Q&A: We speak with Square Enix and Google about bringing Outriders to Stadia.
Gears of War: Judgment developer People Can Fly's newest game, the sci-fi shooter Outriders, is out today--and that's no April Fool's joke. One of the platforms where you can play the game is Google Stadia, the ambitious streaming service from the tech giant.
To learn more about the Stadia version of Outriders, we spoke with Square Enix creative director Bartek Kmita and Stadia senior product manager Dan Cary.
In our interview, Kmita told us about the significance of launching day-and-date on Stadia, what kind of experience players can expect on streaming versus console, and how the game makes use of Stadia's unique "Stream Connect" feature. Kmita also shared that Square Enix hopes to bring more of its games to Stadia down the road where it makes sense. Cary further discussed the Stream Connect feature, saying it should help make you better at co-op games.
"Stream Connect makes you better at co-op games. If you look at the best clans in gaming, they're amazing at voice comms. It's this constant stream of focused verbal communication where they're telling their teammates the most important pieces of information that they see," he said. "We wanted to give everyone the ability to have that same stream of pertinent information, even if they're not a pro player. That's why we built Stream Connect."
We also asked Kmita about Google's recent decision to back away from first-party game development. He wouldn't be drawn into specifics because he isn't privy to Google's inner workings, but he said there are many ways to operate a streaming service like Stadia.
"That's Google's business; we can't really comment on that or speak to what makes sense for them, as we don't know the internal workings of Google," he said. "There's certainly a wide variety of great ways to successfully support your platform, and strong third-party developer support is a key element of that."
You can check out GameSpot's full interview with Kmita and Cary below.
For more on Outriders, check out GameSpot's day one guide, which covers Outriders' character classes, cross-play multiplayer, and everything else you need to know. Our full review is in the works and will come later, so keep checking back for more.
Launching day and date on Stadia is a big deal and not something everyone might have seen coming. Can you walk us through the decision to bring the game to the streaming platform right out of the gate?
Bartek Kmita, Creative Director at Square Enix: It's always been very important for us to put Outriders in the hands of as many players as possible, as we're trying to establish a new IP. A big part of that is accessibility to game playing situations, and Stadia's ability to let players enjoy the Outriders experience at a high quality on virtually any screen is an amazing opportunity for us.
"Stadia's ability to let players enjoy the Outriders experience at a high quality on virtually any screen is an amazing opportunity for us." -- Kmita
For Outriders on Stadia, what kind of experience can players expect and how, if it all, does it differ from the console/PC version?
Outriders is identical to the highest quality console experience on Stadia, with the addition of the Stadia Stream Connect feature, which we've worked closely with Google to integrate in our game.
Stream Connect sounds like a really interesting and helpful feature for the Stadia version of Outriders--can you walk us through what this is all about and what it offers to players?
Stream Connect will allow players in your party to see each other from their perspectives. You can keep track of where you teammates are on the battlefield, easily coordinate tactical moves or find the right moment to strike even when you don't have visibility of the enemy. We're really excited to see what kind of strategic uses players find for Stream Connect in Outriders.
Regarding cloud gaming in general, what are your thoughts for how it will factor into how you create and release games in the future?
Cloud gaming and cloud streaming services are absolutely the future and is something we factor into any future development plans.
And more widely, what kind of impact do you foresee cloud-gaming services like Google Stadia and others impacting or disrupting gaming overall?
I think the concept of cloud gaming first came around at a time where our average internet infrastructure wasn't quite able to support it outside of certain areas, but as 5G spreads and becomes the norm in the coming years, the convenience of cloud gaming will be supreme.
"As 5G spreads and becomes the norm in the coming years, the convenience of cloud gaming will be supreme." -- Kmita
Do you plan to release more games on Stadia in the future?
We'll certainly have Stadia as a target platform for any future titles we work on.
Do you have a reaction or a response you can share regarding Google's recent announcement that it would wind down internal game development and instead focus on third-party deals like yours?
That's Google's business; we can't really comment on that or speak to what makes sense for them, as we don't know the internal workings of Google. There's certainly a wide variety of great ways to successfully support your platform, and strong third-party developer support is a key element of that.
We just got another look at Outriders during the Square Enix Presents showcase, but what else should people know about Outriders to get excited about before launch?
What you've seen of Outriders so far, at Square Enix Presents, in our broadcasts, and even in the demo, is just the tip of the iceberg. Players have barely scratched the surface of the depth in this game, they've not even experienced our deep and flexible crafting system yet, which is a key element of developing and fine tuning character builds, and we can't wait for everyone to dig into the full experience.
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The Stream Connect feature is unique and interesting, and I'd love to hear more about it from your perspective as the developer of this unique feature. Where did the idea come from and what do you think it unlocks that players will find appealing?
Dan Cary, Senior Product Manager at Stadia: Stream Connect makes you better at co-op games. If you look at the best clans in gaming, they're amazing at voice comms. It's this constant stream of focused verbal communication where they're telling their teammates the most important pieces of information that they see. We wanted to give everyone the ability to have that same stream of pertinent information, even if they're not a pro player. That's why we built Stream Connect.
Stream Connect lets game developers stream one player's game directly into another's in real time. It's really useful for games like Outriders that require close coordination between teammates since it lets you see exactly what your friends are seeing in game. If you've ever been frustrated by teammates saying that there's an enemy 'right there' when you're playing online, then you're going to love being able to see what they mean for once."