation 5 is in rest mode. This flaw led Housemarque to recommend that players turn off the PlayStation 5’s auto-update to avoid losing progress. In games like Returnal, a key mechanic is progressing and getting better, and the fact that all a player’s hard work can be undone is frustrating.

Returnal has enjoyed critical praise and financial success since release, but many are still unhappy after multiple issues have caused them to lose their saves. Some gamers have reviewed bombed Returnal, and while that is not necessarily the best approach to take, it does highlight some complaints. Questions have also been raised about the difficulty of the game and whether or not it should be more accessible. While these discussions are happening around the game’s difficulty, the most common complaint is the lack of saving during a run.

While Housemarque may have a legitimate reason for the inability to save mid-run, the continual problems it is causing both the developer and players is concerning. Frustration at the loss of progress is valid, and if this keeps up fans may soon see a new save feature. For now, players will just have to turn off auto-updates and hope their saves remain uncorrupted.

Returnal is available now exclusively on PlayStation 5.