Sony’s first-party Returnal game for PS5 is a next-gen title in almost every sense of the word, but it did arrive lacking a pretty standard feature – the ability to save games (or cycles, to use the game’s parlance) on the fly.
While the sci-fi adventure game has wowed audiences since it’s release earlier this year, not being able to exit the game and turn off the console without losing your progress in a cycle had irked plenty of gamers – especially considering the cycles can last hours.
The answer is an update that introduces the ability to ‘Suspend Cycle’, effectively pausing the game and allowing you to pick up your progress next time you return to the action.
While this isn’t a save-game feature per se (you won’t be able to save during boss battles, cinematic or if you’re about to be killed in combat), it’s better than having to start all over again, whenever you’re pulled away from the PS5.
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The Suspend Cycle is also a single-use option so as soon as you pick up the progress, the saved state will be deleted. The changes within the Returnal 2.0 update are outlined in a post on the PlayStation blog.
“One of the main features of this update is the Suspend Cycle functionality, which will allow you to pause your cycle to be continued later, letting you exit the game and turn off your console without losing your progress in that session,” writes Harry Krueger, Game Director at Housemarque – which was recently purchased by Sony as a first-party studio.
“The structure of the game remains unchanged, so this functionality is not a traditional mid-game “Save Game” option: by suspending the cycle, Returnal will simply create a single use suspend point, and once you resume playing the suspend point is deleted and cannot be used again. 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.”
Today’s update also includes a Photo Mode that goes beyond the Sony SharePlay tools. If you pause the game you can use a camera to look around the scene and take a photo, with the ability to change focal distance, aperture, saturation or contrast.