Returnal is mysterious, often obscuring certain things from players. Returnal’s secret nature also applies to its ending. In this Returnal guide (via Polygon), we’ll show you how to unlock Returnal’s secret ending to end Act 3.
[Warning: this guide will not contain spoilers for the story itself, but this ending is intentionally hidden from players. As such, there are huge spoilers for Returnal’s endgame in this guide.]
End Act 2 of Returnal
After encountering the Delphic Visor, in the depths of Abyssal Scar, you will be able to face Ophion, Returnal’s final boss. Defeat the giant tentacle monster, and it will hide in its hole at the bottom of the ocean. Follow your carcass through the hole and continue straight. You will find a small sedan with its headlights on. Remember this for later.
Walk to the end of the path, and you will wake up outside Helios. You should receive the trophy for finishing Act 2 (although our trophy was in trouble and only appeared the second time we killed Ophion). Upon waking up on the surface, you will be in Act 3.
Nothing changes in Returnal’s Act 3, but you’ll be able to find six new objects that lead to the secret end of the game: the Sunface Fragments.
How to find Sunface Fragments
Returnal has six biomes – three in Act 1 and three in Act 2 – and six Sunface Fragments to find. Finding all six Sunface Fragments will give you a key, which you will need to unlock the secret ending.
Each biome has its Sunface Fragment. These items are usually at the bottom of a biome, so you will need to explore all areas. As the map changes with each match, we cannot tell you exactly where to find each Sunface Fragment. However, the fragments seem to appear in specific rooms within each biome, so we can show you what to look for.
For Act 1 biomes – Overgrown Ruins, Crimson Wastes, and Derelict Citadel – you will need to use the time travel machine at Helios Arsenal to get back to Act 1. Use the same machine to get back to Act 2 once you have all Sunface Fragments of Act 1.
You can collect all three Sunface Fragments from each act in a race, collect all three separately or make some combination. After discovering a Sunface Fragment, you will not drop it when you die. You don’t need to complete a game to bring your Sunface Fragments back to Helios.
Sunface Fragment from Overgrown Ruins
You will find the Sunface Fragment from Overgrown Ruins in a room with a long flaw.
This failure is impossible to cross until you have the Abyssal Scar Delphic Visor. Shoot the sphere to make the platforms appear. Go through the fault and search the area for some items and the Sunface Fragment.
Sunface Fragment by Crimson Wastes
The Sunface Fragment of Crimson Waste appears in the open desert, at the top of a tower.
You will also need the Delphic Visor for this Sunface Fragment. Look for a sphere outside the tower. Shoot it and scale the platforms that appear. Now, you need to use your Icarian Grapnel to reach the top of the tower. The Sunface Fragment is on a ledge overlooking the sands.
It is important to note that this is the only Sunface Fragment that did not appear on our first journey to Crimson Waste in Act 3. We are not sure if we were fortunate with the other Sunface Fragment or if Crimson Wastes are the only area that may not generate one Sunface Fragment with every match. If you don’t see the tower when you enter the castle in Crimson Wastes, restart the game and return to the desert portal.
Sunface Fragment by Derelict Citadel
The Sunface Fragment of the Derelict Citadel is in a small body of water just after the bridge.
The first time you visited Derelict Citadel, you extended a long bridge to reach the final boss of the biome. After finishing the game, you will find some water at the end of the same bridge. After you have Hadal Ballasts that let you into the water, take a dip in the pool. You will find some items, including the Sunface Fragment, on the floor.
With Act 1 completed, use the time machine on Helios to switch back to Act 2.
Sunface Fragment by Echoing Ruins
The Sunface Fragment by Echoing Ruins is in a long room with red mud.
You will find much poisonous red sludge in the Echoing Ruins, but you should look for a specific room filled with this sludge. The room where we found the Sunface Fragment had a rounded base on the side door you entered. After the circle, there is a pit of red sludge, which will cause damage if touched. There is also a pulsing trap in the mud. But on the other side of the mortal lake is another door and an item.
Throw yourself into the mud, jumping and running as far as you can. When you get to the other side, jump on the ledge and grab the Sunface Fragment.
Sunface Fragment from Fractured Wastes
The Fractured Wastes Sunface Fragment is in a room with a huge tower in the center.
Fractured Wastes can be pretty deadly if you’ve been running there from Echoing Ruins, but luckily, there’s an easy-to-locate room that hides the Sunface Fragment. You should look for a circular room with a giant turret in a tower. Clear the enemy room and use the Delphic Visor to shoot a floating sphere. Some platforms will appear, which you can follow up to the turret platform. You will find the Sunface Fragment resting by a long-frozen corpse.
Sunface Fragment by de Abyssal Scar
The Sunface Fragment at Abyssal Scar is in a room with several platforms.
In the final biome of Returnal, you will need the Delphic Visor to find the Sunface Fragment. You should look for a room with four separate platforms embedded in cliffs – five if we include the platform that protrudes from the main path. Cross the gaps and use the Delphic Visor to shoot a sphere and create some platforms. Jump to the final platform, where you will find an item on a pedestal and the sixth Sunface Fragment.
Once you have all six fragments, you can die or defeat the final boss just for fun.
Finish house strings
After finding all six Sunface Fragments, Selene will mention that the item is complete. If you’re not sure, you can also check your inventory and check if you have all six. They are all individual items. They don’t match up in your inventory.
Now, you need to complete all the sequences in the house. Selene’s home only appears in the Overgrown Ruins and Echoing Ruins. You will need to exhaust the sequences of the Act 1 house before moving on to the Act 2 sequences. If you have not yet seen any sequences from the Act 2 house, use the time machine to travel to the Overgrown Ruins, find the house, complete the sequence and restart the game. As soon as the house blocks you, you will have to go to the house in Echoing Ruins.
If Echoing Ruins’ house doesn’t let you in because it says the house is “dark,” that means you still lack a Sunface Fragment, all six of which are the key to unlocking the final sequence of the game. Continue to complete the House Sequences at Echoing Ruins until you are teleported to a throne when you are finished. Here, you’ll find the Car Key, the final item you’ll need to see Returnal’s secret ending.
Remember when we told you not to forget about the Sedan?
Take the key to the Sedan
Once you have your car key, it’s time for another journey to Ophion. Yes, this means that you need to win the second act of Returnal again and defeat the final boss. If you want to get to Abyssal Scar as soon as possible, find the exit for Echoing Ruins and turn left instead of right. Jump in the water to reach the final biome.
At the end of Abyssal Scar, kill Ophion again and jump into the big hole. Follow the headlights back to the Sedan. Use the car key on the driver’s side door of the Sedan and enjoy the final scene of Returnal.
Congratulations on reaching the secret end of Returnal.