You’re going to find loads of locked doors and chests as you play through Returnal. And in order to open them, you’ll need to find the right kind of key. The most common of these is the Atropian Key, which is the ideal tool to open secured gates and containers. But where can you find Atropian Keys? And is there any other way to open locked treasure chests?
How to get Atropian Keys in Returnal
Thanks to procedural generation, Atropian Keys have a chance to spawn in any area throughout Returnal. Unfortunately, that means there’s no specific location where you can find one. Thankfully, they are easy to spot: You can find Atropian Keys by looking for their signature blue glow.
First things first: Nearly all items in Returnal spawn in random locations. Though the world doesn’t completely change every time you begin a new run, items, chests, and health drops will appear in different places. Fortunately, the game’s minimap highlights all items in each area. Atropian Keys appear on the minimap as an upside-down triangle.
They also glow blue, just like Weapon Calibrators and Ether. Weapon Calibrators, of course, grant Weapon Proficiency, while Ether is the game’s only permanent currency. Put another way, if you see a blue item on the ground, it’s worth picking up, key or otherwise.
Once you’ve got an Atropian Key, you can use it to open any locked door or chest — so long as it’s not behind a red barrier.
These aren’t the only keys you’ll find throughout Returnal, however. As you make your way into later biomes, you’re more likely to find a Malignant Key. These function the same as Atropian Keys, and even use the same icon on the minimap and HUD. However, picking up a Malignant Key has a chance to give you a Malfunction. As such, it’s wise to consider whether or not you need to open a locked door or gate before picking up a Malignant Key.
You can spot both Atropian Keys and Malignant Keys by their blue glow and triangular minimap icon. Otherwise, thanks to procedural generation, neither keys have guaranteed spawn locations. That’s just the name of the game — if you want to make the most out of Returnal, you’ll need to explore each biome thoroughly.