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Returnal cover
Windows Climax Studios[1]
PlayStation PC
Unreal Engine 4[Note 1]
Release dates
Windows February 15, 2023
Metacritic 86
OpenCritic 86
Monetization One-time game purchase
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Third-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, Roguelike, Shooter
Vehicles Space flight
Art styles Realistic
Themes Sci-fi, Space
Returnal on HowLongToBeat
Returnal on IGDB
Returnal on MobyGames
Returnal on Wikipedia

Returnal is a singleplayer and multiplayer third-person action, roguelike and shooter game. The game makes use of a modified version of Unreal Engine 4.[2]

The game was originally developed by Housemarque and Climax Studios and published on April 30, 2021 by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 5. The PC version was developed by Climax Studios and published by PlayStation PC. The PC version was released on February 15, 2023, almost two years after its initial release. Notable additions to the PC version compared to the original PlayStation 5 version are ray traced reflections, ray traced shadows, adjustable FOV, unlocked FPS, ultrawidescreen support, keyboard & mouse support, improved texture quality, increased particle density, added depth of field (especially in cutscenes), higher resolution volumetric effects (lightshafts and fog), improved ambient occlusion, improved specular lighting, improved Level of Detail (LoD) of grass/particles and improved rasterized shadows.[3][4][5] Additionally, it also included support for DLSS 2.4, FSR 1.0, XeSS and NIS.

This title features a shader precompilation option which should help mitigate some shader stutter. This title currently features some asset streaming stutter when travelling between biomes.

General information

Steam Community Discussions



Type Notes
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.


Type Notes
No microtransactions None

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Astra Model 9 Prototype Suit Available by linking a PlayStation Network account to Steam.
Astra Model 14 Tactical Suit Available by linking a PlayStation Network account to Steam.

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Delete, rename or move intro video files[6]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Returnal\Content\Movies.
  2. Delete, rename or move Logos_PC.mp4, Logos_PC_UW21.mp4, Logos_PC_UW32.mp4, Logos_Short_PC.mp4, Logos_Short_PC_UW21.mp4 and Logos_Short_PC_UW32.mp4.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Steam %LOCALAPPDATA%\Returnal\Steam\Saved\Config
Epic Games Launcher %LOCALAPPDATA%\Returnal\Epic\Saved\Config
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/1649240/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game data location

System Location
Steam %LOCALAPPDATA%\Returnal\Steam\Saved\SaveGames
Epic Games Launcher %LOCALAPPDATA%\Returnal\Epic\Saved\SaveGames
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/1649240/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Epic Games Launcher
Steam Cloud


Display settings
Display settings

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
16:10 resolutions are officially supported according to the store page.[7] However, only 16:10 resolutions up to 1920px wide are available in-game.[8]
21:9 and 32:9 resolutions are officially supported.[7]
4K Ultra HD
Dynamic Resolution Scaling option available, which uses a spatial upscaler. Cannot be activated while any upscaling option or VRS is enabled. It automatically defaults to lowest dynamic resolution bound when Vsync is on.[3]
Field of view (FOV)
-10 to +15 degrees FOV bias slider.[9]
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Named as Windowed Fullscreen. Exclusive Fullscreen also available.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Scales with the Textures setting; Low (0x), Medium (2x), High (4x) and Epic (8x)[10] No option in-game to increase or disable it individually.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
TAA forced on with Low, Medium, High and Epic presets.
High-fidelity upscaling
DLSS 2.4, DLSS 3.1, FSR 2.1, NIS, XeSS 1.0
DLSS Frame Generation is supported.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
On/Off toggle.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Fully adjustable frame rate cap slider available with increments of one and lowest value of ten. Uncapped framerate possible by maxing out the frame rate slider.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
HDR must be enabled in Windows.
Ray tracing (RT)
Ray-Traced Moon shadows and Reflections.[3][11]
Color blind mode
Support for Deuteranopia, Protanopia and Tritanopia with adjustable Filter Strength, UI Tone and Collectible Colors.
The game engine may allow for manual configuration of the game via its variables. See the Unreal Engine 4 page for more details.
Gameplay is visible in the background while at the graphics menu, allowing to see the effects of settings adjustments in real-time.
Features option to display an in-game performance UI.
Features option to run an in-game benchmark with detailed results overview after about any possible performance bottlenecks.
Features optional variable rate shading (VRS) option under Screen optimizations with several presets available. Cannot be activated while using any of the available upscaling techniques.

