Deathloop’s Save System Is Pissing Some Players Off

Deathloop’s Save System Is Pissing Some Players Off
Image: Arkane

Kinda feels like déjà vu, doesn’t it? In autumn, Returnal, a PlayStation 5 time loop game about killing your way to salvation, vexed players with its lack of manual saves. This week, Deathloop, a PS5 and PC time loop game about killing your way to salvation, is doing the same.

Deathloop, the latest immersive sim from Arkane, the makers of Dishonored, casts you as an arcane assassin in the thin-lapeled 1960s. You wake up on an island that cares not about the rules of time; at the end of every day, that day starts over, like that one movie starring Bill Murray. It attracted eight megalomaniacal “visionaries,” who flock to the island to partake in one eternal, ageless, kickass party. Your goal is to eliminate all eight in one single “loop” in an effort to break the cycle. (This, I do not understand. A never-ending party sounds awesome!)

Because of its looped structure, there’s an autosave function, but I understand that it’s fairly sparse, with checkpoints only coming when you complete specific actions or cross the threshold into new areas. It’s an intentional design choice, one meant to prevent players from messing something up, reloading their most recent save, and trying a segment over again. Arkane wants Deathloop players to liveloop with the consequences of their actions — mistakes or not.

“We always say our games are better when you go with the flow, when you roll with your mistakes and improvise solutions to those problems,” Arkane’s Dinga Bakaba told PC Gamer.

I haven’t played Deathloop yet (thanks, Bethesda), so I can’t personally attest to how frustrating or not frustrating the lack of a save system is, but it’s safe to say that some players aren’t taking so kindly to it.

“This save system blows,” one person wrote on Reddit, expressing frustration that there’s no apparent way to save after 40 minutes (or more) of play time. Others echoed the sentiment, saying that, thanks to the lack of manual save, Deathloop is effectively unplayable if you can only set aside 15-minute increments. And that lack of time is definitely a reality for many players, particularly parents and those with frenetic schedules.

Read More: Returnal’s Lack Of A Save Feature Is Ruining Players’ Runs

As it stands, the system has its defenders, with some folks saying a sparse save system makes Deathloop more fun. Our gaming press corps colleagues at TheGamer and PC Gamer defended Deathloop’s structure, noting that an absence of manual saves ramps up the stakes, heightens the tension, and really puts the immersive in “immersive sim.”

Those are fair points! But also, if you don’t want to use a quick-save function, you could just…not use it.

It’s worth noting, too, that Deathloop’s save function sins are not quite as egregious as Returnal’s. Runs in Returnal could easily last several hours. (In May, following widespread backlash, Returnal dev Housemarque told Axios it heard player concerns and was looking into a solution.) With Deathloop, meanwhile, there are at least autosaves within each cycle.

Kotaku reached out to Bethesda for comment but didn’t hear back in time for publication.

Comments

  • The so-called ‘save system’ is a pretty key aspect of how the game plays.

    Though I think they should add an exit-save for being able to quit and come back to where you were, but if you then die you can’t just reload that exit-save to circumvent it.

    • Agree an auto-exit save for crash recovery, also maybe one or two manual save points on the map in the exit tunnels.

      So you can run back, save, but not leave the map.

      • Not that it’d affect me personally if they do add them, but I just don’t agree with manual saves in this particular case. Simply as it circumvents the clearly intended risk vs reward gameplay loop the whole game is designed around.

    • The lack of a suspend is a real pain in the butt. Having to push through and complete what I’m doing before I can go to bed or whatever else just seems like unnecessarily poor UX.

  • Save systems like this are created for people who live in a fantasy world of no interruptions and no commitments. I must admit I did think of buying the game but when I read of the save system it was a hard pass. Like I know why it exists, and why in some senses, it does make sense, but they are clearly aiming at people with absolute gaming freedom.

  • “I haven’t played Deathloop yet (thanks, Bethesda)..”

    We get it, you’re salty over not scoring a review copy because of a nearly decade-long embargo. What exactly is stopping you from going out and buying a copy?

    “But also, if you don’t want to use a quick-save function, you could just…not use it.”
    It’s not the same game anymore by having a quick-save function, considering it’s a core part of the gameplay loop.

  • Unless I’m mistaken this is a single player game.
    The notion that you cannot save and load when you want is absolutely absurd. If it’s about achievements or some bizzare rubbish, then have a mode which allows for saving but has achievements.

    People should really be able to play a single play game the way they want. Give people the choice – make it clear what the defaults are and why – then give people a choice!!

  • Yup. Currently leaving my PC just gently cooking itself unattended because I wasn’t done when I needed to step out. Waste of power. Waste of time. Save-and-quit should be a fucking standard, anyone who doesn’t do it is either too lazy to solve the problem, or a complete fucking asshole who has zero respect for players.

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