VR Roguelike ‘OUTLIER’ Cancelled Due to “overestimated demand”

Joy Way, the studio behind VR titles Stride and Against, announced it’s abandoning development on its most recent PC VR title, Outlier, which hit early access on Steam in March.

The studio released a statement on Friday detailing the decision to remove Outlier from sale on Steam.

Joy Way advises users to either refund the game or keep it in their library with the knowledge that there will be no new development going on. Here’s the full statement below:

Dear players,

In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share that we’ve made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on OUTLIER.

Our plans for this project were ambitious, but unfortunately we overestimated the demand for this game. And underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre. After the launch, we realized that the effort to implement our initial vision of this game would be too big compared to the relatively small audience we were targeting.

According to our calculations, we would have to involve a significant part of the developement team to work on this project over the next 8-12 months with a low probability that the project will ever achieve at least financial self-sufficiency.

The lesson has been learned, and we will reallocate human and financial resources to our other projects – STRIDE and AGAINST, in order to release updates for these games more often.

The title will shortly be removed from sale on Steam. Given that OUTLIER will no longer receive any updates, feel free to refund it. You can also contact Steam support if you need help with this. If you enjoyed the game, you can still play it, OUTLIER will remain in your library.

If you need any help from our side, please email us at community@joyway.games.

We treasure the help of dedicated players who helped us playtest the game and left detailed feedback, your impact was really valuable during the course of development. Your efforts and more than a year of hard work by our developers: all best practices from OUTLIER will find their application in our other existing games.

Thank you for giving the game a chance, and we hope you had some fun :)

Joy Way Team

Outlier was a bit of a mixed bag when it launched on Steam Early Access. The single-player game borrows a good amount of locomotion mechanics from Stride, the studio’s 2020 “parkour-shooter” game that has users executing highflying jumps and dodges whilst blasting away with various guns. On top of its battle-rested VR mechanics, Outlier also promised five VR-centric weapons, elemental powers, and 50+ upgrades and modifiers to keep players coming back for more of its procedurally-generated levels set on an alien world.

Joy Way intended to use its time on PC VR to work out issues before eventually releasing a version for Quest, which was initially planned to release sometime in 2022. Since its Early Access launch, the game has received ‘Mixed’ user ratings, with around 60 percent of overall users rating the game as ‘Positive’, which seems to have dampened a favorable outlook for its jump to Quest.

To date, all of the studio’s VR games on Steam are still in Early Access, including Time HackerStride, and its latest rhythm-combat title AgainstStride is however the studio’s first (and only) to make it to the official Quest Store.

The post VR Roguelike ‘OUTLIER’ Cancelled Due to “overestimated demand” appeared first on Road to VR.

VR Roguelite Outlier Has Been Cancelled

Virtual reality (VR) specialist Joy Way has been producing some exciting content for gamers having released Stride, Against and Outlier as early access titles over the past couple of years. The latter only arrived back in March and it seems that was one too many, as Joy Way quietly revealed a few days ago that further development of Outlier has now halted.


On its Discord channel, Joy Way detailed the reasons behind Outlier’s cancellation, saying: “Our plans for this project were ambitious, but unfortunately we overestimated the demand for this game. And underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre. After the launch, we realized that the effort to implement our initial vision of this game would be too big compared to the relatively small audience we were targeting.”

The team went on to add: “According to our calculations, we would have to involve a significant part of the development [sic] team to work on this project over the next 8-12 months with a very low probability that the project will ever achieve at least financial self-sufficiency.”

So that’s the end of what looked to be a promising roguelite. As gmw3 said in its preview: “It could possibly become Joy Way’s biggest and baddest VR game to date, with some wicked looking enemy design – especially the boss – and variety when combining gems to upgrade yourself.”


Due to the cancellation, there will, of course, be no further updates. So those that have purchased the videogame can either continue to play as is or refund even if Steam’s two-hour window has passed.

It’s not all bad news though. Joy Way will repurpose its human and financial resources into Stride and Against, both of which received new updates last week. The studio also mentions that “the long-awaited multiplayer for Stride is on its way,” so there’s that to look forward to.

