People Can Fly swooped in and showed the gaming industry how to package, present, and sell a video game. Outriders is out now, and there’s a myriad of ways to play the game. More than that, though, the Polish video game developer adopted full transparency early on and released a demo to showcase the game. Rather than giving us a 5-minute sneak peek of gameplay or a rendered CG trailer to build hype, People Can Fly understood that their game could speak for itself.
In the end, I must say it’s the developer who successfully built hype for Outriders.
People Can Fly had humble beginnings
Adrian Chmielarz, previous co-founder of Metropolis Software, established People Can Fly in Warsaw, the largest city of Poland, in 2002. He had the help of two collegues named Michal Kosieradzki and Andrzej Poznański. The first game they developed is called Painkiller, a first-person video game about a dead man in Purgatory who accepts a deal to fight the invading forces of Lucifer’s army to be allowed entry into Heaven. I personally never played this game, mind you. It was met with generally positive reception, gaining “PC Game of the Month” from Game Informer and GameSpot.
Collaborating with Epic, they helped develop Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgement. In 2007, Epic Games acquired a majority stake in the studio and eventually expressed interest in a full acquisition. They completed the deal in August 2012, but by 2013, People Can Fly was instead named Epic Games Poland, wiping out its individuality. Thankfully, they split from Epic Games in 2015, yet it seemed an amicable split considering PCF kept helping Epic with Fortnite and a game called Spyjinx.
As we speak, PCF has over 300 employees, and Outriders is the latest title they created. Yet, they’ve been in the game for a while, porting their old titles and co-developing. We merely slept on them. Rather, I did.
Why I’m celebrating PCF more than Outriders
Personally, I am a big fan of Outriders. It’s easy to start up and get right into the action. So, why am I not reviewing it? This time, I felt it more appropriate to talk about everything that PCF did right before releasing the video game. There are many failed releases due to shady decisions, some of which won’t get a chance to recover. Some of those games have an uncertain future, though some publishers like Crystal Dynamics are coming around to the development roadmap idea.
PCF came right out of the gate detailing a demo for the game on Twitter. They went as far as to dispel the idea that they’re releasing a beta locked behind a pre-order wall. Furthermore, they dove deep into release dates, regions, platforms, and everything included in the demo. When players got their hands on it, rather than leaving the demo alone, they listened to player feedback and went to work at fixes/updates. What? A publisher didn’t wait for the official release to throw a day one patch our way?!
The Outriders demo allowed players to experience the game and farm rarer gear for a glimpse of future equipment drops. When we all found specific techniques to grind for legendary gear, sure, PCF nerfed it. However, they only nerfed a strategy that required running from chest to chest. The publisher acknowledged farming legendaries from Captains as a legitimate method and left it alone in an unprecedented move. To our surprise, they also threw us a bone, giving us a chance for quests to drop legendary gear.
This crew wants us to experience their game and have as much fun with it as possible. Better yet, it’s a complete experience!
Their generosity did not end in the demo
During the demo, I did not once think about the potential achievements I was missing out on by completing objectives. Luckily, PCF thought about this well before I could complain about a thing. The moment I booted up the full game and landed on the menu, achievements began to unlock one after another. None of that time in the demo was wasted by any means. Our progress remains intact (as long as we play on the same system we played the demo), and there’s no hassle in carrying over our save file – it’s there, ready to play instantly.
Oh, you don’t want to spend $60? Outriders is on Xbox Game Pass. It has been since day one, although Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can’t play it on PC yet. Microsoft hasn’t said why, yet being able to try this brand new game with the only cost being the subscription price? PCF was smart to enter the deal with Microsoft.
This is how you convince players that your game is worth their time. Other publishers can learn from every strategy PCF utilized. I understand that the bar has been set very low recently, but someone has to raise it again little by little. So, whether or not you enjoy Outriders, let’s all applaud PCF for acting the way video game publishers should have been this entire time.