People Can Fly’s upcoming release Outriders wears its gaming inspirations right on its sleeve, and that may work to its favor, as fans of those games will easily recognize some of their favorite aspects. That’s not to say Outriders is a carbon-copy by any means. It stands very much on its own, as players can see for themselves in the expansive demo, but players won’t need long at all to tell where People Can Fly drew inspiration.
At its core Outriders is standard third-person cover-based shooter, but the layers it paints on top of that create a nuanced game that manages to feel unique without being unfamiliar. Clearly its blend of styles is popular among players, as it’s already rising up the top sellers list on Steam. Outriders created this fun mix by pulling concepts from games like Gears of War, Destiny, The Division, and more to create its own brand of sci-fi mayhem with wicked combat and intricate lore.
The most obvious inspiration for Outriders is the Gears franchise, which isn’t too much of a surprise considering People Can Fly’s work on a previous Gears game. While the gameplay of Outriders itself is a clear indicator, given how it utilizes Gears’ pioneered form of cover-based combat, the connections are much deeper than that. Player can see influences from Gears in the character models and world detail, as everyone and everything in Outriders carries that bulky, almost comical larger-than-life aesthetic. There have been no shortage of comments over the years about the tank-like build of COG soldiers, and the world of Outriders echoes that perfectly. The inspirations don’t stop there, though, as Outriders features a grim setting and story not unlike the Gears franchise. Most shooters have serious story beats filled with epic stakes, but few have the borderline nihilism of games like Gears of War.
Outriders takes the stellar gameplay of Gears and spices it up with elements from Destiny (which built on the success of the Halo series) and The Division, which built on the success of both Destiny and Gears. In that sense, Outriders almost feels like inevitable evolution of all these games as developers constantly work to take proven formulas and improve on them. Destiny has pioneered the new form of space wizards by creating impressive powers and abilities, from flaming hammers and swords to wielding lightning strikes and black hole bombs, and Outriders brings that in spades. On top of the brutal gunplay players also get the joy of four unique Outriders classes with devastating abilities that allow them to melt enemies, trap then in spacetime anomalies, or just smash them to pieces.
There are also robust lore and world development that feels reminiscent of Destiny, but the layout of the world itself feels much more like The Division as players roam freely from the hub city throughout the map until they come to the instanced locations for the missions. Once in combat the game brings more Division vibes as players have to work between using the cover system for stop-and-pop gunplay along with their abilities to shift the tides of battle, and just as in The Division having a team build that compliments one another will result in the maximum carnage. If that doesn’t make players feel like they’re in sci-fi version of The Division, then the loot game certainly will, as every battle leaves players sorting through their new gear seeing what little upgrades they may have in a new pair of gloves or boots or, best of all, maybe a shining new legendary weapon for wreaking havoc.
Using elements from other successful games is nothing new to the industry, in fact it’s what the industry is built on. Just as Bungie used its experience with Halo to build Destiny, and Epic Games used its experience with Unreal Tournament to build Gears of War, so t0o does every developer pull ideas from great games. Outriders is the most recent example that companies don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make an incredibly fun game.