Selene goes through a lot of doors and gateways as she journeys across Atropos. But what do red doors signify?

Returnal Red Doors Explained: What are Red Doors?

Selene goes through a lot of doors and gateways as she journeys across Atropos. But what do red doors signify?
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Returnal has a lot of doors. Some are tangible and lead to new areas in each of the roguelike’s biomes, giving you access to fabricators, reclaimers, and translocation spheres. Others are more metaphorical and tie into Selen’s story. The game’s red doors are of the former variety and can be found in certain locations on the Returnal map. But what do they signify? 

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In short, red doors denote the location of a biome’s boss. Once you go through these, you’re on your way to fighting one of Returnal’s five big bads. The first one you come across is for the Anathema Vault in the Overgrown Ruins, Returnal‘s first biome. 

What are Returnal Red Doors?

Once you go through a red door in Returnal, you’ll likely come across a handful of enemies leading up to the boss. Sometimes these can be low-level mobs, but they can also be tougher enemies, such as Automatons in the Derelict Citadel, giving a good run for your money. 

It’s always important to be ready for a fight when going through red doors, though can always go back to other areas in a biome before taking on a boss. All Returnal bosses have an arena, and fights only start once you’ve entered their arena.

Luckily, the threshold for most arenas is pretty clear, and most of them have a weapon to pick up just before them. So don’t go past the weapon if you don’t want to start the boss fight! 

Can You Bypass Red Doors in Returnal?

Sometimes, red doors can be circumvented by finding a teleporter that takes you straight to the boss fight. These are, like everything else in Returnal, often located in random places in each cycle. But be on the lookout for them, because they let you bypass a large portion of a biome, which can be particularly useful if you already have a good build and don’t want to risk dying to disadvantageous RNG. 

These portals look like mid-sized stone pillars (one taller pillar in the middle and two smaller ones on each side) with a blue, glowing sphere in the middle. They will expand into a quadrilateral shape and a mirage of the next area in the middle when you approach them.  

That’s about all there is to know about Returnal red doors. For more on Returnal, including guides on how the game’s save function works, how to get the grappling hook, and how to get past orange/yellow doors, consider heading over to our Returnal tips hub!

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Jonathan Moore
Jonathan Moore is the Editor-in-Chief of GameSkinny and has been writing about games since 2010. With over 1,200 published articles, he's written about almost every genre, from city builders and ARPGs to third-person shooters and sports titles. While patiently awaiting anything Dino Crisis, he consumes all things Star Wars. He has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing focused on games writing and narrative design. He's previously been a newspaper copy editor, ad writer, and book editor. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, watching football, and walking his three dogs. He lives on Earth and believes in aliens, thanks to Fox Mulder.