Outriders Key Art

People Can Fly Interview: Getting to Know the Dark and Desperate Sci-Fi Universe of Outriders

Once considered a paradise, the pristine planet of Enoch has been transformed within 30 years into a brutal world of darkness and despair due to a mysterious anomaly. What sounds like an apocalyptic prophecy, turns out to be the starting point for the brand-new RPG shooter Outriders, which will be released later this year on Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The editorial staff of Xbox Wire Germany has talked to the developers of People Can Fly in order to give you an insight into the new mix of story-driven action RPG and shooter.

Outriders: A role-playing shooter in a sci-fi universe

By mixing an in-depth story with explosive shooter action, Polish developer studio People Can Fly, together with Square Enix, created an entirely new IP that is very different from traditional sci-fi titles. To find out what the anomaly is all about, you and other Outriders follow an unknown signal that may lead you to the origin of the anomaly – or to its demise.

Flexibility and freedom of choice

Outriders‘ comprehensive freedom of choice runs like a thread through the story. With the class tree, you develop your self-designed hero according to your wishes, while the countless equipment modifications do the rest. In addition, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to learn more about the background story via the omnipresent dialogue options or plunge straight into battle.

Play Outriders either alone or in co-op mode

With the world level system, a flexible difficulty control, you will find the optimal difficulty level. This will make you sweat a lot, but you will always have the chance to emerge victorious from the battles. Even if you go on a journey with up to two friends in multiplayer mode, the difficulty level will automatically adapt to your skills. But again, the better you work together and combine the synergies of your skills, the greater the chances of success.

It’s no coincidence that Outriders will be released at the end of 2020 after years of development. As an Optimized for Xbox Series X title, the game uses the full power and performance of Xbox Series X, which makes the journey into the dark sci-fi universe even more realistic – in addition, the title is also available for owners of Xbox One. Pre-order Outriders now and get a free upgrade to the Deluxe Edition. This includes the Hell’s Rangers Content Pack with special equipment sets, 11 unique weapons and truck mods and designs in the Hell’s Rangers look.

People Can Fly interview

In an interview with Game Director Bartosz Kmita and Senior Designer Piotr Nowakowski from the People Can Fly development studio, Kmita explains how to combine RPG and shooter action, what makes Outriders stand out and why every type of player gets his money’s worth with the title.

Xbox Wire: How would you describe Outriders briefly in a few words? What makes it so different?

Bartosz Kmita: Not easy to boil it down into a few words, but we will try! Basically, Outriders is a genre mix of shooter and action RPG. We at People Can Fly have a long history of creating intense shooters, so we take the best of our knowledge and transport lots of the core mechanics of this genre into Outriders. The RPG aspect shows in the extensive freedoms every player experiences as well as in the rich story. To bring it on point: The player will get the best of both worlds – the dazzling excitement of a fast-paced shooter and an atmospheric RPG full of stories to discover.

Xbox Wire: What makes Outriders different from other genre representatives?

Bartosz Kmita: Compared to other core shooters, Outriders offers the player a deep story, which is explored bit by bit in main and side quests. At the same time, the character can be developed exactly to one’s wants, the appearance individualized, and the versatile skills adapted to one’s own game needs.

Xbox Wire: Outriders mixes shooter with action RPG: Which genre came to your mind at first and why did you want to mix them?

Bartosz Kmita: We at People Can Fly have been developing shooters for almost twenty years. The shooter gene is anchored in our DNA and has therefore always been an essential part of our work. At this point, we as a studio asked ourselves: What do our hearts beat for apart from the shooter genre? And it was here that we discovered our deep shared love for stirring stories which unfold in the course of a game. So, it was clear that our next title would contain many role-playing elements.

Xbox Wire: What is your personal favorite feature in Outriders?

Bartosz Kmita: Well, it’s hard to determine a favorite feature, because we worked on the game for several years. During this time, all the different aspects of the game became kind of our babies. For sure we are happy about the gameplay perspectives. On the one hand, we love the skill trees and the character customization, because they offer so many options to the players. But on the other hand, we are proud of the world, the story, and the side activities we created. We are excited about the whole package in general.

Piotr Nowakowski: On my side, I love all the cinematic parts and interactive dialogues. Every scene creates an intense atmosphere with the player in the center of attention, without talking heads or other distractions from the environment.

Xbox Wire: An alien planet, a mutated fauna, and the player in the middle: Where do you even start, creating a whole new universe and its history? And what inspired you?

Bartosz Kmita: It was a challenge not only to create a game but the IP as a whole. Even though Outriders has sci-fi aspects, our vision was a grittier and darker world than the classic clean utopian science fiction game. There are definitely some ruff fantasy elements in it as well. Creative processes always start in your head, that’s for sure! But the loose ideas and thoughts can only be turned into a coherent world through teamwork and constant, elaborate reworking. This brainstorming process always takes a lot of time but in the end the whole team loved the outcome and it was worth it.

Xbox Wire: Action shooter with an atmospheric story: How do you harmoniously bring these different aspects together?

Bartosz Kmita: We decided on a cinematic approach as a core system to deliver the layered story in an appropriate way early. The main story will offer almost 90 minutes of cinematics and additionally 90 more in dialogues. But the dialogues in Outriders are not simply two talking heads like in many other games. Even side missions will offer cinematic dialogues because they all offer their own atmospheric story.  The whole story is shaped around the players customized character. Even when playing coop missions, the cinematics and dialogues will highlight the players figure as the main hero on his own epic adventure. In this way, everyone will experience their own individual adventure mixed with action-packed team matches.

Xbox Wire: Outriders is suitable for both multiplayer fans and solo players. What content can both types of players look forward to? 

Bartosz Kmita: The whole story can be experienced as a solo adventure, so the player won’t be forced to play coop if he doesn’t like to. The player can decide at any time whether s/he prefers to play alone or together with others. There is no multiplayer exclusive content, each player can experience the game in the way he or she likes best. But we would like to encourage players to play together because there are pretty fun and challenging dynamics in playing Outriders as a team. We will elevate the team experience by using the moving story and its atmospheric cinematics to drag the whole group into this great world. Sometimes it will feel like going to a cinema with your friends and discovering something new together.

Xbox Wire: The special skills bring new possibilities into the shooter gameplay and skill trees provide flexibility. So, are there no more classic role assignments like tank and damage dealer?

Bartosz Kmita: The players can create a character class fitting into one of these classic roles, but nobody will be forced into the holy trinity of tank, damage dealer and healer. Every character class can be played in more than one way. The sub classes within the class provide maximum flexibility and we encourage the players to experiment with different skill trees to find just the right combination, that suits their play style best. If you want to play an independent allrounder, who can heal and tank by himself, it is possible. At the same time, you can totally specialize in a supportive role in order to empower your team. At the end of the day every player should feel badass!

Xbox Wire: You have given us lots of exciting insights. To conclude, why should Xbox players be playing Outriders at the end of this year?

Bartosz Kmita: Every fan of shooters or RPGs will find something in Outriders to satisfy him or her. Even though we are experienced at developing top notch shooters, this game will be fun for lots of different player types. Each player can concentrate on those aspects of the game that suit them the best. So, whether you’re a passionate story fan or an action-loving sniper, the versatile gameplay with many different customization options will satisfy all kind of players.