Returnal: How to Save Your Game & Pause Your Run


Returnal is a big departure for developer Housemarque as it goes from two-stick arcade shooters to a sci-fi-cross-roguelite third-person shooter. It can get quite exhausting as you progress through its various biomes, and it can cause some people to pray for the opportunity to save your game in Returnal. Well, here’s what you need to know about recording your progress so that you can pick up from there the next time you’re ready to play.

How to save and pause your run in Returnal

In fact, you couldn’t manually save in Returnal until the recent 2.0 update went live in October, but now you can save your progress in the middle of runs. This is done using the Suspend Cycle function which has been added to the pause menu.

To pause your run and allow you to safely exit the game without losing your progress, simply open the pause menu and select the Pause Cycle option. This will pause the game halfway through, saving you from having to start over from the beginning when returning to play.

This is basically a ‘save and quit’ option, so you will need to quit the game after saving. You cannot save and reload to avoid errors or deaths using this method. When you select Suspend Cycle, the following message appears on the screen:

Return the backup set Pause cycle

The problem here is that you can only pause one run at a time, so there aren’t multiple save files like most games. Your suspended save file will disappear when you resume playing, and a new one will be created if / when you decide to pause your run again.

Beyond the Pause Cycle feature, once you complete a run, part of your progress in Returnal is saved. For example, if you take out a boss and collect the key they drop, then you’ll still have it in future races, allowing you to skip the boss fight and quickly move on to the next biome. Whether you choose to do that or take down the boss is entirely up to you.

However, when you die, in a truly rogue-lite fashion, you will start over from the beginning and have to progress through the different biomes again.

That’s all you need to know about save your game in Returnal. For more tips, check out our Returnal Guide Wiki, or check out more of our coverage on the game below.

  • Returnal Update 2.0 finally adds a backup cycle function in addition to the new photo mode
  • Housemarque sees Returnal as a springboard for bigger future games
  • New Return Patch increases the appearances of deceased Scouts, fixes crashes and other running issues
  • Returnal Speedrunners already beat the game in under 5 minutes
  • Returnal patch 1.3.3 removed after reports of backup data corruption

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