The more Sony and Housemarque show of Returnal, the better it looks. Thanks to what’s looking like thrilling action, a healthy dose of horror elements, a fascinating narrative premise, and more, it’s shaping up to be a game that’s well worth keeping an eye on. And though it is going to be a largely single player experience, it will still have some multiplayer stuff sprinkled in.
In a recently published update on the PlayStation blog, Returnal narrative director Greg Louden confirmed that the upcoming roguelike shooter will have asynchronous multiplayer gameplay, and went on to describe it briefly. It actually sounds quite a bit like the asynchronous multiplayer mechanics of the Souls series. Essentially, you will often come across “projections” left behind by other players, which will show how they died.
After watching a projection, you’ll be able to decide what to do next, from scavenging their remains for items to avenging their deaths. Projections will differ from any audio logs you find within the game, with the latter being handcrafted narrative bits and pieces, as opposed to the dynamic and player-made nature of the projections.
“As shown in our trailer, Selene also discovers her own scout corpses across Atropos,” Louden explained. “These corpses can feature projections of other players’ deaths (via our online systems), or Scout Audio Logs that are left behind by other versions of Selene, that she cannot remember recording. The projections show other players deaths in Returnal, at the conclusion of which you can decide to scavenge the remains for items or revenge their death, triggering events that are best discovered when you play. Story content from audio logs is handcrafted storytelling, whereas the projections are all created via other players’ deaths and found across all of the environments in Returnal.”
Returnal launches exclusively for PS5 on April 30.