Outriders will 'permanently' brand cheaters with shameful on-screen watermarks

Outriders cheaters
(Image credit: People Can Fly)

Outriders players do not want to get on People Can Fly's bad side. In a recent dev update looking forward to next week's launch, the studio revealed that cheating in Outriders will not only earn you stiff matchmaking penalties, but also a "discreet but visible" watermark that will never go away. Brands over bans, basically.

"Since demo launch this has been a hotly debated topic, so we wanted to provide some perspective on it as well as outline our policy regarding cheating and hacking going forward," the post reads. During the demo, People Can Fly identified around 200 cheaters out of 2 million total players. That's a measly 0.01 percent of the total player base, a percentage that the dev is confident "won't grow by much" when Outriders launches.

But just in case you're thinking of cheating your way to best loot in this cooperative game, People Can Fly is enforcing matchmaking restrictions on branded cheaters. You can still play alone, but you won't be able to matchmake with "legit" players, meaning squadding up could take forever. This is similar to the cheating hells some competitive games have applied as a punishment.

What exactly constitutes cheating in Outriders? People Can Fly defines it thus:

  • Intentionally running the game on PC without Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC)
  • Modifying game files to enhance a character: levels, skills, inventory, etc.
  • Externally modifying game time to reduce time-dependent features such as vendors and challenges
  • Using a trainer program or similar to gain advantages within the game
  • Using gameplay altering programs such as aimbots or wallhacks

Despite the fact that Outriders is a purely co-op game with no adversarial mode or microtransactions whatsoever, People Can Fly is not letting anything slide. It's interesting to see the studio find ways to discourage nefarious shenanigans without outright banning accounts. You're effectively just modding the game for yourself, but I can see why a godlike squadmate that kills everything in one shot isn't fun to play with. I had a similar experience in the original Borderlands when a rando player joined my game, dropped a crazy modded laser rifle that dealt a billion damage and then left my life forever. The laser rifle totally broke the game, but whatever, I had fun. (If you're out there, laser rifle angel, please find me in Outriders.)

As for the permanent shame brand, that seems aimed at enterprising YouTubers/Reddit posters that would otherwise fool people into believing their sick Technomancer build was earned through blood, sweat, and bullets.

"We can see you all. Yes, even the person who gave themself 600 Legendary Weapons."

People Can Fly also issued a warning to beta cheaters who'd like to get back on their good side before the full game launches. "If you cheated during the demo 'just to try it out' but wish to go into the main game unbranded, you must DELETE ALL CHARACTERS AND ITEMS ON YOUR ENTIRE ACCOUNT in order to wipe the slate clean."

That sounds fair enough. Outriders is launching brand-free for us legit players on April 1. The game is coming day one to Game Pass on console, but not on PC, tragically. 

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.