Disable TGGI

Significantly alters the global illumination on the main character, environment and more.[12] Only recommended for low-end users or those wanting to reach higher FPS.
Disabling TGGI can potentially increase performance up to 27% in more GPU-bound situations.
Apply TGGI disabling tweak to configuration file[13]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open Engine.ini.
  3. Create the section [SystemSettings] at the bottom of the file, if it does not already exist.
  4. Add the following line to the section: TGGI.Enable=0
  5. Save and close the file.


Gameplay settings
Gameplay settings

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Left-Handed and Right-Handed presets also available.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Separate Aim Sensitivity and Look Sensitivity sliders available.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
X-axis can also be inverted.
Controller support
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Adaptive, Classic and Custom presets available.
Controller sensitivity
Separate Look Speed and Aim Speed sliders available separately for each axis.
Controller Y-axis inversion
X-axis can also be inverted.
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Impulse Trigger vibration
PlayStation controllers
DualShock 4, DualSense, DualSense Edge
PlayStation button prompts
Light bar support
Adaptive trigger support
Wired only.[14]
DualSense haptic feedback support
Wired only.[14]
Connection modes Wired, Wireless (Bluetooth), Wireless (DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adapter)
Generic/other controllers
Nintendo Switch and DirectInput controllers do not work.[15]
Additional information
Button prompts
Automatic detection of controller type based on last input, no option to lock prompt type.[16]
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Digital movement supported
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Glyphs flicker while mixing any mouse movements, mouse buttons, or keyboard presses with controller inputs, and an audio cue for indicating consumable status plays frequently. Selecting Controller Preset: Adaptive or Custom Bindings - Base Preset: Adapative will confuse the game about whether pulling the left trigger should activate sights or alt fire mode while recent keyboard or mouse inputs were registered.[17]
Steam Input
Steam Input API support
Hook input (legacy mode)
Official controller preset(s)
Steam Controller button prompts
Cursor detection
Cursor always registers as detected even when not shown.[18]


Audio settings
Audio settings

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Separate Master, Music, SFX and Dialogue volume sliders available.
Surround sound
Stereo, 5.1, 7.1, Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D (3D audio), Resonance Audio (3D audio) and Ray-Traced (GPU-accelerated[3]) audio options available.[11]
On/Off toggle. Adjustable Size, Color, Speaker Name, Speaker Color and Background Opacity available.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
On/Off toggle. When on, it pauses the game on focus loss.
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Brazilian Portuguese
Latin American Spanish


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
LAN play
Online play
2 Co-op
Cross-play with PlayStation 5 is not supported.

Issues unresolved

Traversal/loading related stutters

During traversal around places that trigger loading, small stutters/hitching can occur. There is a similar issue with the console version. The stutters become more heavy the weaker the CPU is. It is not related to shader compilation.[3]

Ray-traced effects on: more stuttering occurs

When turning ray-traced effects on, more stuttering can occur during gameplay than the usual traversal/loading related stutters. Developers suspected this was due to geometry mesh creation and subsequently reduced stuttering when ray tracing is enabled through a patch on March 9, 2023. It still remains unknown though if all cases of this problem occuring have been fully fixed.[3][19][citation needed]

Issues fixed

Black screen on boot after the initial loading screen, or during in-game cutscenes

