Considering Returnal’s dark and mysterious mood, it’s no surprise that Housemarque’s game also has a strange conclusion. Despite the defeat of the boss, in fact, the game continues just as it started to give players the opportunity to complete it. This means that, besides the main story, there is much more to discover on the planet of Atropos. Between additional cutscenes, sequences, and secrets to unearth, the game never ceases to amaze me. In this regard, today I want to talk more about a special part of the game when you reach the end. Here is my Returnal secret ending guide!
Returnal is definitely not your everyday game. The game tells of Selene, a space pilot who, because of an accident, shipwrecked on an unknown planet. Here, the protagonist tries to determine the traces of an unknown radio signal and, for this reason, goes into the dark depths of the planet. The marked playful component, however, immediately takes precedence over the narrative. The events that Selene will encounter will mostly be an excuse to shoot and beat all the enemies that stand in front of you.
Nothing strange, so far. The peculiarity you need to know is that the title structure has strong roguelike connotations. Which means, every time you die, Housemarque’s title will transport you to the crash site of your spaceship at the start of the game. There are no save zones or bonfires that will allow you to save your game. However, now it is time to find out the secret ending in Returnal!
In order not to miss anything, the Housemarque developers have hidden a secret ending in the game. Take note that this ending is unlockable through a few very simple steps. To unlock Returnal’s secret ending, you must first beat the final boss, and then finish the game. This means that once you defeat Ophion, you will have completed the six biomes that will serve your purpose. Once the game is over, you will wake up as usual at the Helios ship impact site to start Act 3.
While this new beginning may seem the same as the others, you will immediately notice that there are new objects scattered around the biomes called Solar Fragments. You will need these fragments to get to the real ending of the game. Below are the basic steps that you need to follow to reach that end goal. Once you have completed these steps, you will be able to witness the real ending of the game.
- Complete the game.
- Collect all six Solar Fragments.
- Watch the final house sequence to get the car keys.
- Defeat the final boss again.
- Unlock the Sedan.
As mentioned, in Act 3 of Returnal, you will find new items called Solar Fragments. In total, there are six fragments to be collected for each biome, in order to proceed with the next step. Since the generation of the maps is random, it is not possible to explain exactly where to find each biome. What you need to know, though, is that there is one hidden for everyone. This means that you will have to search the game world thoroughly to get them all.
Fortunately, Solar Fragments are permanent items, and you will not lose them upon death. Once you have all six fragments, Selene will comment on your achievement saying that the item is finally complete. With all six fragments in hand, it’s time to head to the house and complete the entire sequence that awaits you. Remember that in order to unlock this sequence, you must have completed all the previous ones related to the house.
To confirm that you have seen them all, check that the house has “locked you out”. Then, when you have completed the house sequences, collected all the fragments, reached the house, and completed the last available sequence, you will get the car keys. Once you have this key item in the inventory, you will have to defeat the final boss again. When you have defeated Ophion, dive into the crater once more.
Once you dive into the crater left by Ophion, you will need to follow the glowing beacons to reach the abandoned Sedan that you probably passed on your first run. Use the car keys to unlock the Sedan door and get ready to enjoy the true secret ending of Housemarque’s Returnal. As soon as you see a final cutscene, you have finally finished the main story of the game.