Box art - Returnal

Returnal: How to find the Crimson Key and unlock the Crimson Gateway

Players will come upon the ruins of the Crimson Gateway early on in Returnal. This structure requires the Crimson Key to use, but its location isn’t immediately apparent. Unlocking the Crimson Gateway with the Crimson Key requires players to face the first big challenge in Returnal, which we detail below.

How to find the Crimson Key location and unlock the Crimson Gate in Returnal

Returnal Crimson Key Location

Players will first run into the Crimson Gateway when looking for a way to break open the red barriers. The Atropian Blade is found here, but there’s no obvious way to activate the gate. When approached, players are notified that they’ll need the Crimson Key to unlock it.

Finding the Crimson Gateway isn’t tough. Although each map layout is randomly generated, it’s almost always past the area containing the door leading to the vault. Players will easily spot the entrance to the gateway room as it has a semi-circle above it on the mini-map.

Finding the location of the Crimson Key requires players to continue playing through the level. Before they can get it, they’ll have to find the key to open the vault and beat Phrike, the first boss.

When defeated, Phrike will drop the Crimson Key. This item will allow players to activate the Crimson Gateway and head to the next biome. However, beating the first boss will test everything players have learned up to that point.

Once players unlock the gateway, they can pass into the Crimson Wastes. This vast area is much different from the relatively tight quarters of the Overgrown Ruins. Fortunately, once the gate is opened, it stays that way. So, players only have to obtain the Crimson Key once in the game. After that, the room containing the gate tends to spawn closer to the Helios as well, so it’s a lot easier to make it back there if Selene starts another loop.