How To Get Permanent Xenotech Upgrades In Returnal

Find these powerful suit upgrades that not even death can take away from you.

Returnal is a rogue-like game where death means a complete reset, and you start again from square one. However, certain upgrades are permanent in Returnal, and these are found as you explore the various biomes in the game. These Xenotech upgrades provide new abilities to Selene that allow her to use new weapon attacks and traversal techniques.

Key Takeaways
  • There are specific upgrades in Returnal that are not removed even after death and are permanent.
  • These permanent upgrades include the Atropian Weapon Charger, Hermetic Transmitter, Atropian Blade, Icarian Grapnel, Promethean Insulators, Hadal Ballast, and Delphic Visor.
  • Atropian Blade is obtained in Overgrown Ruins and acts as a melee weapon for Selene.
  • Promethean Insulators are obtained in Fractured Wastes and allow you to walk on red-damaging floors.
  • Hadal Ballast is obtained in Fractured Wastes and allows you to traverse inside water.
Important: In order to obtain all of the permanent upgrades, you will have to complete almost 90% of the game, so our guide will delve into spoiler territory.

All Permanent Xenotech Upgrades

As we’ve already mentioned before, you will get permanent upgrades in the various biomes of the game as you continue to explore. These upgrades will, in turn, allow you to access areas that you could not before. Following are the permanent Xenotech upgrades in the game;

  • Atropian Weapon Charger
  • Hermetic Transmitter
  • Atropian Blade
  • Icarian Grapnel
  • Promethean Insulators
  • Hadal Ballast
  • Delphic Visor

Atropian Weapon Charger

item in the game
The Atropian Weapon Charger In The Game (Image Captured by Us)

The first permanent upgrade that you get is the Atropian Weapon Charger, and it is found early on while exploring the Overgrown Ruins, which is the first biome in the game. You won’t miss this upgrade as the game leads you to it like most of the other permanent upgrades.

Picking up the upgrade will unlock the ALT-FIRE mode of your weapons in Returnal. Alt-Fire is basically the special attack of your weapon that deals massive damage but needs to be charged before it can be used. The Atropian Weapon Charger is one of the best and most essential upgrades since it allows you to deal more damage with your weapons in the game.

Hermetic Transmitter

returnal permanent upgrades
The Hermetic Transmitter In The Game (Image Captured by eXputer)

Hermetic Transmitter is the second permanent upgrade that you will most definitely pick up in Overgrown Ruins as well. It is also found early on while exploring the first biome in the game. This upgrade helps your traversal and makes getting around the map much easier.

item in the game
A Translocator In The Game (Image by eXputer)

Basically, you’ll see many translocators around the world, as shown in the image above. These translocators act as shortcuts or hidden paths that either take you to a new area or help you traverse large distances in the game. These translocators can only be used if you have grabbed the Hermetic Transmitter permanent upgrade additionally.

Atropian Blade

returnal permanent upgrades
The Atropian Blade In The Game (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)

The final permanent upgrade that you find in Overgrown Ruins is the Atropian Blade. The blade acts both as a weapon and a key. It can be used as a melee weapon in the game that can kill most enemies in a single hit. Additionally, it can be used to destroy those red shields that block access to certain rooms in the game. 

Some enemies in the game will also have that red shield, and you’ll have to break it with your Atropian Blade first; otherwise, your guns will do no damage at all. As for the location of this upgrade, you will find it in the Crimson Wastes Teleporter room in Overgrown Ruins. The room is red in color and quite distinct from the rest of the biome as it actually acts as the entrance to the next biome. 

Icarian Grapnel

returnal permanent upgrades
The Icarian Grapnel In The Game (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

Crimson Wastes is the second biome in Returnal that players can explore, and there is only one single permanent upgrade for Selene here. You actually have to beat the main boss of the biome in order to get this upgrade. Ixion is the main boss, and it is definitely one of the hardest boss fights in the game.

item in the game
Ixion, The Second Boss In Returnal (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)

Once you beat the boss, Selene will automatically extract the Icarian Grapnel. Now the grapnel actually acts like a grappling hook for Selene and adds to her traversal in Returnal. She will be able to climb her way up or jump over large gaps by using the grappling hook. The Icarian Grapnel is extremely useful in the third biome as well, where you’re continuously using it to traverse large gaps.

Promethean Insulators

returnal permanent upgrades
The Promethean Insulators In The Game (Image credit: eXputer)

You won’t get any permanent upgrades in the third or fourth biome of the game. The Promthean Insualtors are obtained in the Fractured Wastes biome, which is the fifth biome in the game. These can be obtained early on in the biome if you have an Atropian Key to spare.

returnal permanent upgrades
The Locked Door In Fractured Wastes (Image Captured by Us)

As you arrive in Fractured Wastes, you will enter a main hub area where three main paths will branch off. There will be a fourth locked door in the same hub area, as shown in the image above. You’ll need an Atropian Key to unlock it, and the Promethean Insualtors will be located inside the room.

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The Red Hazardous Floor In Returnal (Image Captured by eXputer)

Once you obtain this upgrade, you will be able to traverse the hazardous red floors in the game. These deal damage to Selene if she walks on them without the Promethean Insulators, so now you will be able to get over them to unlock more areas in the game.

Hadal Ballast

returnal permanent upgrades
The Hadal Ballast In The Game (Image by eXputer)

Hadal Ballast is your sixth permanent suit upgrade, and it is also found in the Fractured Wastes biome. In the main hub area of the biome, there is a Hadal Vault that is locked when you first arrive. You will have to explore the whole biome and find the keys in order to unlock the vault.

returnal permanent upgrades
Inside The Hadal Vault (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)

Once you have the vault unlocked, inside will be the Hadal Ballast upgrade waiting for you. The upgrade itself will allow you to walk inside the water. Selene will now be able to dive inside small water puddles, and you will be able to collect more hidden items. The sixth and final biome in the game is located underwater, so getting this upgrade is essential to beating the game.

Delphic Visor

returnal permanent upgrades
The Delphic Visor In The Game (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

The final permanent upgrade for Selene is the Delphic Visor which is also a suit upgrade in the game. The game will actually lead you to the upgrade when you are exploring the Abyssal Scar biome. You actually reach a dead end in the biome and will need the Delphic Visor in order to continue.

returnal permanent upgrades
Blue-Colored Orbs In Returnal (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)

After you’ve obtained the visor, you will be able to see many blue-colored orbs around the world, and shooting these orbs will reveal hidden platforms that will allow you to traverse new areas. Once you’ve obtained all of the permanent upgrades in the game, you should revisit all of the previous biomes to unlock all of the hidden rooms.


This concludes our guide on all of the Permanent Upgrades for Selene in Returnal. We have entailed the location of all the permanent upgrades and have mentioned what these upgrades do in complete detail. We hope that the guide was helpful in obtaining all of these upgrades in the game. Let us know what you think about Returnal in the comments below.


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Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can find out more about his gaming experience by looking through his PSN and Steam profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Previously Worked as a Freelance Writer

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