The first of a planned series of monthly broadcasts for Square Enix and People Can Fly’s upcoming shooter-RPG, Outriders, released today and let loose a lot more interesting details. Outriders was somewhat of a surprise when it was revealed last year, and any extra details we can squeeze out about this mysterious title is always welcome.
We’re going to go over the broadcast below and as an added bonus, we were able to speak with People Can Fly‘s Bartosz Kmita (Game Director) and Piotr Nowakowski (Senior Designer) whom both chipped in to clarify a few questions that we had while watching. And of course, if you want to just watch it yourself, you can so above. Otherwise, let’s dive into our summary and interview.
The First City
This, as you can probably guess is the first colony that humans created to begin their life on the planet of Enoch. It’s actually just a piece of the massive spaceship that was brought down to the planet to serve as a temporary settlement and power source.
Enoch is a very unfriendly place and just about every living thing on it wants to kill you. Something referred to in the demo as an anomaly storm ripped through the first city early on and damaged the colony and their power source.
In fact, it caused a nuclear explosion that covered the area in radiation –not ideal. And the result of all that chaos is the First City turning into a giant slum wrought with death and unfriendly human factions. The ECA, AKA the good guys, are at odds with the humans that still scavenge The First City.
The inspiration behind Outriders, didn’t come from any specific product or idea People Can Fly confirmed in our conversation. It was a mix of things but all of these movies, games, etc. that inspired them all had one common aspect they said: “gritty sci-fi that meets this fantasy vibe.”
Humans are searching the planet for something known as a mysterious signal. The first part of the broadcast’s gameplay showed a combat section where the ECA are searching for a truck that contains important information about these anomaly storms and the mysterious signal, whatever that is.
It’s not an easy task as the humans need to fight off other humans and also a very angry, hostile, alien creatures native to Enoch. They are reminiscent of the Zerg from StarCraft 2 and attack in swarms.
We get a look at the various fire-based abilities of the Pyromancer which, as you can imagine, uses fire-based abilities to damage enemies both with AoE and more focused attacks.
While all of the classes we’ve seen so far have abilities with fantasy spell-like elements to them, the Pyromancer seems the most “mage-y” so far. Like Destiny though, balancing traditional gunplay (Outriders is third-person not first-person) and special abilities is the key to playing effectively.
User Interface, World Tiers, & Lore
Because Outriders is a shooter-RPG, there’s important information in the UI that relates to, well, both shooter and RPG gameplay elements.
The broadcast spent time showing off the ways that you can customize the UI to your liking. It can be made to be loaded with any information that you want including damage numbers, health, abilities cooldown etc., or it can be minimalistic and clean if you don’t need any of that or are playing on an easy enough World Tier where it doesn’t matter and you just want to take in the sights.
I have wondered for a while now why more games don’t employ dynamic difficulty settings seen in games like MLB The Show, or more apples to apples in the case of Outriders, Diablo III.
As you get better at the game, the game will scale you up to a better challenge. Outrider’s World Tiers will do this too, and the broadcast today detailed that a bit more.
It’s pretty simple, as you play Outriders without dying you’ll unlock higher World Tiers that will ramp up the difficulty but offer better rewards. Again, seemingly very reminiscent of how Torment levels worked in Diablo III.
If you die a lot, the game will bring you back down a notch. At any point though you can manually change the difficulty to whatever World Tier that you’ve unlocked.
The maximum is 15, and I asked about what that experience is like. Would be it be possible to play it solo? Or is it designed for perfectly constructed teams?
“It depends on how proficient that player will be,” said People Can Fly adding that “it’s definitely not multiplayer restricted.”
According to the developers, players that want to survive on the highest world tiers (15 is the highest) will need to really work on their build, ensuring that they have a logical combination of skills as you can only have three equipped at any time out of eight. Class points, in general, need to be spent effectively, and of course, your equipment will need to be on point. They also mentioned that the difficulty will scale up with the numbers of players.
