The house is a major location in Returnal, but it’ll be locked the first time players encounter it. Since it’s where a good deal of the game’s story unwinds, players will want to learn how to unlock the house in Returnal as early as possible. However, it’s not entirely something that players can actively influence.
For us, it took a while for the house key to appear in Returnal. We’re not sure what triggers the key needed to unlock the house to appear, but it didn’t show up until after defeated Phrike and visited the Crimson Wastes for the first time. We had also died around ten times at this point, which might also be something that triggers the key to show up.
Fortunately, the house shows up in the Overgrown Ruins every single run. Sometimes it might be near the Helios, and other times it may be the farthest room away. However, it’ll always spawn, meaning there’s always a chance for the key to show up. The key itself is easy to find. It’ll be near the teleporter in the same room as the house, so make sure to keep an eye out for it on each run.
Subsequent visits to the house won’t require a key. Instead, players should just check to see if the lights are on each run. If they are, Selene can pop in for some story, if not keep it moving.
The house will open six times during the course of the game. For us, it seemed to be open more often after an excellent run. So, we figure one of the following triggers it:
- Reaching a certain point in the game or getting a particular item.
- How many times Selene has died.
- Total playtime.
One of these three (or perhaps a combination) is what causes the house to unlock each time.