Returnaling, over and over, to remember the things we shot. [credit:
Sony Interactive Entertainment / Housemarque
It’s not too surprising that a game like Returnal would have some hidden cheat codes allowing players to lighten the game’s punishing difficulty. But the method—which requires players to plug a USB keyboard into their PS5—for entering those newly discovered “debug mode” codes has some wondering if developer Housemarque intended for them to be accessible in the final product.
YouTuber TheRandomizer was among the first to publicize the cheats, posting a video showing a Returnal player dropping new weapons at will and teleporting to previous locations in the middle of play. A Reddit thread goes into more detail on the keyboard combinations required to get the codes to work, including warnings for certain situations where they may permanently ruin a run.
Developers traditionally use “debug modes” during a game’s development to test specific in-game situations without having to go through the sometimes arduous process of setting them up. There’s a long history of games that make extant debug modes accessible to players on the final released version, sometimes through hidden codes, sometimes through external cheat devices, and sometimes through an on-screen “debug console” that lets players type complex commands directly.