Welcome to the IGN walkthrough and wiki guide for Returnal on PS5. This page explains how to use the datacube processor to convert datacubes into artifacts.
Note that you’re only able to pick up and carry one datacube at a time, and if you die before bringing it to a datacube processor, it’s lost forever until you find another one in a subsequent run.
How To Use The Datacube Processor in Returnal
Sometimes while exploring Atropos you’ll come across strange items called ‘datacubes’. These cubes contain artifacts that, once unlocked by bringing the alien cube to a datacube processor, are also able to spawn and appear in each subsequent playthrough once unlocked.
Each datacube you come across in Returnal is prefixed with the name of a random artifact, which is the artifact that you unlock upon bringing the cube to a processor.
For example, this Unfed Pod datacube contains the Unfed Pod artifact. I can unlock that artifact by bringing the datacube to a location with a datacube processor, which is usually found after beating a boss or at a hub area.
This is what a datacube processor looks like in Returnal.
After using the device, I’m able to analyze and pick up my new artifact.
And there you have it! A brand new artifact from a previously useless datacube.