Returnal Permanent Equipment: What do You Keep When You Die?

What items are permanent in Returnal? Which ones do you keep after you die and start a new run? Here's what sticks around.

By its very nature and genre, Returnal is a game about constant change. Every time Selene dies, she returns to the Helios crash site at the beginning of the game. Until a certain port, she must traverse through the first area of Atropos again and again, the Overgrown Ruins. She doesn't keep all of her gear and items when she dies, but there is some permanent equipment in Returnal

Losing some items is expected in any roguelike, but knowing which ones disappear when Selene dies and which ones don't is important to survival early on. It's no surprise that the list of permanent Returnal items is much shorter than the list of items that don't carry over between cycles. 

Returnal Permanent Equipment List

You can't miss any of these items since they're all story-related and required to move forward through certain biomes. Here's what carries over between runs in Returnal

  • Anything story related
    • This includes keys to gates, portals, and other important places; it does not include Atropian Keys. These items, such as the Crimson Key, are essential for story events. 
  • Any collected Xeno technology
    • This includes suit augments, such as the Icarian Grapnel and Weapon Charger. These items are essential for navigating certain areas of every biome.  
  • Ether
    • This is a rare resource gathered during a playthrough that can be used at various stations and devices, such as the reconstructor.
  • Xenoglyph Ciphers
    • This isn't an item in the same sense that the above are items. Xenoglyph ciphers are found on walls and floors within specific biomes, and they are used to decipher Xenoglyphs. When you find one, pop-up text will tell you how many you've collected in a particular level. 

What Items Aren't Permanent in Returnal?

Basically everything else in Returnal. The long list includes everything from Obolites and artifacts to parasites and translocation spheres. Astronaut figurines disappear when you die, resurrecting you, and none of the suit integrity upgrades you've on a run made carry over to the next. 

Unless you a resurrected by either an astronaut figurine or a reconstructor, none of your weapons, weapon upgrades, or weapon proficiencies* will carry over. 

*Once you unlock more biomes, every biome, except the first, has a calibrator at the beginning of the level. This grants you a certain level of proficiency for all weapons for that biome, giving you a head start on your proficiencies and bringing your guns "up to level," so to speak.  

How to See Your Permanent Items

To see which items in your inventory are permanent, click the touchpad on the DualSense and press "R1" to scroll over to "Status." Underneath "Stats," on the right-hand side of the screen, you'll see "Permanent Equipment." This box is broken up into suite augments and items. There are a total of 6 suit augments and 10 permanent items.

How to See Your Ether

You can see how much ether you have at any given time in two places. The first is the column of boxes to the left of your mini map in-game; the top box represents your ether stash. You can also look at the row of boxes to the left of "Permanent Equipment" in the "Status" menu. The right-most box shows how much ether you have. 

The ether cap is 30. 


That's the rundown of items on the Returnal permanent equipment list. It's short but full of important gear that makes the game much more manageable. You can't miss any of the permanent items since they're all story-related, and finding out which ones you already have is as easy as popping into your menu. For more on Returnal, consider checking out our other tips articles

Editor in Chief

Published May. 26th 2021

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