Game demos run the gamut in length. Sometimes you'll get a quick, 10-minute demo like with Resident Evil Village's recent Maiden. Other times, you'll get what People Can Fly and Square Enix are presenting with Outriders, the three-player co-op looter shooter title set to come out on April 1. When the Outriders demo launches on Feb. 25, players will get to play through around three hours of the story, basically amounting to the entire prologue and opening chapter.
It seems also as if players won't be missing out on much of what the final product will offer in these first few hours, either. Each of the four classes will be playable and so will multiplayer. Players can go through the main story but also sidequests, the latter of which are replayable.
Most players will also get the opportunity to play it since it'll be available on current and next-gen systems — Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and PS5 — and Steam (the demo won't be available on Stadia or Epic Games Store just yet and it's unclear if there are plans). Crossplay is available during the demo, although it's not turned on by default, so you can play with friends on other systems. Best of all, cross-progression with the final release is available, so if the player decided to hop into full game, they can transfer all of their data over.
This isn't just a demo. Players are getting the chance to play the first few hours of the game for free, a rarity with larger releases.
"We wanted to show some basic things about our game, and we realized that to show it, we need to slowly drag the new players into it, and it has to be two hours of the game," Creative Director Bartek Kmita said.
It's a huge showcase for the game, which was originally set to come out at the end of 2020, but like the majority of video games meant to come out last year, was delayed.
Media got to play this part of the game back in 2019 when People Can Fly was first showing Outriders off, and we can tell you it's extensive. Players get the whole setup — why you've landed on a new planet, what happens that causes the expedition to go haywire, how you get your powers, and hints for the overall mystery you'll uncover — while also being offered the chance to play around with the four classes and start to find their preferred playstyle. Since you can finetune your character build with different guns and powers, the ability to experiment before release is almost like getting a headstart. Only three classes, the Pyromancer, the Trickster, and the Devastator, were available to us at the time, but the Technomancer is now available, too. You'll even get the chance to face the game's first Altered boss, Gauss.
However, back in 2019, we didn't get to play a lot of the sidequests, which are now available. In the Outriders broadcast that aired on Wednesday, the developers revealed that some aren't even immediately available during the demo. Rather, you have to unlock certain conditions to play them, therefore forcing the player to explore way after finishing the main quest.
The developers said they thought about dropping the player in the middle of the game for the demo but decided against it. For one, it'll allow those not familiar with the mixture of gunplay and supernatural powers, along with the RPG systems to get used to the combat. They also said they needed the opportunity to tutorialize the game's systems, so having the player start from the beginning made the most sense.
"We have a complex game," Kmita said. "Maybe for some games it sounds like 2-3 hours of gameplay is a huge chunk, but for our game, it's a really really small part of it."
The demo will be available beginning on Feb. 25 at 12:00 p.m. EST / 9:00 a.m. PST, but you can see the official release times above. There is no expiration date on the demo, which People Can Fly says will be available until even after launch. Your character will be capped at level 7, World Tiers (the game's difficulty system, which can scale with you) will be capped at 5, and there will be a limited amount of resources to try, but this is all typical for the early-game. As previously mentioned, some sidequests will also only be available once you finish the main quest.
Then, once you're done, you can play around with the other classes (I played the Trickster and the Pyromancer during my 2019 playthrough and it does help to get different perspectives and try new things), or just wait for the final release. Just transfer your data over and hop into the next areas of the game. If you want, you can even play the demo on a current-gen console and then transfer over to next-gen, since there are free next-gen upgrades. The developers wanted to make it as easy as possible for players to try the game out, and since there's still over a month to go before the release of this new multiplayer shooter, there is plenty of time to get a few hours of playtime in.
Outriders is set to release on April 1, 2021 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Stadia, and PC.
A new looter shooter
Team up to solve the mystery of the Anomaly
In Outriders, you and up to two friends can team up to discover the mystery of the Anomaly and deal with the violence on Enoch. Then, you can try out some new guns and powers along the way.
Remember when demos were the norm and didn't require an article to announce they exist? I miss those times.
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