The latest project from developer People Can Fly is building momentum toward its upcoming release. Today marks the first in a series of deeper looks at the next big RPG shooter. Here’s a summary of the most recent revelations about the highly-anticipated game Outriders.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Third-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: Not yet rated
What is Outriders?
Outriders is an upcoming hybrid RPG/third-person shooter, releasing both on current as well as next generation consoles. If you’re sensing a strong Destiny-like vibe, it’s likely you aren’t too far off. Although there are certainly some key differences—but more on those to come.
The core tenets of many current looter-shooters seem to be in place however. You’ll choose one of four unique classes. Each has its own set of novel skills, strengths, and abilities. Players must work to develop and grow their character(s) via RPG-style progression.
From here you’ll traverse a lore-rich open world, taking on quests and earning loot and gear. Sounding somewhat true-to-formula at this point? Likely so, but developer People Can Fly is clearly eager to put their own spin on the genre. So let’s take a look at some new details and see if Outriders is shaping up to be something new and exciting.
UI integration and overlay customization
Today’s presentation touches firstly on some details regarding difficulty, as well as the UI display. Beginning with the UI, it has been revealed that the HUD display will be very customizable.
For starters, players can choose just how much or little of the HUD they can see. If you like, you can remove almost all elements for a more natural view of the environment. Conversely, if you are a fan of figures and displays, there are plenty of options to add various overlays.
As a fan of watching enemy life peel away in numbers, I am glad to see Outriders incorporates this staple RPG feature. My brain loves watching numbers popping over baddies’ heads corresponding to the munitions that I’m sending their way. However, if seeing enemy damage bothers you, you’ll be happy to know it’s also optional.
We are also learning that Outriders will have a dynamic scaling difficulty setting. The primary measure of difficulty will be seen in “World Tiers”. Essentially, increasingly better performance will unlock higher tiers, introducing greater difficulty (and better rewards).
What’s notable is that performance will affect your placement both ways. Just as success will improve your rating, frequent deaths will reduce it. In this way the system dynamically attempts to always place players at the most ideal difficulty.
This reminds me a lot of the dynamic difficulty system in MLB The Show 20. I love how my batting and pitching performance is constantly being graded, and affecting the overall difficulty of the game automatically. If the system in Outriders is equally well done, then I am certainly excited to see if it creates a more enjoyable experience over time.
Lastly, the developer also specifies that difficulty will scale with the number of participants. This is certainly a nice, although I’m not sure it’s groundbreaking enough to mention as a “feature”. Don’t we already basically expect this to be the case in multiplayer games?
Playing the Trickster
Next up, today’s deep dive puts a focus on the Trickster class. From a traditional RPG standpoint, it appears that the Trickster most closely correlates to the “assassin” or “stealth” role.
The primary style of play for the Trickster involves the manipulation of space and time. They can perform devastating melee attacks by slowing down time for the enemy. In this sense the Trickster class focuses strongly on an “in-and-out” style of attack.
During this look at the Trickster, People Can Fly reminds us that Outriders has a very “aggro” style of healing. Instead of hiding and waiting for time to pass to allow health regenerate, the game instead rewards offensive play with health restoration. If you’re flashing back to the similar style of aggro-healing in From Software’s Bloodborne, you’re not alone. I for one am a big fan of the “heal-by-attacking” approach, and this development definitely excites me.
Moving back to the Trickster, this style of healing shows immense potential. This class has abilities capable of luring in huge groups of enemies and dealing large amounts of damage at close range. In this manner, a nearly-dead Trickster can pull off a massive attack and regenerate their entire health in one powerful move.
Questions and answers
Capping off today’s broadcast, the developer answered a few rapid fire questions with blunt but informative responses. Firstly, People Can Fly states that Outriders is not a “games-as-service”. They claim that every bit of content Outriders features will be “on the disc”, meaning the final build will encompass the entire scope of the game.
Next we learned that there will be no micro transactions in the game, nor will it use “Denuvo” (an anti-piracy software unpopular among many gamers due to its perceived affect on game performance). Both are naturally welcome bits of news for eager players.
Finally, the developer is intent to make clear that we have only seen a small portion of the game world so far. People Can Fly plans to impress players with a vast sandbox to play in, and also wants players to know that the game is still being tweaked with the goal of delivering the most enjoyable experience possible.
Outriders is out to evolve the RPG shooter genre
Based on today’s deep dive, I’m certainly keen to at least see more of Outriders. There’s no doubt that it’s a tumultuous genre to be exploring right now. There have been great successes, but also massive failures among this brand of looter-shooter style of game.
That said, today’s showing is certainly impressive for what it is. I see glimpses of mechanics I like from entirely different genres of games, and I’m interested to see if the can be successfully employed here. If done well, they may have the potential to elevate Outriders above the mass of games vying for our attention both at the end of this console generation, as well as the next when Outriders releases a second time on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X platforms.
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