Outriders unlock time and day-one patch plan revealed

With Outriders now just one week away from its April 1 (no joke) release, People Can Fly and Square Enix have detailed exactly what players can look forward to when it goes live: How the full version will differ from the demo, what's planned for patches and post-launch support, and, of course, information on specific unlock times.

Unfortunately, it's not yet clear whether Outriders will be preloadable on Steam: The developers said they're still looking into preload options, and they "hope to share news about the possibility of pre-loading next week." Regardless of how that goes, it will unlock at the same time globally, that being 5 pm BST/ 9 am PT/12 pm ET. If you're a fan of countdowns, you can watch one tick away here.

The launch version of Outriders will address various bugs and balance issues discovered in the demo, DirectX 12 will be set as the default renderer, and crossplay will be switched on by default. Inventory management will (hopefully) be improved by addition of a "Quick Mark'' system that will enable players to mark items in groups based on their rarity, rather than having to mark each item individually—although you'll still be able to take care of things that way, if you prefer—and the cover and voting systems will also be tightened up.

People Can Fly is also working on a day one patch, although the studio hopes to have it integrated into the game at release rather than requiring players to download it separately. Either way, the focus will be on bug fixes and performance improvements, smoothing out the camera shake that some players have encountered in the demo, and boosting the framerates of cutscenes and dialog bits.

A second patch, expected to arrive a few weeks after Outriders is released, will address bug reports that came too close to launch to handle in the day one patch, as well as "non-urgent" issues that come up on launch day. More serious bugs will be hotfixed as they appear.

The Outriders demo remains available on Steam and if you have an interest in shooting things (digitally, that is) but haven't tried it yet I'd urge you to do so. As we said in our recent preview, People Can Fly and Square Enix haven't done a great job of selling it as anything more than third-person Destiny 2 knockoff, but it's actually got a lot more going on than that: "A generic-looking bunch of sci-fi supersoldiers darting between cover might not scream Next Big Thing in 2021, but it's the stuff they're capable of once you start tinkering with builds and see the crazier end of the loot spectrum that makes Outriders one to watch," we wrote. I spent several hours with the demo myself, and came away more impressed than I expected to be.

If you're new to Outriders, we've got a handy guide to the game's four classes that will help get you started on the right foot. There's also a website you can dig into at square-enix-games.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.