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Outriders fans just got some bad news

A release date for the Square Enix-published looter shooter Outriders has remained continuously in flux. Shortly after the project was revealed in June 2019 (at which point some people thought it might be a Marvel game), Square Enix tentatively announced an initial Sept. 2020 release window. Now, as revealed in a Tweet from the official Outriders Twitter account, the game will is scheduled to be released on April 1, 2021, barring any further unforeseen circumstances.

This isn't the first such change in plans for Outriders' release. Months before its original release window, it was pushed back to 2020's Holiday Season. Then, in October, the Outriders Twitter account shared a new release date of Feb. 2, 2021. The announcement of its April release is merely the latest in this series of delays.

That said, in a likely attempt to soften the unfortunate news, this latest statement also promises that players will first be able to play Outriders beginning on Feb. 25, 2021. At that time, Square Enix will release a free demo that will include the first few hours of its campaign. Players will be able to progress through the demo as each of the game's four character classes, and can do so in both solo and multiplayer co-op modes. Essentially, those first few hours will be fully-featured, but will simply cut players off at a predetermined stopping point, only unlocking once the full game becomes available. At that point, players can carry over their characters and progress from the demo.

Responses to the news from Twitter users are decidedly mixed. One disappointed user claims to have scheduled time off of work to coincide with both the title's release and their birthday. The new, later release date means that these dates will no longer match up. On the other hand, a significant number of Twitter users have pointed out how this series of delays is comparable to virtually the same scenario preceding the release of Cyberpunk 2077. Many of these fans have shared their hope for Outriders to not suffer the same fate as Cyberpunk 2077, one that was simply not great for developer CD Projekt Red, let alone the many who purchased the game.

Beyond just ensuring that Square Enix's shiny new AAA release looks good, feels good and plays well – a monumental task in and of itself – the ongoing global pandemic likely threw a wrench into the already-complex game development process. Until the pandemic is resolved, delays like this very well could remain the norm.