According to a list compiled by HowLongtoBeat which is a site that’s meant to catalog your gaming backlog as well as inform you the average playtime of many games, Returnal was among the top 10 most retired games of 2021. “Retired” means people who dropped the game before finishing it. According to the list, Returnal was at No.6 in the list. The top 3 consisted of Twelve Minutes, Loop Hero and The Ascent. The full list is as follows:
This is, in certain ways both surprising and expected. While Returnal was one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2021 and even won the award for best action game at The Game Awards. The game’s initial launch was marred by bugs and crashes that rendered the game almost unplayable for many as the game was a rogue-like. Meaning that each attempt is separated in multiple hour “runs” that you have to clear in a single try or do it all over again. What made the issue particularly worse however was the fact that even if you closed the game or if the game happened to crash, you would be forced to restart your run from the beginning.
This is all ignoring the game’s high difficulty which was one of the selling points of the game, living up to Housemarque’s standard with games like Nex Machina, Returnal is a brutal third person bullet hell that forces you to keep yourself on your toes at every moment so it kind of makes sense that the game went past a lot of the casual market.
Recently, one of the things that developers have often been noticing are the rate of games that gamers actually end up finishing the games that they buy. Josef Fares, game designer for titles like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, A Way Out and this year’s surprise hit and Game of The Year winner It Takes Too(We have deliberately misspelled the name so we don’t get sued by a certain company) stated when talking about games replayability that:
“OK, here’s the thing. I’ll be short here. Replayability, really–we should be very careful talking about this, because the dangers of replayability — all the statistics show that people aren’t even finishing games. The dangerous part is that everybody, reviewers, everyone who talks about this talks about replayability. Who’s really replaying games? Maybe a small percentage of people do that. We should focus on people finishing games.”
On a different note, from another list of HowLongToBeat, Resident Evil Village was the most completed game of 2021.