New Open-World Western Game Offers A Big Change In Pace From Red Dead Online

Outlaws heads to early access on March 12 for PC, with PS4 and Xbox One versions out at full launch.

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Now Playing: Outlaws Of The Old West - Reveal Trailer

Even after massive hits like Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption series, the setting of the old west isn't something you see games used that often. But with the upcoming Outlaws of the Old West, coming from developer Virtual Basement, this online open-world survivalist take on the timeless concept of the Western aims to give the setting a different spin. Throughout your journey in the open world, you'll be able to explore the vast plains and snowy mountains in order to survive the lawless lands of the old west.

Releasing in early access on March 12 for PC, Outlaws of the Old West brings up to 150 players into an open-world where they'll scrape together resources found from exploring and foraging throughout the environment. In familiar survival game fashion, everyone starts out with little to no resources, and you'll have to slowly acquire the necessities to survive. If you aren't able to meet your character's basic needs, such as food and water, then they'll meet their end fast--and anything you had on you at the time of your death will be free for others to take. Much like in the old west, you'll have to contend with constant threats from nature and the occasional ruthless bandit or two that want what's yours.

We spent some time checking out an early build of the game and got to see what to expect in the online world. With the game being in development for more than two years, Outlaws' core gameplay is very familiar as far as survival-focused adventures go, though what sets this apart from other titles is the setting itself. During our session, executive producer Tim Hesse explained why they set their sights on the old west.

"One of the primary reasons why we chose the setting was because of how underutilized it is," said Hesse. "The developers had experience working on other survival games, and they love the Western setting, and honestly, there aren't that many games like that out there. In some ways, it's a little more challenging making a game set in the West, because if you did a sci-fi survival game you could come up with anything you would want. With Outlaws, we are limited to the time period, which keeps things focused."

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Outlaws features some rather strict rules with its take on survival gameplay. If you're able to gain enough resources and survive the elements long enough, you'll gradually work your way up to become a seasoned survivor, giving you the means to explore further into the wild. Eventually, you'll be able to build houses and even take up minor professions. Though there are NPC characters that roam around--including bandits, some townsfolk, and even miners holed up in their gold mines--the majority of the interactions to be had are with other players. Though you can form parties, and even create guilds, you're still free to become a true outlaw and rob others. Doing this, however, will affect your standing in the world, and if you cause enough chaos, other players can put a bounty on you, painting a large target on your back.

With that steep focus on survival-gameplay and resource gathering, the mechanics and itemization in the online game can get extremely granular. For instance, to acquire a lasso you'll first need to get plants to serve as the precursor materials, which then need to be taken to a spinning wheel for crafting. And of course, the spinning wheel will need to be made first from spare wood materials before you can do all of this. It was interesting to see how deep the crafting was in the game, which seems to go a bit further than other survival-focused games out there.

With the PC serving as the testing grounds for the game, the full retail release will eventually make its way to PS4 and Xbox One. According to the developers, they'll be directly engaging with the community while in the early access period. From our experiences, the pre-release was noticeably rough around the edges on the technical side of things, but the concept still showed solid promise. It'll be interesting to see how Outlaws of the Old West can act upon the rich and underused setting of the old west and evolve its online world from there.

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