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Why it matters: Xbox Game Pass has proved a valuable asset in Microsoft's toolbox. The service just added basically all of Bethesda's lineup thanks to the acquisition and now action-RPG Outriders is coming to the service. This is certainly good news to Game Pass subscribers who planned on buying the game.
Microsoft confirmed that Square Enix's action-RPG looter Outriders will release on Xbox Game Pass on launch day. That saves Game Pass subscribers the $60 they would've spent to purchase the game outright.
Being on Game Pass also means that Outriders will be playable via cloud gaming on xCloud. While this is good news for console players, PC players aren't as fortunate as this only applies for Xbox Game Pass for console.
This is likely due to publisher Square Enix not wanting to cause trouble with Steam or the Epic Games Store. Still, for those who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, this could be yet another compelling reason to play the game on an Xbox console rather than PlayStation.
Outriders is a "looter-shooter" type game in which humanity has fled to the planet Enoch after Earth becomes uninhabitable. You play as an Outrider, a sort of mercenary who is tasked with finding a safe spot for the colonists to land. Things go awry as a violent energy storm called the Anomaly imbues you with one of four elemental powers.
While the game is similar to games such as Destiny 2, The Division 2, and Borderlands, it's not a "Games-as-a-Service" like many looter-shooter games.
Developer People Can Fly put out an FAQ to reiterate that Outriders is a complete game from launch. That means no battle passes, season passes, or monetization of any kind. The devs have also stated that this is meant to be a story-driven action-RPG. In that sense, it's more like Mass Effect than Destiny.
Square Enix released an Outriders demo towards the end of February that seemed to garner mostly positive praise. I played the demo extensively on PC and while there are some performance issues in some areas, it's mostly smooth gameplay.
It really looks like People Can Fly does not want to make the same mistakes Anthem and Marvel's Avengers made. If Outriders turns out to be a commercial hit, the addition of the game to Xbox Game Pass will make it even more worthwhile.
Outriders launches on April 1st on Xbox One, Series X/S, PlayStation 4/5, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.