Outriders is set on an exoplanet roughly a dozen light years away from Earth, so it’s no surprise the game features some anomalies, like electromagnetic hurricanes and tank-sized, fire-spitting arachnids. But perhaps the strangest entity in People Can Fly’s loot-shooter is also a familiar one: human beings who believe the planet is flat.
Giovanni “Hailstorm” Russo is the target of one of the bounty hunts you can undertake during Outriders’ middle stretch, after you make it to Trench Town. You’ll find him in the snowy Eagle Peaks region. And if you plumb his backstory, you’ll learn that he fully buys into not just flat-Earth theory but also flat-Enoch theory.
Typically, you don’t really have any meaningful interaction with your bounties. You track them down. You defeat them in combat. You kill them, execution style, in a wordless cinematic. For your efforts, you can cash in at one of the game’s social hubs for a high-level piece of gear. But if you open up the journal, you’ll get a narrative and some characterization for each one. Here’s Hailstorm’s:
Despite facing ridicule by his peers and threatened with exclusion from the Flores, Russo’s father never disavowed his affiliation with the Flat Earth Union. His valued expertise in artificial intelligence and automation alone afforded him the trip to Enoch. After his death to a storm that struck the First City, his son continued his legacy by declaring Enoch was also flat. He believes that Enoch ends just beyond the mountains and forest, and that these act as natural barriers that warn humanity against venturing further. He believes the fungus in the forest and the monster in the mountains are nothing compared to the dragons that lie as the edges of the world.
At face value, this may sound ridiculous. Hailstorm presumably saw not one but two planets from space (unless he drew the short straw and got stuck with an aisle seat for the whole interstellar journey). For most people, that would be more than enough evidence to prove the case that planets are indeed not flat.
But a representative for People Can Fly and Square Enix, the game’s publisher, confirmed to me that most humans aboard the Flores—the ship that carried humans from Earth to Enoch—were out cold in cryosleep the whole trip, and that “Hailstorm never saw either planet from space!”
Makes you think.