Earlier this week Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly unveiled a brand-new trailer for its co-operative sci-fi looter-shooter Outriders, and now, as promised, it’s shared a choice selection of gameplay details and videos as part of a half-hour long livestream reveal.
On a fundamental level, it perhaps wasn’t the most revelatory of unveilings for Outriders, with little shown to truly distinguish it from its peers; it’s a “dark” third-person cover-based shooter set in a “brutal nightmarish world” that ticks all the usual lite-RPG boxes are far as classes, skill trees, customisation, and rarity based loot acquisition goes. That doesn’t mean it’s a bust though; it looks to have an interesting premise, a striking, surprisingly diverse planet to explore, and, of course, People Can Fly’s undeniable expertise when it comes to gunplay.
Breaking all that down, Outriders tells the story of a group of mercenaries tasked with exploring Enoch, a lush, untouched planet chosen to be the site of a new human colonisation effort. Shortly after landing, however, the group encounters a mysterious signal, and, in attempting to trace its source, runs into a devastating storm known as the Anomaly. To escape its effects, the Outriders retreat into cryo-sleep, awakening 30 years later to an almost unrecognisable world.
War has broken out, flora and fauna has hyper-evolved to deadly degrees, and the Outriders’ whole DNA has been rebuilt, turning them into super-powered humans known as the Altered.
What follows is a continued quest to locate the source of the still-detectable signal, one that sees players – either solo or in co-op teams of up to three – journeying across Enoch “to the edge of civilisation and beyond”. From the technology-bereft war zone that opens the game, players explore the world as part of a convoy, shifting from hub area to hub area (the developer stresses it’s not an open-world game), stepping out across diverse biomes, from shanty town and desolate cities, to autumnal swamps and lush jungles, even deserts and mountains.
Hubs, such as Rift Town seen in the livestream, usually serve as small pockets of civilisation, giving players the chance to slow down, explore, and start unravelling Enoch’s mysteries. They provide an opportunity to embark on side quests and help NPCs with their stories, buy unique new gear, loot, and mods – or sell them for scrap – repair equipment, even sit around the campfire and share tales about Earth. And when you’re ready to move, you’ll open a whole new area adjacent to your hub, which is then unlocked for future fast travel.
Players, incidentally, can either use an existing character or make their own from scratch using Outriders’ character creator – and as the story progresses, more and more customisation opportunities will appear. One nice touch sees players able to personalise (although not directly drive) their convoy trucks, adjusting paint jobs, front bumper, chassis, wheel covers and so on, with each squad member able to show off their own designs during co-op play. It’s even possible to stick the heads of slain beasts to the bonnet if that’s your idea of fun.
Weapons, meanwhile, will evolve from standard ballistics artillery gleaned from the War Zone at the start of the game – where advanced tech is rendered useless by Anomaly – to increasingly bizarre armaments as players venture further from civilisation.
More conventionally, progress awards points that can be spend on levelling up through skill trees. Player might choose to prioritise guns over skills or vice versa; they can improve speed, health, damage, and more as they gradually tailor their preferred endgame build, with each class having its own separate skill tree.
Speaking of which, Outriders features four distinct, super-powered classes, with three having been revealed so far. The Pyromancer can manipulate explosive volcanic energy and conjure devastating walls of flame, while the sneaky Trickster can manipulate the fabric of time and space – using the likes of slo-mo and teleportation – to swiftly fell enemies from behind. Finally, there’s the Devastator, able to call on the powers of the earth – summoning earthquakes or near-impenetrable armour to deliver brute force, up-close-and-personal attacks.
Accompanying these early details are a selection of new videos – combining gameplay, cinematics, and in-game footage – all of which are scattered around this page. Needless to say, there’ll likely be plenty more where they came as Outriders’ “holiday 2020” release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, and PC draws nearer.