The second reveal broadcast for People Can Fly and Square Enix's upcoming shooter Outriders aired Thursday, revealing more about the sci-fi games' structure and, in particular, the Pyromancer character class. As the name suggests, this class lets players wield fire and cause chaos on the battlefield with a variety of area-of-effect attacks.
Inverse is delving into everything we know so far about the Pyromancer class, with some developer insight to explain certain decisions.
What is the Pyromancer class in Outriders?
Players will have to choose one of four classes shortly after Outriders begins. One of the most immediately appealing options is the Pyromancer, because at face value, who wouldn't want to become a fire-wielding sci-fi sorcerer with guns? If you like playing as mage/wizard-type characters in other role-playing games, or if you just have a touch of pyromania and love for fire magic in other games, you'll want to see what the latest Outriders broadcast has to say about the Pyromancer class.
"For the basic fantasy, Pyromancer is a classical fire mage that can deal with tons of enemies at once," Outriders Game Director Bartosz Kmita explained to Inverse during an interview. "He doesn't have a lot of health, but he can do a lot of damage to groups of enemies." Kmita also noted that each of Outriders' classes, while unique in their own right, have analogs in other RPGs. But that's only because the classes are "the initial setup players are starting with," so they wanted that starting point to feel familiar to new players.
This is only a starting point for the Pyromancer class and that the skill tree can be used to modify how the character plays. "You have a variety of ways to [improve your character] ... and you can mix those and play with them as you fit," Senior Narrative Designer Szymon Barchan added. "You’re establishing your play style."
Outriders Pyromancer class abilities and skills
Four of the Pyromancer's eight abilities were unveiled during the second Outriders broadcast, and all of them were a variation on area of effect, or AOE attacks, that damaged enemies within a certain area.
Thermal Bomb is a mid-range attack that will hurt any enemies in its path. Any enemies hit with this move will rise into the air and then explode, damaging nearby foes. Next is Ash Blast, which will hit enemies with an Ash status effect that freezes enemies in place, so they can be hit by other abilities or gunfire.
Then there's the ability Heat Wave, which is a ranged attack that sends a wave of fire towards a group of enemies and also inflicts enemies with the Burned status effect. Finally, there is Overheat, another explosive AOE attack. While it's not as flashy as the Pyromancer's other abilities, it is very devastating to enemies that are burning.
The Pyromancer's toolkit focuses on inflicting status effects like Ash and Burn while also hitting groups of enemies with persistent damage over time. These status effects mainly come from the Pyromancer class, though they can be found on other weapons.
"All classes have their own things they can do to enemies, but even if you’re playing a different class, you can sometimes find an item or gun that will set people on fire," Kmita said. "Sometimes it can be helpful for your class, sometimes not. Maybe it's something you should be using with the Pyromancer because it will be even more useful."
These status effects are something you'll want to keep an eye on, as one exclusive effect plays a major part in the Pyromancer's healing capabilities.
Every time one of the aforementioned skills is used on an enemy, they are marked with a small skull icon. When these enemies are killed, the Pyromancer will be healed, rewarding more aggressive play. Outriders doesn't have your typical healing items, so this is a mechanic every Pyromancer will need to take advantage of.
Can you switch your character class in Outriders?
If you start as another class in Outriders but soon find yourself wanting to switch to Pyromancer, and Inverse can confirm that while there's room for a lot of customization within a class, players won't be able to change a character's class. "If you’ve already created a character, you can create a second and skip the prologue," Kmita explained. "All of the rest of the content you'll have to level up your character." He went on to confirm that "you cannot change the class on the fly during the gameplay," only the skills within your class. So in that sense, Outriders more closely resembles Destiny than it does Anthem.
Still, you can use items from other classes, or transfer items from other characters over by using the Stash, a Vault-like mechanic that was teased towards the end of the Broadcast. Kmita says this helpful when you want to "exchange items and help the lower level characters."
"Nearly instantly after creating a new character, you're able to play with others using that character," Barchan added. So there's no need to worry about having to suffer through the same opening cutscenes over again when you create a new character.
Outriders will be released for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X this holiday season.