How To Fix the Returnal Crash at Launch Issue on PC

Ali Hashmi
Ali Hashmi
5 Min Read
Returnal Screenshot

Housemarque’s Returnal is finally out on PC through Steam and the Epic Games Store. This excellent PS5 exclusive is now on PC with tons of PC-specific features. Some users have reported a few technical issues though, which isn’t uncommon with newer PC releases. If you’re running into the Returnal crash at launch issue, here are a few things you can try.

Fixing the Returnal Crash at Launch Issue

If you’ve followed my technical guides in the past, you’ll know that most crashing issues are usually related to something either missing on the user’s end or broken files. Here are a few things you can go through to address crashes at launch or during gameplay.

Verify Game Files

As always, you first want to check if your game files are in order. Things can go wrong during the download or installation process, and both Steam and Epic Games Launcher let you verify files easily.


  • Open Steam and navigate to your library
  • Right-click on Returnal in your library
Steam Library > Returnal > Properties
  • Click Properties
  • Select the LOCAL FILES tab
  • Click on Verify Integrity of local files…
Properties > Local Files > Verify integrity of game files
Verify integrity of game files

After clicking this, a scan will start, and Steam will go through your files to check for anything out of order.

Epic Games Launcher

  • Open your Library in the Epic Games Launcher
Epic Games Launcher library
Epic Games Launcher Library
  • Now, click on the three dots next to Returnal
  • Here, select Manage
Library > Three Dots > Manage
  • Click on the Verify button next to Verify Files
Verify Button
Verify button

Update DirectX and Visual C++ Redistributables

Ensure that both DirectX and Visual C++ Redistributables are on the latest version.

Manually update your GPU Drivers

Make sure that you have the latest drivers for your GPU installed. You can get the latest ones from the links below.

Drivers in GeForce Experience

Turn Down Settings on Lower End PCs

Returnal is a bit on the demanding side, and if your PC is below the minimum requirements, I highly recommend turning down a few settings or selecting a lower preset. Keep in mind, to play the game at even 720p with low settings, you’ll need something like a GTX 1060, which has 6 GB of VRAM.

Add an exception to your anti-virus

It’s possible that the game is being flagged as a threat by your anti-virus software. Make sure to add it to the list of exclusions or exceptions.

We have listed some popular ones and their respective FAQ pages.

Switch to dedicated GPU (Laptop Users)

Ensure that your dedicated GPU is being utilized instead of the integrated one.

Switching to the dedicated Nvidia GPU

  • First, open the Nvidia Control Panel
  • Then navigate to 3D Settings and then Manage 3D Settings
  • Open the tab Program Settings and choose Returnal from the dropdown menu
  • Next, select the preferred graphics processor for this program from the second dropdown.
  • Your Nvidia GPU should show as High-performance Nvidia processor
  • Save the changes

Switching to the dedicated AMD GPU

  • First, open Radeon Settings
  • Then navigate to Preferences, followed by Additional Settings
  • Here, select Power and then Switchable Graphics Application Settings
  • Select Returnal from the list of applications
  • If Returnal isn’t in the list, click the Add Application button and select the executable from the installation directory. This adds the game to the list, and you’ll be able to select it afterward.
  • In Graphics Settings, assign the High-Performance profile to the game.

Let Windows Automatically Manage Virtual Memory

If you have a higher-end system, it’s possible that the Windows page file isn’t offering enough space to allocate the VRAM budget.

It’s recommended that you allow Windows to manage it automatically. This can be done by following the steps below.

  • In Windows Search, type “sysdm.cpl” and select the result under Best Match
Windows Search > sysdm.cpl in Best Match
sysdm.cpl in Windows Search
  • Select the Advanced tab, and then select Settings under Performance
System Properties > Advanced > Settings
System Properties
  • Here, select the Advanced tab
  • Click on Change under Virtual Memory
Performance Options > Advanced > Change
Performance Options
  • Now, check “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
Virtual Memory > Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
  • Press OK after you’ve checked it

We hope this guide helped fix the Returnal crash at launch issue. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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Gaming enthusiast, massive Soulsborne fan with hundreds of hours spread across different Soulslike titles, and a passionate writer. Always on the lookout for interesting games with unique mechanics and design especially in the indie space. He loves to write informative guides for newer and ongoing releases.
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