While Joy Way has shuttered its roguelite plans many other VR developers have embraced the genre. Titles like Until You Fall and In Death: Unchained have done well with new projects like Mothergunship: Forge set to arrive this summer. For continued updates on the latest Joy Way announcements, keep reading gmw3.

Joy Way Cancels VR Roguelite Outlier 2 Months Into Early Access

Just two months on from its launch on early access, developer Joy Way has canceled work on VR roguelite, Outlier.

The studio shared the news on its Discord channel last week, stating that it had “overestimated the demand for this game” and “underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre.” The game will soon be removed from Steam.

Outlier Canceled

he studio reasoned that continuing to work on the project would take another eight to 12 months with “a low probability that the project will ever achieve at least financial self-sufficiency.” Outlier was Joy Way’s fifth announced game in two years and the second project to be fully abandoned, the other being a puzzle game called Brains vs Zombies. Its other three projects, Stride, Against and Time Hacker, are all also in early access, though the latter title seemingly hasn’t received an update in over a year.

Joy Way said customers should “feel free” to refund the game and reach out to Steam support if they need help.

Outlier offered roguelite action similar to flatscreen games like Hades and Returnal as well as VR games like Sweet Surrender and Until You Fall. You fought through areas of an alien planet using firearms and superpowers to defend yourself. We quite liked the game at early access launch, but noted the developer’s tendency to release new prototype projects rather than finish old ones was becoming a problem.

“More cautious optimism, then, but with this marking the fourth major early access release for Joy Way with a full game yet to launch, it’s high past time the developer started consolidating on some of this potential,” we said.

Joy Way does continue to work on Stride and Against, however. The latter just got an update improving the flow of the game. Stride, meanwhile, recently disappeared off of the Quest store for over a month as Meta delisted apps from developers with “financial entities” based in Russia. Joy Way told UploadVR that it has “very few employees” left in Russia and Stride has since returned to the store, with its long-promised multiplayer mode still in the works.

What do you make of Outlier’s cancellation? Let us know in the comments below!

Out Tomorrow, Outlier Has Superheroic Shooter Action With Some Structural Issues

I’ve noticed a pattern with Joy Way’s games.

It goes like this: we get off on the wrong foot, I think the game might just be an unmitigated disaster, then something clicks and we start over, cautiously optimistic that this could be a fruitful relationship. It happened with Stride’s active control scheme and limited amount of content, it was present with Against’s rhythm-based antics, and it struck once again with Outlier.

This is Joy Way’s take on the roguelite genre. Think Hades, Returnal, or Until You Fall, this time to the tune of an alien planet full of murderous inhabitants and an assortment of guns and superpowers to help you survive. You should know the score; tackle endless runs of a procedurally generated dungeon, gain temporary upgrades to improve your stopping power, and gather resources to purchase some permanent buffs between runs, too.

At first, Outlier leaves you wondering who exactly thought it was ready for even pre-release. Joy Way has relied heavily on early access in the past but, typically speaking, its games release with much more polish than this. The hub area is filled with placeholder textures and text, your AI companion has terribly translated dialogue and the overall presentation of the game — from muted gunshots to cookie-cutter menus — seems quite damning.

These are all things that can be easily addressed, but the issues extend into the world design. Outlier doesn’t have easily-defined arenas like other entries in the genre, and you can often see the game heaving away in the background to generate new areas. It could really cut itself some slack with a corridor or two to separate the action.

But it was the dashing mechanic that I really butted heads with. Like Stride before it, Outlier makes you jump via physical action, only instead of throwing both arms down you’ll this time use just one arm to spring into the air, following the direction of your swing. It takes a while to master this and, just as with Stride, I was at first convinced it was a clumsy and needless implementation.

But then I, y’know, got good.

Once you’re used to Outlier’s quick-footed and unusual control scheme it starts to feel pretty brilliant. One powerup lets you chain multiple dashes together, meaning you can spring into the air and then suddenly vault in a completely different direction. When you’re on the ground, enemies attack from above and below, giving the combat a panicked, any angle danger. As you can probably tell by now, Outlier doesn’t compromise when it comes to comfort. There are some vignette settings and the like but, even then, the multi-angled action and effortless mid-air dashing make even Stride look like it’s on a walking frame. Realistically, this one’s only going to be for experienced VR players.

