Return is a game full of secrets. The plot is a complicated, intricate and totally unreliable story. That is of course the intention of developer Housemarque. The mystery of ReturnThe story is as much of an attraction as the roguelite, third-person bullet hell gameplay. While the secrets of Return may never be fully discovered, Housemarque has at least one discovery that he hopes will be found. Return players can look to the Tower of Sisyphus for answers.
In conversation with VideoGamesChronicle, ReturnSenior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen shared some thoughts on something she hopes players are yet to discover. Korhonen was asked if there were any specific secrets to find out Return that she wanted to be found. In her response, she said there was something she hoped players would discover, although she says it’s less of a secret, but rather a “nice philosophical reference.”
Korhonen’s message to Return‘s player base is suitable for such a complicated game. A secret is something specific and tangible that players can find. However, a “nice philosophical reference” is formless and something that players may think about and never realize how important it is to Return‘s story. Korhonen will, of course, see if players find out, but whether she’ll tell players when they do or not remains to be seen.
The Tower of Sisyphus is a game mode added to Return after launch. it elevates Return‘s difficulty by offering 20 levels of roguelite action, with each level offering stronger weapons and upgrades in addition to an increase in intensity and challenge. It is also a reference to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was punished by Zeus for the twice deceit of death and was forced to roll a boulder forever up a hill, then roll down the other side.
Selene, the protagonist of Return, has been previously described as Sisyphus, even before Housemarque added the Tower of Sisyphus to the game. However, the conclusion Korhonen hopes players reach is not clear. Maybe it’s Selene’s attempt to recover from past trauma, or the fact that even in her best moments Selene only gets a short breather from “climbing the tower.” Perhaps Korhonen has a more specific real-life parallel where she would like to see players arrive.
ReturnThe secrets and truths behind the message may never be fully revealed, but that is the nature of Return† The repetitive structure of Return is inherent in the story, even if it may not feel that way when shooting aliens with increasingly powerful weapons.
Return is now available on PS5.
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