Game Guides

Returnal: What Do You Keep When You Die?

What carries over in each loop?

by Diego Perez


Death is a core part of Returnal, but you keep a few items and materials when you die and restart the loop from the beginning. Like most roguelikes, Returnal lets you unlock permanent upgrades and allows you to retain some of your things between runs, providing you with the means to improve your abilities and upgrade your gear so you can get even further next time. With so many things to keep track of though, it can be tough to figure out what exactly carries over. Here’s what you keep and what you lose when you die in Returnal.

What Carries Over Between Runs in Returnal?

You keep the following items when you die in Returnal.

  • Any permanent equipment like the Atropian Blade or the Icarian Grapnel
  • Any permanent items like the House Key
  • Ether

Any new artifacts and items that you scan during a run will be permanently unlocked as well, although you’ll still lose them upon death. Because you scanned them, however, they will start to appear randomly in future runs. You also keep any research progress you’ve made on enemies, weapons, and other things, and you don’t have to fight any bosses again after beating them the first time.


Because you really only keep Ether and story-related items when you die, you lose basically everything else when starting a new run. That means you’ll lose the following items when you die in Returnal.

  • Your equipped weapon
  • Weapon proficiency
  • Carried consumable items
  • Datacubes
  • Parasites
  • Malfunctions
  • Artifacts
  • Obolites
  • Keys
  • Any stat changes

Atropos is a punishing planet, so expect to lose all your items very often in Returnal. Death is a key part of the game though, and starting from the beginning is just a part of the experience. Save your Ether, learn what Parasites and weapons to look for, and try and get just a little bit further each time.

Returnal is available now on PlayStation 5.

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