After several delays, players can now finally get a taste of the highly-anticipated RPG shooter Outriders. The game's extensive demo becomes available today, accompanied by a demo launch trailer.
Square Enix and People Can Fly's highly anticipated RPG looter-shooter hybrid has been in development since 2015. Originally scheduled for a December 2020 launch, Outriders delayed its release date to February 2021, before ultimately settling on April 1 due to impacts caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the silver lining behind the second delay was the announcement of the Outriders demo, the details of which have been steadily doled out since last week.
The Outriders demo launch trailer keeps a heavy focus on story, with plenty of dialogue to help establish the basic premise of the game. The first minute or so of the video appears to showcase cutscenes that take place during the anomaly storm, the otherworldly event that creates the "Altered," humans with unique elemental powers. Intercut with several shots of the various classes' powers, one of the game's protagonists can be seen speaking with another Altered, talking about the planet Enoch's "meaningless, endless" war. Given that the video is prefaced with all of its content being available in the demo, it's more than likely that the other Altered is Gauss, the rival meant to be the culmination of the Outriders demo.
The final portion of the trailer hits on the demo's full-fledged features, which include full access to the game's prologue and first chapter, cross-play, and transferrable progress once the full version of Outriders drops. Players can also try out all four class types: Pyromancer, Devastator, Trickster, and Technomancer. Interestingly, a recent interview with Creative Director Bartek Kmita revealed that Outriders didn't originally have classes, and were implemented as a sort of guard-rail system for early stages of the game due to test players having "too much freedom."
While the full-fledged edition of Outriders is launching on most current major platforms, the demo has some curious gaps. For example, while console players will be able to easily transfer their progress from the demo, PC gets a bit tricky. Unfortunately, progress from the Steam demo and the full game on the Epic Games Store won't work. Additionally, despite it carrying the full version, Google Stadia won't have the demo available at all. The troubled cloud gaming service recently shut down its first-party Stadia development studios, which many gamers feel may be the final nail in the platform's proverbial coffin. Despite this, Google continues to trudge forward, focusing on working with existing developers.
The demo appears to offer players plenty of content, and should attract plenty of fans of both RPGs and looter-shooters. With an extensive and free-to-play demo now active for the next several weeks, Outriders has the potential to be one of the first AAA smash-hits of 2021.
2020 wasn't the best year for gamers, or anyone in general, but there are a lot of great releases coming out this year. Square Enix has always been one of the most successful developers and publishers in the industry, especially when it comes to RPGs. Franchises like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest have sold millions of copies, though Square Enix also has a lot of other, underrated titles.
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