With the Outriders demo giving players a quick glimpse of some of the early gameplay, some players are starting to finally get an idea of what games it most resembles. However, while many have been quick to proclaim People Can Fly’s new title the next Destiny killer, it might do better by looking to similar titles like Warframe for both comparisons and potential new features.
One feature from Warframe that Outriders should adapt is the ability to hatch and tame pets that can accompany the player and help fight during missions. Considering the collection of strange, alien animals on Enoch, there are plenty of creatures to choose from to tame, some of which would be neat to have as a companion, and others that would be a bit over-the-top but still fun.
From very early on, Warframe has had multiple companions available, starting with the Sentinel robots that could act as a flying turret or to gather material. Since launch, however, developer Digital Extremes has added new companions in the forms of Kavats, Kubrows, and MOAs that each bring their own twist to combat. Some of these take a while to pick up, with the capability to hatch and raise Kubrows in particular being locked behind a mid-game quest that could take a while to become available to new players.
For pet fans, the promise of unlocking the Kubrows and Kavats in particular can be a huge draw to keep playing through the early hours of the game and into its deeper levels. Then there are the addition of Warframe‘s mods and breed options that adds a similar level of depth found in the Tenno customization into making these companions unique to each player. Many of these additions were added in later versions of the game and the current evolution of them could be a jumping off point for how Outriders can attempt a similar concept.
There are a few different alien creatures in Outriders, even if the current look players have with the demo only shows off a handful in cutscenes and a single fight in the prologue. From some early trailers, players can see what the game refers to as “Space Cows”, giant spiders, and monkey-like creatures, all of which could make for excellent additions to the player arsenal. Of course, there are some creatures that might be fun to have tag alongside the player, but could go a bit too far on the side of outlandish, even for a game that intentionally doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The giant Storm Carriers, for one, could be an interesting option as well, but maybe as a shrunk down version rather than having the towering beasts following the player around the world. In the case of some of the beasts found throughout Enoch, there is already a trophy system for mounting fallen enemies onto the players’ convoy, so fans can already sort of carry them around. That being said, letting captured or tamed monsters join the player in the fight could have a huge impact on keeping solo players invested in Outriders‘ endgame content.
Beyond Warframe, there are plenty of other titles that show the effects of letting a player travel with an AI controlled companion can do for making what is built as a multiplayer experience work for single player. Some of the best examples include the Followers in Diablo or the Palico and new Palamute in Monster Hunter Rise, which gives solo players a fighting chance. With how closely Outriders follows the loot systems of some of these other looters, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to adapt some other features into the new game.
Above all else, companions can give solo players the chance to not have every single enemy firing on them at once, with some agro being spread out to the AI partner. The Technomancer class in Outriders gets a bit of this functionality with some of its turrets drawing enemy attention for a short period before either running out of time or being destroyed. So, giving this option to other classes might help even the playing field among them and make some of the more aggressive paths more viable while playing alone.
On top of the additions to solo play, Outriders‘ classes already have incredible synergy when being played together with others that can openly communicate. In this case, it wouldn’t be unthinkable that People Can Fly could figure out ways to not only allow different classes to synergize with animal companions, but for different pets to compliment each other on a team. Classes like the Trickster and Devastator can already mesh some of their abilities together without either being designated a support, so it doesn’t even have to limit the animals to these types of side roles.
An obvious example found with similar mechanics in other games is having a companion keep an enemy preoccupied by biting and holding them in place while the player can take advantage of the opening. However, considering some of the strange elemental things that some of the animals can do in-game already, combining things like the ability to slow time with acid spit could trap enemies on dangerous terrain. The limits are really down to not only the planned creativity of People Can Fly, but also of Outrider players who put in the time to learn new ways to take advantage of these combinations.
It should be noted that Outriders is almost out already, so it isn’t likely that players will be seeing this kind of substantial feature added to the game before release, unless it has either already been planned or there is another delay. However, given that this is a game built around online connectivity and jumping into new and challenging missions, there is still a chance that it could arrive down the line. Considering how much this could change gameplay, especially for solo players, it might be better to see how the game functions without companions first anyway.
That being said, giving players alien pets to take into battle would be a great incentive for a later expansion or to include in an update to keep players engaged. For the time being, there don’t seem to be any hints that this is planned for launch in Outriders‘ trophy list, or in the demo’s list of accommodations. So, it might not be until much later that players get something akin to a companion, no matter how exciting the prospect might be for some fans.
Outriders is set to release April 1st, for PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.