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Outriders - Everything we know so far about the current and next-gen game

(Image credit: People Can Fly)

People Can Fly is striking out into the unknown with a new IP in the form of a spacefaring shooter known as Outriders. This Square Enix published title is headed to next-gen consoles and blends together a few genres. It’s a peculiar three-player co-op looter shooter with a distinct focus on storytelling and gunplay. This makes sense given the studio’s storied history making crunchy shooters! If you’re intrigued about how the game is shaping up ahead of its launch later this year, let us fill you in on everything we know about Outriders. 

What is Outriders?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Outriders is a third-person looter shooter from storied developers People Can Fly. The studio is well known for its 2004 debut Painkiller and later its work on the Gears of War franchise. In 2011, they co-developed Bulletstorm and would later go on to aid development of Fortnite’s pre-battle royale iteration, Save the World. The studio bought itself out of its agreements with Epic Games in the middle of the decade to work on its own IP, which turned out to be Outriders!

Published by Square Enix, it’s a magic-infused RPG where players can pick classes and create custom builds, embarking on missions from social hub areas, the story dictated by plentiful cutscenes and branching dialogue with NPCs. It can be played solo or with up to three other players in co-op. 

Outriders release date and platforms

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Outriders was announced during E3 2019 and is scheduled for a summer 2020 release date. It was later revealed in early 2020 that the game will be coming to both next-gen and current-gen consoles, which means it will land on the PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X and PC at launch as far as platforms are concerned. It’s being developed in Unreal Engine 4 and will be published by Square Enix. 

Outriders story - What is the premise?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The story of Outriders is somewhat influenced by Polish folklore and follows a band of soldiers who are corrupted by a force of unknown origins known as “The Anomaly” whilst trying to colonise the planet Enoch. It kills many of the invading troupe and corrupts the rest with some sort of infectious virus.

The colonisers were led to Enoch by a signal of similarly unknown origins, and following the chaos of said anomaly, the remaining faction of survivors band together to figure out the source of the signal. Those who were caught up in The Anomaly wake up after a long comatose period altered and capable of magical powers that dictate the game’s class system. Outriders will allow players to fit into the mould of typical MMO classes like tanks, rogues and mages amongst others, but gunplay is still at the core of the game.

Awake after a deadly infection, the survivors split off into disparate factions including gruesome tribes and scientists focused on technology. You’re left in the middle of this civil war on a failed colonisation project of a planet which is now full of terrible beasts as well as the worst animal of all, other humans, some which are totally corrupted by the anomaly leaving little trace of humanity in their system.

The game kicks off with the protagonist arriving on Enoch with the colonising force before jumping through time 30 years after the colonisers awaken The Anomaly. 

Outriders gameplay details - how does it play?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

During previews, the developers were quick to decry those trying to pin it down as a live service game in the same vein as The Division or Destiny due to the fact that Outriders contains a fixed narrative with a beginning and an end. However, it’s very easy to compare Outriders to games of that ilk. It has an Anthem-esque hub with native NPCs, shops to sell items and triggers to start missions. 

In battle, numbers pop out of the plentiful, health-bar toting enemies. Loot is naturally everywhere, from low rarity pistols to super rare legendary ice snipers. There’s a dynamic skill tree where you can curate your build within the class that you pick at the start, with a selection of abilities on offer that can be used in tandem with other players to create devastating combos. It’s fast-paced and rewards aggression as you mix and match shotgun blasts with walls of rock and fiery explosions. The cover system will make Gears of War players feel right at home, and the gunplay is tight and satisfying, with weapon’s dismantling enemies with a satisfying crunch.

Outriders is taking a bold stance against pay to win and it won’t feature any loot boxes. It’s also composed by Inon Zur of Fallout fame and offers narrative choices via branching dialogue trees, though its unclear what ramifications your choices will have on the game world just yet. 

The game will also feature an interesting difficulty mechanic known as the world tier system. Essentially you can dynamically shift difficulty in battle depending on how hard you’re finding the game. You’ll unlock new, more difficult world tiers as you level up which offer better loot drops and tougher foes, but you can scale it back whenever you like if things are getting too difficult. 

This means that it isn’t just up to the developers to balance the game with one blanket difficulty - the players can pick and choose how they want to experience it. Given the focus on story components, some may want to just play the game in a cinematic fashion with little challenge compared to those who want to grind for endgame loot against the more tricky enemies in Outriders.

All the Outriders trailer so far

If you want to see the game in action, check out GamesRadar’s very own preview of Outriders, which features plenty of co-op gameplay and a more coherent glimpse into the game’s art direction, combat, premise and RPG systems.