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Four mysteries from the Returnal Trailer answered


Gold Member
GAF Trailer thread: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/returnal-story-trailer.1596608/
Source: https://blog.playstation.com/2021/03/17/returnal-four-mysteries-from-the-new-story-trailer-answered/

1. An unauthorised recon mission gone wrong​

Our story follows Selene, a Greek-American ASTRA deep space scout who is a complex and layered character that is driven to a fault, intelligent, and resourceful. For the first time in her career she goes against orders to travel to the alien planet Atropos to follow the “White Shadow” broadcast signal. Upon arrival she crash lands in an alien forest. Here she discovers the ruins of an alien civilisation filled with statues, gates, xeno-tech, and alien corpses. But she’s not alone. The planet’s surface is teeming with hostile creatures that attack Selene on sight, as well as other threats left by the world’s former inhabitants

Across Atropos everything is hostile, alien or mysterious, leaving Selene to be one of our sole human elements. So it was important for us that our lead was a compelling, complex character that players would root for and want to understand better. I am very happy to share that Selene is voiced in a raw and grounded performance by Jane Perry (recently Diana Burnwood in the Hitman Trilogy), while her visual appearance and facial capture is performed by Anne Beyer.

2. How the world changes to challenge you​

During her first scout, Selene scans xeno-tech, defends herself and finds useful resources, but eventually she succumbs to the elements and dies only to reawaken again in her ship’s cockpit moments before the crash. On leaving the crash site, she discovers the world has changed its layouts, making her journey to the “White Shadow” signal different on every cycle and rebirth. It’s an endless cycle where even death is no escape.

With Selene, players uncover this mystery together and have to fight through the hostile creatures, traps, hazards, and more hostile elements of Atropos. It is a story that you have to piece together with Selene and interpret through our environments, sound design and pure story elements. We show some of these environments in our story trailer and there’s even more unique environments and creatures to explore, understand, and overcome during Returnal.

Each environment is a special location that has new creatures to encounter, more story to discover and much more. As you can see from the trailer, the Overgrown Ruins is a maze-like oppressive forest, filled with the remnants of the alien civilization that rearranges like a puzzle on every cycle,. In comparison, the Crimson Wastes is an open red desert with new hostile threats and story layers to uncover.

Every location on Atropos shuffles and changes on each death and rebirth, giving Selene and players a new challenge with every replay. Fortunately Selene is very resourceful and can utilise the xeno-tech to find shortcuts, while making permanent progress thanks to certain items that withstand the cycle. Other items also allow her to fight longer and harder with every cycle.

3. Relive other cycles that aren’t your own​

During your journey through Atropos you discover the story of the alien civilization through a set of holographic statues, which are called Xeno-archives, and the disturbed writings found on Xenoglyphs, which tell the same story from another point of view. Xeno-archives are purely visual that need to be deciphered, whereas Xenoglyphs are written and need to be translated via language samples collected across Atropos. It is a new way to tell a story and we’re very excited for players to try to uncover the mysteries of this alien civilization.

As shown in our trailer, Selene also discovers her own scout corpses across Atropos. 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.

4. Uncover a deeper mystery in first-person​

Last but not least, as you noticed in our trailer, Selene also discovers a mysterious house that is strangely familiar. Returnal is primarily a third-person action experience, but Selene and players can also choose to go inside this house on Atropos in atmospheric first-person story sequences where she confronts strange and familiar events inside that you need to piece together…

So Returnal is not just a sci-fi action action thriller and roguelike. We also have a bold, dark cinematic story to tell. It is a mystery to decipher and replay, like our gameplay mechanics come every cycle. For me it’s a story about self-discovery, progress and breaking the cycles we put ourselves in.


I'm excited mate, thanks for making a summary post. I'm especially excited about the VA because I really love her as Diana in Hitman. Will be great to see her tackle something less grounded than Hitman, she has a great voice for describing mad imagery.
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Airbus Jr

Thanks for the story recap

Everytime you mentioned Xeno my mind always flies to Xenomorph
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NeoGAF is creaking for me, went down for 3 minutes or so, it must be cracking under the weight of the metric tons of whining that people are expressing over this game.

We are safe here though, we can be excited about this game without them turning up to whine, they'll never find us here! muhahahaha

you have no power here GIF

This is an unlisted thread, right...

Shocked Dog GIF by Scooby-Doo
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Gold Member
Do we ever had a greek-american protagonist before in a videogame?!

Maybe they are gonna link the plot to greek mythology?

Do we know if there is any kind of npc? or it's only her and the monsters?
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I love the alien that reaches into its torso and throws radioative kiwi yoghurt at you. I wonder if they are inspired by Metal Slug 3 zombies, specifically the guy whose chest/ribs open and he shoots zombie goo at you.
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