While the game requires 16GB of RAM just to get it running, you’ll need at least 32GB of RAM to meet the recommended system requirements.
Sony’s Returnal is the latest PlayStation exclusive to make the jump to PC, but it comes with a hefty RAM recommendation (via WccfTech). While you’ll need a minimum of 16GB of RAM in your rig just to get it in a playable state, Returnal’s Steam listing recommends at least 32GB to get the most out of its gameplay and graphics.
To get an idea of how unusual this is, not even Microsoft Flight Simulator recommends this amount of RAM; it has a minimum requirement of 8GB of RAM and recommends 16GB. Meanwhile, other graphically-demanding PC games, like Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2, Dying Light 2, and A Plague Tale: Requiem, don’t suggest more than 16GB of RAM.
Returnal is a third-person roguelike shooter that features undeniably stunning visuals, but it’s still not clear why the game demands so much RAM to unlock its full potential. The rest of the system requirements seem pretty normal for a game ported from a next-generation console, as you’ll need at least an Intel i7-8700 or AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU, along with an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super or AMD RX 6700 XT GPU or better to meet its recommended specs.
However, a leaked video of the game (which has since been taken down) might shed some light on the high RAM recommendation. As noted by PC Gamer, the video suggests that Returnal could include support for both Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR upscaling technology, ray-tracing for both shadows and reflections, as well as unlocked framerates.
Mikael Haveri, the brand director at Returnal developer Housemarque, appears to hint at some of these perks in the Sony blog post announcing the PC port. “For our PC version there will be an array of PC specific tweaks and upgrades to make sure that the experience is as fluid as possible,” Haveri explains, while adding that more details about this will become available “later.”
Even if Returnal does support ray-tracing and upscaling technologies, it still doesn’t explain what it does differently for Sony to recommend 32GB of RAM as a baseline. Both Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered support ray-tracing and DLSS, but only their highest ultimate ray-tracing options require 32GB of RAM. Otherwise, you can still play both games comfortably with just 16GB of RAM.
In addition to Returnal, Sony also announced that it’s bringing the PS5 exclusive The Last of Us Part 1 remake to PC next year. Sony hasn’t revealed the required specs for this game yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if the company ups the RAM recommendation on this, too.