While today's top looter shooters, such as Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3, are promising cross-platform play at some point (hopefully) in 2021, the new kid on the block comes with it out of the gate. Outriders, from People Can Fly and Square Enix, is a solo or co-op action RPG for up to three players regardless of platform.
This shouldn't be confused for cross-progression, which allows you to take your character and progress from, say, Xbox to PC, but it does mean you and your buddies can play together whichever platform you all buy the game on.
Cross-play also applies to random matchmaking, and even though there's no PvP, if you'd rather, you can always opt out. Here's what you need to know.
Outriders cross-play bugs and issues, April 2021
Outriders' online components have proven unreliable from release, with cross-play introducing some connectivity issues throughout the early days on shelves. That's seen Square Enix opt to disable cross-platform matchmaking between console and PC versions, meaning you won't automatically pair with players on other systems.
Outriders still offers cross-play multiplayer for private lobbies, but issues may arise when mixing PC and console versions of the game. Inviting an Xbox or PlayStation player to a PC lobby via the invite code system will initially work as intended but may disconnect players midway through the session. An in-game notice distributed to all players warns against using the feature where possible.
However, this known bug doesn't impact those playing exclusively on PC, through Steam and Epic versions of the game. Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 versions also operate together as intended.
How to enable cross-play in Outriders
Before you can actually indulge in cross-play, first, you must make sure that the feature is enabled. Cross-play is also, presumably, part of the requirement to have a Square Enix account.
To make sure cross-play is turned on, simply head into the in-game settings menu. Under the gameplay tab, go all the way to the bottom, and just above the legal bits, you'll see the magic cross-play option. Just make sure it's on.
How to create and join cross-play games
Even though enabling cross-play in Outriders is a doddle, actually creating or joining a game with friends on other platforms is more of a process than you would expect it to be.
In other games, such as Call of Duty: Warzone, you can just select your friends from your friends list regardless of the platform they're on by virtue of having an Activision account. In Outriders, you don't seem to have this luxury, at least, not right now. Instead, you have to join games using a code system.
To instigate a cross-play session, you first need to select the play with friends option from the lobby. You'll then be taken to a screen to either create your own game or join somebody else's.
If you're creating a new cross-play session, select generate your game code, and you'll be given an eight-character code which you can then give to your friends to use to join your game.
For them to join, or for you to join with somebody else's code, select the join a game using code option instead.
It isn't challenging, but it's certainly more convoluted than just being able to invite your pals from a list as you can if they're on the same platform. Whatever you do, you have to contact your friends first to give them a code, which is just clunky. Hopefully, the developers can make this a better process down the line.
Cross-play for random matchmaking
Unless you disable cross-play in settings, random matchmaking will take all platforms into account. Since there's no PvP aspect in Outriders, playing with someone on PC won't give you any disadvantage, but all the same, if you'd rather not, you'll need to disable it. This feature has been disabled as of early April but should return once cross-platform bugs are squashed.
Choosing the join a random team option in the lobby will enter you into matchmaking with other players from other platforms and will drop you into a three-player squad when complete.
That's all there is to it. Following the launch of Outriders and its regular server mishaps, you can expect a little bug from time to time. But launching with cross-platform play is a big deal, and hopefully, it will lead to a bustling community all playing together.
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