Screenshot: People Can Fly / Square Enix
Last week, the ever-so-cheeky Xbox Game Pass Twitter account posted another “leaked” email from “Melissa McGamepass,” hinting at the news. On Friday, a bunch of Bethesda-published games were added to the Game Pass library. But apparently there was more—something about a new, unannounced game also coming to Microsoft’s games-on-demand service. The note also referenced a “mysterious signal” and an “anomaly.”
Some observers, including Kotaku’s very own Slack channel, quickly drew the connection to Outriders. Last month, People Can Fly made a demo available for the game. At the end of the demo, you’re informed about a signal beaming from a far-off location. You set out to explore it, but are stopped by one of those pesky “Pre-order our game” screens. (Don’t pre-order the game.) Also, Outriders makes much ado about an “anomaly”—a persistent storm plaguing the planet of Enoch, where the game takes place. It didn’t take much for players to read between the lines.
The Outriders demo rules, by the way, and is available for pretty much all of the platforms (save for Switch). If you’re at all into third-person shooters, loot grinds, Western-themed space opera, cheesy one-liners, or social hubs, you should check it out.
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People Can Fly says you can transfer progress between the demo and the main game, provided you stay within the same platform family. So if you played through the demo three times on PlayStation, you’ll have to start from scratch on Xbox. But if you played—or play—it on Xbox, you’ll be able to carry your progression over when the main game launches. (Outriders fully supports cross-play.)
It’s yet another enormous nab for Xbox Game Pass. The addition of Bethesda games is huge, obviously, as is the relatively recent addition of EA Play (at least for subscribers of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate). And then there’s the continued access to any first-party Microsoft games, a benefit that speaks for itself.
But consider the appeal of Outriders. There’s a meaty demo for the game available now. You can only carry your data if you stick with the same platform. So, if you have access to multiple platforms, which would you choose to play on: The one in which you’d have to pony up full price for a new game? Or the one where it’ll be included in the service you very likely already pay for? Today’s announcement makes the choice a lot easier.