Returnal Developer Housemarque Provides Details on the Game's Combat

Returnal developer Housemarque details how combat works in the game, from weapons at your disposal to how you make progress.

January 13, 2021

In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Returnal developer Housemarque details how the game’s combat works. A new trailer is available below.

“With Returnal we’ve aimed to blend a unique mix of game styles,” said Harry Krueger, creative director at Housemarque. “It combines our trademark explosive arcade action, responsive controls and bullet hell gameplay, and this time it’s all presented in third-person. There will be fast and frenetic combat and intense gunplay, and also some rich exploration and traversal as you explore the procedurally generated environments of Atropos. We’ve created Returnal to be a challenging and rewarding experience, with enough variety and depth to keep you always coming back for ‘one more go.'”


In Returnal you play as Selene, a space explorer who’s stuck in an endless time loop . With each time Selene dies, you’ll be sent back to the beginning of the game. Like other roguelikes/lites, most of your items and abilities will be lost. As Krueger explains on the PS Blog, one item that you’ll always get is the Cthonos, a device that gives you an item at the beginning of each story. Additionally, it tracks your progress and can grant you a new item as you earn more progress.

As you explore each part of the game, there will be tons of loot to find. One of the main forms are Parasites, which can offer either positive or negative effects. One example in the PS Blog post is you can pick up one that regenerates your health when its low but enemies will create a pool of acid when they die.

To make it through each loop, Returnal offers several weapons at your disposal. You can only equip one weapon at a time, making each choice really important. One weapon at your disposal is the Spitmaw Blaster, a typical shotgun. To make weapons even cooler, you can add modifiers that add extra effects such as being able to conjure pools of acid or shells that explode on impact.

Returnal is the latest game from Housemarque, developer of games like Super Stardust and Resogun. The game’s March release date was announced during The Game Awards last month. More recently, Housemarque detailed how they’re taking advantage of the PS5 and DualSense controller’s features.


Returnal releases on March 19, 2021 exclusively on PlayStation 5. Stay tuned to DualShockers for more updates on Returnal and other next-gen news.


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