On February 25, the Outriders demo landed on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The demo is a huge installment of the full Outriders game, offering the opening chapter and the first three hours or so of the game, with all four classes available at try out, solo, co-op and the ability to transfer progression to the full game. It’s a good appetizer for the full course, which arrived on April 1.
As this is the start of the game, the focus is on the story, as the world of Enoch – and humanity’s struggle to colonize it – is introduced to the world. But what were the events that led to the start of the match?
In a brand new animated trailer, we can see how the Outriders’ journey began, as we follow their expedition to Enoch from Earth.
And that’s where the demo – and the start of the game – picks up.
The Outriders demo is terrific in terms of size and scope, so we wanted to talk to Bartek Kmita, Creative Director of People Can Fly, about its failure and helping in the run-up to the game’s full release in April. 1.
Toby Palm: At the time of writing, the Outriders demo has recorded over two million downloads. What was your reaction to receiving the demo?
Bartek Kmita: It was a real roller coaster of emotions to be honest. At first I was excited that so many people wanted to play as soon as the demo was live, but that was followed by a brief moment of panic when the servers weren’t scaling fast enough. When the server situation was resolved, we started to see first impressions of the game itself, and the whole team watched as many streams, let’s play, and reflections as they could – it was amazing to see what all of it was. the world thinks so far. In the end, I’m extremely happy that so many people have played the demo and are enjoying it.
TP: Some players have managed to rack up over 20 hours of playtime. Several Outriders Discord players have played for over 100 hours! Does that surprise you and what does it say about the size of the full game?
BK: It’s very encouraging for us because a huge, sprawling RPG journey was the very essence of our creations. To give people a game with almost endless possibilities on how to build your character and make the whole character development process as satisfying as possible. And now watching how people play the demo and how they experience all the loot they’ve found gives us a lot of satisfaction. Hopefully after full release, when our players get their hands on all of our toys, they’ll stick with us for a very long time.
TP: The game straddles a really interesting line between shooter and RPG. Are the players taking the game the way you would expect them to? Were there any surprises in the way players interact with the game?
BK: It’s always been a little worrisome for us – the idea that some people may lump our game into one genre camp and ignore some of our design decisions that are integral to the other. Players coming straight from the shooting camp may ignore RPG skills or mechanics – which I’m afraid won’t make their overall gaming experience so compelling. On the other side of things, players who are only there for loot hunting might forget about the story etc. That’s why at the start of the game we try to tutor everything and explain the full extent of the basic Outriders mechanics. Seeing how players approached the demo, we’re happy with the results, but of course there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the integration and our messaging here.
TP: What are your biggest lessons from the demo so far? Can we expect to see any of these learnings make their way into the full game?
BK: We have received a lot of feedback from the community. We focused on the things that bother gamers the most – motion blur and camera shake, for example – and put all our efforts to correct them. We’ve already posted information on what we’re fixing and what we plan to improve. We strive to be as transparent as possible about these initial startup issues, and we see a lot of community support in return.
TP: You made some changes to the loot in the game after players started farming a lot. What do you think behind this?
BK: We had a long discussion on how to approach Legendary gear and their associated drop rates. On the one hand, we could see some issues and long-term consequences with the way players were getting items, but on the other hand, we didn’t want to deprive players of the fun of the demo. Ultimately, we decided that since we’re ultimately a game built around a really engaging loot loop, we should support farming methods based on that with some extra encouragement to complete the side quests as well.
TP: Some players spend a lot of time in the demo collecting mods and getting ready for the full game, how are these mods going to affect character build in the full game?
BK: Mods are designed to be the crucial part of player building and the most important factor in your playstyle. We are already seeing players creating their first builds, but the real fun is yet to come. With four additional skills for each class, there are more combinations, skill synergies, and potential playstyles. New skills also mean new level one mods and an even higher degree of customization, not to mention the new possibilities unlocked by level two and three mods and the ability to move them around in crafting.
TP: For someone who has played and loved the demo, what should excite them the most about the full game?
BK: It’s quite interesting, usually when the game releases the demo or beta players can see the best part of it to encourage them to buy the full game. In the Outriders demo, you really only see the tip of the iceberg; the starter that only gives you a taste of what’s yet to come.
So whatever part of the demo you enjoyed, I can say for sure that there is a lot more to come! Did you like the story, cutscenes, characters and lore? There is much more to come. Did you enjoy creating your first version? There is a lot more depth and complexity to come here. Did you enjoy the fight? Oh, we certainly have more on this front; the demo encounters are relatively small compared to the rest of the game …
Many thanks to everyone who has watched the Outriders demo so far. As Bartek said: You’ve only seen a glimpse of what’s to come, and we can’t wait to see you all on Enoch for the remainder of the trip on April 1. See you soon!