E3 is all about the big spectacle releases. You’ve got your Halo’s, your Final Fantasy’s and of course, the one or two Zelda’s. Sometimes a game like People Can Fly’s Outriders comes a long though and shows a sliver of hope to a certain type of audience.
Outriders is pushing itself as the next big three-person coop epic that can answer the call to a bevy of lackluster attempts recently. Left 4 Dead was obviously a big one and while The Walking Dead, World War Z, and Strange Brigade were respectful attempts; they didn’t have the pizzazz about them.
They all provided a one note nod to what had come before, but we all forget about a certain game that went all out and committed to the role.
Clive Barker is a legendary horror writer. It was actually only a matter of time until the man behind Books of Blood was brought into the gaming industry. A mind like that of H.R. Giger, only in literature, would get tapped to write a complete action horror campaign that wasn’t just 3 or 4 missions, but an entire story that had a purpose, and aimed at growing to be more.
True Action Horror
As viewed in the first Outriders trailer, we are looking at a game lathered in the inspirations of 80’s horror. This is what makes games like the PS3 and the Xbox 360’s Jericho quite the gem. You can’t help but nod approvingly at Jericho for at least not trying to shill to the mass market Hollywood horde of generic shelf fillers. Sure Clive Barker’s Jericho wasn’t a gift to gaming, or even that great, but its intentions and concept were dripping with potential.
If we look back at the many horror games that have come out during our lifespan, we can’t really say that we have had many on the scale of the cinematic splendors of say Hellraiser, or the nightmarish demon creations of the recent Hellboy. Even saying that, the last games that we ever really drive as great horror are Dead Space, Silent Hill, and The Evil Within.
Those are still missing a little something “out there”, and downloadable Agony sure tries to twist itself in that direction, but it still falls down the heavy reliance on gore that lacks creative use.
Now sure, Outriders doesn’t go for the grotesque in its trailer, but it advertises strong hints at dark science fiction and a really cool art style with some potentially awesome monsters to fight throughout the coop quest.
A Team of Unique Individuals
The main character to be spotlighted is the short-haired pyromaniac for now, and while the others haven’t shown off what they can do yet, it looks like combat will be an awesome puzzle of powers and bullets.
If we look at Jericho for just a moment more, it is that the bushel of twisted protagonists all blossomed thanks to powers that were their personalities. It misses out on combing squad powers in making the combat really stand out, but this is where Outriders could really make up for this.
Sci-fi gadgets swirling with the likes of blood magic, or whatever has a lot going for it that games like Insomniac’s Haze did well through futuristic gadgets.
Now a key here, is making your characters as messed up as their enemies. Outriders nudges towards this in the way the team portray themselves as they dish out their abilities. The gaze the lead gives goes straight into your soul, and you know they are on the planes of fudged up that these creatures are. In a sense it fights fire with fire, and I love that.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stranger
The enemies of Outriders have a creepiness about them, let’s not deny it. The first enemy looks to chase players with stitched appendages that only a close relative of Pinhead would wear. The powers of eating your teams attacks and throwing them right back at you shows that they aren’t just going to be generic bullet-sponges either.
These monsters mean business, but whatever the hell that thing at the end is, makes me excited for potential boss fights.
It’s as if someone just got off a massive binge from the mentioned Clive Barker and also Netflix’s Stranger Things. The behemoth of a titan literally just stands and stares at the mini squad of soldiers. What are its intentions? Does it wish to fight you, or something way crazier entirely? What kind of loot will it bleed if you poke it just a little harder than you should?
Outriders is aimed for a 2020 release. You’ll be able to follow much more in the coming months over at People Can Fly’s site right here.
Josh has been all across the industry as a writer, interviewer, video editor and game artist. You can usually find this fellow sat in front of his laptop with a coffee in one hand and a pet hedgehog being petted with the other. The guy has too many favorite games to count, so don’t ask him unless you came prepared with a packed lunch.