Returnal got its latest patch earlier today, and it was pulled within hours when players discovered that it caused a critical save file error. Anyone who installed the latest patch will need to re-download the game, say the developers. They also advise anyone affected by the new error not to try to play the game until a new patch is out.
Users on Reddit reported that, after having downloaded the patch, they would lose their save files. Others reported getting an error message that prevented them from progressing in the game. What they reported must have been pretty serious and widespread, because developer Housemarque apologized and announced on Twitter that it’d pulled the patch and reverted to a previous version of the game in order to fix the issue. They stated that a new patch would be live in a few hours.
To be clear, patching Returnal was already a tricky proposition. The devs had previously recommended that users turn off auto-updates because, if the game updated while you were in the middle of a suspended run, then you’d lose your run. So players already had to prepare for possible problems whenever the game updated. And it’s very inconvenient to turn off auto-updates, because doing so turns them off for every PS5 game.
Also, Returnal doesn’t have a conventional save system. You can’t save in the middle of runs, for example, which means that if anything happens during your run, you lose it with no way to get that progress back. Players have been asking for a better save system for a while, but the developers have sort-of implied that having one would defeat the purpose of the game. But runs in the game can take hours, and it’s frustrating that something outside the players control can just eat so much progress.