So while a single-players will technically have an easier time in that regard, there is of course no margin for error when you don’t have a teammate around to help you out. So in essence it sounds like, according to People Can Fly, you can play even the hardest content solo if you can handle it, but you just really need to be on your game.
What’s interesting is that at higher World Tiers in Outriders you’ll get gear that drops above your current level but can be equipped anyway if you stay in the harder World Tiers, but becomes unable to be equipped until you’re the appropriate level if you go back down in World Tier.
Lorehounds appear to have a lot to sink their teeth into as well. There is unlockable lore all throughout the game that can be accessed in-game whenever you want. The UI for it looked very similar to Horizon Zero Dawn if you’re familiar with that. You can go into the menu and re-read anything you find whenever you want.
People Can Fly understands that while some players are going to be there for the shooter-RPG gameplay, a lot of people just want to play for the complete story experience. Outriders reiterated during the broadcast that it is not a games as a service title. It is designed to be a complete and finished product at launch.
They confirmed that if players want, they can stay on World Tier 1 and just play as casually as possible through the story and experience everything the game has to offer from a story perspective.
The Trickster is the first class to get the spotlight in the Outriders Broadcast. Each month we can expect a different class to get fleshed out more.
The Trickster is the assassin, rogue-like class in Outriders. It’s extremely mobile and can warp through space and time around the map (using the ability Hunt the Prey) to sneak up on enemies and hit them extremely hard.
There are support-like elements as well to the Trickster too; it’s not just all offense. Its melee ability, Temporal Slice, can briefly slow down enemies, making them vulnerable to easy headshots, and it can summon a massive dome known as a Slow Trap that will slow down enemies and their attacks, creating a bullet-time effect that will allow you and allies to easily dodge bullets and pick off anyone caught in the trap.
There are a total of eight powers and you can mix and match any three at a time. That said, you can swap out abilities whenever you want, even in combat, if you wanted to.
What’s especially neat is the Aura of Time skill which grants you a shield and allows you to create a time clone of yourself. You can then rush out into combat and rack up as much kills as you can and then warp back to where you used the skill and left your time clone to eject yourself back to safety when it gets too hairy. This can obviously be used effectively in tandem with Hunt the Prey.
The broadcast explains how there is no healing via potions or items in Outriders and each class has its own healing mechanic.
For the Trickster, up close and personal kills will quickly regenerate your health, and seems to give the Trickster an almost Doom Guy-like style of play as it will constantly need to be racking up kills to keep their health topped off.
There are three skill trees that you can progress through as you level up: Harbinger, Assassin, and Master of Space. I asked whether these were firm subclasses or just signposts of sorts that guide players to what the skills in each path contain and they confirmed it was the latter.
At a glance, it appears to be very similar to Borderlands where you should be able to max out one tree while still having a few points mixed in other things if you want and you can respec if needed.
The broadcast showed a lot of what the Trickster is capable of but I wanted to know what the weaknesses of the Trickster were. I suspected that it would be similar to other assassins in other games where they hit hard, but can’t take damage nearly as well, and they confirmed that to be generally somewhat true but they stressed that it ultimately comes down to your character’s build.
“It depends on how you build your character. That’s the crucial part of the class system. When you start with the game we are giving you the basics; playing this way is the safe way for this class. But the more you play, and the more you [get] familiar with the systems, you will be changing this class through character skill points, items that are dropped, modifications on the items,” said People Can Fly.
They also added that “you will be building your character and your character will have a weakness.” So essentially, you’re going to have lots of build options and whatever you don’t address through your limited character skill points, will end up being the hole in your game.
That’s our summary and interview, but there’s still more smaller details to mine out from the roughly 30-minute broadcast if you want to go digging for even more. So if you’re following Outriders closely, definitely make sure to give it a watch when you have some time.
Outriders is set to release this year on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. There will be another Outriders Broadcast next month which will likely drop off another similar amount of information.