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Returnal PS5 release date, trailers, gameplay, news and rumors

Returnal gameplay
(Image credit: Housemarque)

Returnal is a third-person science-fiction shooter, with a mix of psychological horror and roguelike elements, from Finnish studio Housemarque. Published by Sony, and coming exclusively to PS5, Returnal sees players take on the role of Selene, a space pilot, who is stranded on an alien planet with an unfortunate time loop. 

Each time Selene dies, she is resurrected, but the world around her has changed and the extra-terrestrials of the planet become increasingly hostile; imagine a more macabre version of Groundhog Day, where you need to survive long enough to get off the planet, escaping the time loop.

Initially due to release on March 19, Returnal is one of a myriad of games that has been delayed this year. Its release date is now set for April 30, 2021. Interested to find out more about this PS5 exclusive? Then read on for everything we know so far about Returnal. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A third-person sci fi shooter/psychological horror 
  • When can I play it? April 30, 2021
  • What can I play it on? PS5, exclusively

Returnal release date


(Image credit: Sony)

Returnal is a PS5 exclusive due for release on April 30, 2021. 

The sci-fi shooter was initially due to release on March 19, 2021; however, Sony revealed in a tweet from the official PlayStation Twitter account in January that the game has been delayed until April 30, 2021, to give developer Housemarque extra time "to polish the game".

"Returnal has a new release date of April 30, 2021," the post reads. "SIE and Housemarque have made the decision to move the release date in order to give the team extra time to continue to polish the game to the level of quality players expect from Housemarque."

Returnal trailers

Returnal combat trailer
Returnal will feature powerful and exotic weaponry for players to get to grips with, many of which are of alien origin. These explosive weapons will help you combat the hordes of enemies you'll encounter, and choosing the right tool for the job could be the difference between whether you'll die or come out on top. 

You can also discover new abilities and power-ups like shields, damage modifiers and more. Check out some of the various weapons, upgrades and add-ons you'll find in Returnal in the game's combat trailer below. 

Returnal gameplay trailer
At its core, Returnal is an fast-paced, third-person bullet hell shooter with a roguelike twist. You'll need to dodge countless waves of enemy fire and fightback using a variety of weapons at your disposal. Traversal is also a key element as threats will come at you from above and below, so mastering movement will be crucial.

The gameplay trailer below shows Selene fending off various enemies and the sheer scale of incoming fire you'll need to avoid if you're to survive. We also get a glimpse of the game's many environments and twisted alien creatures.

Announcement trailer
Returnal was first revealed during Sony's PS5 games reveal event, and showed Selene trapped in an endless cycle of events. Selene mentions how the world constantly changes with each time she wakes up, and how if she's to get off this mysterious planet, she'll need to break the cycle. You can check out the full announcement trailer below. 

Returnal gameplay

Returnal is a roguelike bullet-hell shooter, that brings the frantic action of a top-down arcade shooter into a 3D space. The game has been designed to offer extreme replayability, and you'll need to master all your abilities and overcome the enemies you encounter if you wish to break the cycle.

The game will see you fighting tooth and nail for survival in a shape-shifting world against countless odds. Each cycle (when you rebirth after dying) will see the planet change, along with the items you'll discover. Expect a stern challenge, then, and a fresh experience with every journey.

Returnal news and rumors


(Image credit: Sony)

Returnal will take full advantage of the PS5's SSD
The PS5's super-fast SSD will be put to good use in Returnal. Jump through portals between worlds and get back into the action with near-instant load speeds that won’t leave you waiting to restart after you die. 

Adaptive triggers let you switch between firing modes
Thanks to the DualSense controller's adaptive triggers, you can switch between firing modes by using a single adaptive trigger. While aiming down the sights of your gun, press the trigger down further to unleash an alternative fire mode. 

Haptic feedback will help you feel the action
The DualSense controller's haptic feedback will also be put to use in Returnal. You'll be able to sense in-game actions while exploring fragments of Selene’s memories, or when firing the visceral alien weapons you discover.

Returnal supports PS5's 3D Audio
The PS5's 3D audio will let you hear the action from every direction. From bullets flying past you to enemies circling overhead, 3D audio bring all these elements to life.