Of course, People Can Fly is a studio that probably needs no introduction. Under Adrian Chmielarz, this developer created the excellent Painkiller, and then Bulletstorm, both of which are among my favorite shooters. Today's People Can Fly, which has not only developed additional content for the Gears of War series, but also worked on Fortnite, is quite a different studio. After leaving the auspice of Epic Games and reinstating independence, the developer begins a new chapter with a new game.
This is a three-person cooperative shooter with a strong emphasis on collecting loot. A shooter that, in theory, wants to be similar to Destiny, but at the same time breaks away from the practice of similar "gamevices," and also brings the signature intensity People Can Fly's games are known for. This is what Outriders aspires to achieve. The question is, will this be a game to remember? After all, the market for such games has been rather saturated, and there are some examples illustrating that aggressive marketing is not enough to guarantee success. After playing a few hours of the early version, I can say that the developers are on the right track, although it does not always hit the sweet spot.
What did we see in the demo?
We got the opportunity to play the game's prologue, which, as the developers noted, was still work-in-progress (creating the beginning of the game at the end of development is a fairly common thing). Additionally, we could explore parts of the first game city and the surrounding desert area, where we had to break through to a tower with a solar power plant. In the final stage, we encountered a boss, the Guardian, who had been "altered" by the force of an anomaly. Some of the game's subsystems, such as crafting, were not available, but we could test many others.
In pursuit of a signal
Outriders is one of those games in which characters with perfectly trimmed hairstyles are thrown into the maelstrom of the struggle for the survival of the entire human race. Earth is ruined, so humanity sends two colony ships into space, to the lush planet Enoch. Only one makes it, and the colonization process begins.
Contrary to what the beginning of the prologue suggests, this, however, will not be a space farming simulator. The eponymous Outriders, that is elite soldiers and explorers, discover a mysterious signal on the planet and decide to investigate it. However, on the way to the source, a strange storm breaks out, which literally dissolves all encountered life into organic goo. Our hero, only brushed by the mysterious power, acquires powerful abilities, but has to retreat to the ship in the face of a cataclysm, where he enters cryosleep.
The adventure proper begins thirty years later, when he wakes up and finds that the anomaly has turned part of the planet into an apocalyptic desert, and the remaining colonists are still fighting a fierce battle for survival. Things are further complicated by the fact that the protagonist is not only person to have acquired peculiar skills; many other people have also, and they're now harassing local communities. Although we will initially be helping old friends, the main goal of the game is to reach the specified signal source, in the hope of learning the secrets of the alien world.
People Can Fly maintain that their new game is primarily an RPG, with combat implemented as in a shooter. You can argue with this theorem, because a lot depends on semantics and what definitions we will use. We know for a fact, however, that elements such as a side story, a dialogue and character development systems, will be an important part of the whole.
I'm not going to evaluate the quality of the story at this point. An interesting element of it, however, is the fact that the protagonist spends the 30 years in sleeping in cryo, and so all his friends are now older than him. A funny thing is that his character distinctly changes; in the prologue, he's rather timid and quite sympathetic. After the "time travel," he becomes boorish and seems completely different. Perhaps this is just my impression, but it seems cryogenic sleep can definitely change the character.
The entire gameplay is organized around typical hubs, where we can relax, work on improving items and characters, and look for new quests. The maps themselves, at least those shown in the demo, consisted mostly of bigger arenas connected with narrow passages. From time to time, I could stumble upon some hidden loot, and side quests played out in a more remote area (one of these was about eliminating a gang residing in a nearby bunker). So, there is no open world, the locations are relatively compact, filled with enemies, quests and loot. At the same time, PCF guarantee that their game will not take the profitable, but morally ambiguous path of game-service. This means no random rewards and no pay-to-win.
POLISH ACCENT IN POLISH GAME
Outriders' Polish pedigree will be evidenced by a character named Jakub. About the first thing he says is "kurwa," a graceful Polish invective. In one of the cut-scenes, he also pours three shots of booze for him and his friends, and promptly drinks it all himself. "This is just a wink at the Polish audience, we are not going to laugh at Polish vices," the developers assure.