The game seemingly softlocks to a blackscreen on boot when it is supposed to be playing a cutscene video whenever the VP9 Video Extension isn't installed. The same problem also affects in-game cutscenes such as after lying down on the bed in the crashed ship.[20]
Install the VP9 Video Extensions package from the Microsoft Store[21]
Install VP9 video codecs manually
These manual steps are for versions of Windows that do not include the Microsoft Store, e.g. Windows 10 LTSC.
  1. Download a copy of the latest VP9 Video Extensions file, e.g. Microsoft.VP9VideoExtensions_1.0.52781.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe.Appx. This can be done by using a Microsoft Store link generator.
    1. Paste the link to the VP9 codec package:
    2. Download the appropriate .appx file for your computer, e.g. for 64-bit computers choose the .appx file containing x64.
    3. Save the file to a location of choice.
  2. Open PowerShell as administrator from the Windows Start menu.
  3. In PowerShell, run the following command: Add-AppxPackage -path [path_of_choice]\Microsoft.VP9VideoExtensions_1.0.52781.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe.Appx.
    1. [path_of_choice] should be replaced with the location chosen in step one, for example C:\Users\%username%\Downloads.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 12
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Physics PhysX, APEX PhysX v3.4.0.0, APEX v1.4.0.0
Audio XAudio, Wwise XAudio v2.9
Input LibScePad V1.0.4.1, support for DualSense controller
Cutscenes On2 VP9
Multiplayer Epic Online Services

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10 (build 1903)
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-6400
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
System memory (RAM) 16 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 60 GB (HDD)
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 580
6 GB (Nvidia), 8 GB (AMD) of VRAM
A 64-bit operating system is required.
AVX support required.
Minimum system requirements are for 720p, 60 FPS at low settings. Recommended system requirements are for 1080p, 60 FPS at epic settings. Medium (1080p, 60 FPS at medium settings), Epic (4K, 60 FPS at epic settings) and Ray Tracing (4K, 60 FPS at Epic settings with Ray Tracing) system requirements are also available.


  1. Unreal Engine 4 engine build:
  2. 2.0 2.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data:


  1. Returnal is coming to PC – PlayStation.Blog - last accessed on 2022-12-09
    "Returnal PC has been created with help and delicate care from our friends at Climax Studios."
  2. Can We Do It with Particles?: VFX Learnings from 'Returnal' - GDC - YouTube - last accessed on 2023-02-15
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Returnal PC - DF Tech Review - Optimised Settings, PS5 vs PC Comparisons + More - Digital Foundry - Youtube - last accessed on 2023-02-17
  4. Returnal | PC - PS5 - Steam Deck | Graphics Comparison | A great upgrade on PC - ElAnalistaDeBits - YouTube - last accessed on 2023-02-16
  5. Returnal [PC] vs Returnal [PS5] - last accessed on 2023-02-18
  6. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2023-02-15
    Checked by removing the files myself
  7. 7.0 7.1 Steam - Returnal - last accessed on 2023-01-18
    "16:10, Ultrawide (21:9) and Super Ultrawide (32:9) aspect ratios offer an expanded field of view throughout Atropos..."
  8. Limited 16:10 Resolutions - last accessed on 2023-10-30
  9. Returnal - Features Trailer | PC Games - PlayStation- YouTube - last accessed on 2023-01-18
  10. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2023-03-23
    Checked with the r.MaxAnisotropy command using Universal Unreal Engine 4 Unlocker 4.6.2.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Returnal launches on PC February 15 - PlayStation.Blog - last accessed on 2023-01-18
  12. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2023-02-27
    Boosted FPS from around 170 FPS with all in-game settings on Epic (including RT) to around 184-190 FPS. So, only a small improvement of around 10% for a significantly altered look of the GI of the environment and main character, which all appear very dark. Honestly not worth it in my opinion as the game is already well-optimized
  13. - last accessed on 26 May 2023
  14. 14.0 14.1 Verified by User:Snowygyro on 2023-02-25
  15. Verified by User:Snowygyro on 2023-02-25
  16. Verified by User:Snowygyro on 2023-02-25
  17. Verified by User:Snowygyro on 2023-02-25
    Tested personally while attempting custom gyroaim with various software and confirmed with multiple other players.
  18. Verified by User:Snowygyro on 2023-02-25
  19. Returnal - March 9th Patch is Now Available - Steam - last accessed on 2023-03-09
  20. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2023-02-19
    Really indeed happens, even though the movie files don't seem to be VP9 encoded as they are all in MP4 and M4V format. Confirmed that with the extension installed it all works, but after running Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.VP9VideoExtensions | Remove-AppxPackage to uninstall the VP9 media extension, the black screen issue indeed occurs.
  21. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2023-02-19
    Installing this video codec from the Microsoft Store indeed fixes the black screen issue at boot.