With only about 3 months to go before the release of Returnal, we here at Respawning can’t help but get excited for what is one of the first big next-gen releases of 2021. There’s no doubt that Returnal could be a real dark horse for game of the year or just end up flying under a lot of peoples radar. Either way we’re hyped to see how all this plays out and can’t wait to get talking about the game. So here is everything we know about Returnal so far..

As always you can check out the video version of this preview in the link below if you prefer.

It’s a proper PS5 exclusive. When you think PS5 you may instantly go to Spider-Man Miles Morales or even the upcoming Horizon Forbidden West, but those aren’t PS5 exclusives as they of course have PS4 counterparts. Returnal however is strictly only available on PS5 so if you don’t have Sony’s net-gen hardware by April 30th (yay delays), then unfortunately you are out of luck.

This exclusivity can be viewed as both a positive or a negative. The negative is obviously the studio neglecting millions of PS4 owners who may want to play this exciting looking shooter but the positive is that it won’t be held back by old hardware. Developer Housemarque pretty much has free rein to go as crazy as they want with this and really show off what the PS5 can do. It also means that the game will be taking full advantage of the Dualsense’s haptic feedback as well as full 3D audio and ultra fast load times.

Speaking of Housemarque, this is set to be the developers first attempt at a proper AAA title after years of success with smaller arcade shooters such as Resogun and Matterfall. Sure these guys have a great reputation and rightfully so, but will they be able to take this big step up to a next-gen exclusive third person shooter? Only time will tell but if the trailers are anything to go by, I’d say they’ve done a hell of a job. Returnal looks to have all the cool looking particle effects seen in the Housemarque’s previous outings just turned up to 11. Admittedly it’s always hard to judge just how great a game will look until you have it in your hands (which at the time of writing/recording I do not) but from what’s been released so far, Returnal looks stunning.

We also know that Returnal’s gameplay is officially a third person sci-fi shooter but is going to feature some heavy Roguelike elements as well. It appears that our yet unnamed protagonist will wake up in the same location again and again after every horrifying death on this weird looking planet. How far this is actually taken is of course yet to be seen but given the huge success of Hades last year, full blown roguelikes feel like they’re all the rage right now and making a proper AAA version of that is a brave and exciting idea there’s no doubt. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t like a good scare with your video games then maybe avoid Returnal as the game has been explained as not just science fiction but also a psychological horror.. I’m beginning to get some serious Alien vibes here and I am all in!

The story is arguably the area we currently know the least about. From what we’ve seen it’s obvious the narrative revolves around an astronaut who finds herself crash landed on a dangerous alien planet in which she’s stuck in some sort of terrifying loop. As I already touched on, we don’t know who our protagonist is, what planet she’s stuck on or what unexplained phenomenon is responsible for her recurring deaths and the planet’s seemingly ever changing appearance. Returnal is a brand new IP meaning there’s no lore or backstory to work with so where this story goes and how deep it is is anybody’s guess right now. As I mentioned earlier, Housemarque has next to no experience in developing a big AAA title so we really have no expectations on how good this story might be. Here’s hoping it matches the quality of its visuals and gameplay which judging off this trailer footage, looks pretty incredible.

Outside of the game’s new April 30th 2021 release date, we don’t have a lot more information on Returnal right now but thankfully we won’t have long to wait until we can finally get our hands on the game and see if it lives up to the hype. For more on Returnal, make sure to keep an eye right here at Respawning.co.uk