But with that intensity comes a pretty arresting rhythm. There’s no fumbling around with reloading a pistol, for example, but you instead just flick the gun down for a second, Time Crisis-style. Bits of rubble can be plucked from the ground with telekinesis and then flung at enemies (though this mechanic has a mind of its own, often auto-aiming at the wrong targets or just failing to register the throw). Later on, gems unlock powers that mix up the gameplay too, like the ability to throw fire. When you’re keeping pace with it, Outlier is a genuinely superheroic shooter.

Outlier Gameplay

A run through the dungeon can be so much fun you’ll even find yourself generously overlooking some of the game’s more inherent issues. Along with the technical shortcomings, enemy AI is a bit of a scramble, with certain types unable to make up their minds on which direction they should move in. The wide-open areas also mean it’s difficult for the player to tell if they’re meant to be standing their ground and fighting to the last bullet or if they should just dash through an area ignoring enemies. At times enemies swarm in droves — at which point I’d noticed some big performance drops — and it’s never clear if there’s a set number of them spawning or the game’s trying to usher you along with overwhelming odds.

At launch, then, Outlier isn’t quite the home run that Against was. Though there’s certainly the potential for a thrilling VR roguelite here, there’s a fair few rough edges and structural problems that need to be ironed out throughout early access before we could really say it was worth a look. More cautious optimism, then, but with this marking the fourth major early access release for Joy Way with a full game yet to launch, it’s high past time the developer started consolidating on some of this potential.

Outlier launches on Steam via early access tomorrow, with a Quest release planned for later in the year.

Preview: Outlier – A Roguelite of Possibilities

It’s surprising to think that Joy Way used to be location-based entertainment (LBE) specialist PlatformaVR, transitioning into a full-time virtual reality (VR) studio a couple of years ago. During that time the team has released a selection of Steam Early Access titles with the latest to arrive being Outlier. This joins the ever-growing roguelite genre VR developers are loving at the moment, continually fighting and dying, trying to inch closer to the finish line whilst incrementally improving your stats.    


Outlier very much has this at the core of its DNA with a basic narrative to give it some structure. You’re the captain of a spaceship looking to find humanity a new home, along the way getting sucked into a black hole that imbues you with powers whilst offering a potential planet. However, that planet is being attacked by hostiles that need clearing out first, so with new said abilities you get to unleash a little mayhem.

As an Early Access release Outlier doesn’t offer many bells and whistles, to begin with. All the VR basics are present, smooth locomotion only, you can grab ledges to climb and guns can be housed over each shoulder (nothing on the hip). There’s no manual reloading, simply pop the gun near your hip to reload making for a quick arcade-style experience. Early on there seemed to be some inconsistency when it came to dropping the gun. Rather than popping it over my shoulder, simply letting it go generally left it there although on the odd occasion it seemed to auto-return. Ahh, the vagaries of an early access videogame.

Planetside, Outlier looks great, fighting through what look like ancient ruins and temples, giant monoliths stretching skywards with plenty of undulation in the level design; keeping most of the enemy encounters in small areas. Joy Way has also used a trick where the environment is entirely contained within canyons (so far at least), presumably because levels are procedurally generated. In any case, it doesn’t feel confined, with plenty of room to manoeuvre.   


And you’ll need to, the first opponents encountered are fast and deadly accurate with their throwing axes. It takes a moment to actually keep up and track their movements as they flit from side-to-side, unusually tricky for introductory foes. They’re actually a bit too erratic in all honesty and there were times where it felt easier to just run up and gun butt them, only to find I couldn’t! I’m also not a fan of the ragdoll effects when they die, definitely seems out of place in this style of VR experience.

Physical violence may have been off the cards but thankfully Outlier doesn’t just provide guns, you can unleash some telekinetic rock throwing. Thus you’ve got the option to dual wield two guns when you’ve found them, a gun and helpful rock or just go full-on Jean Grey and start hurling boulders around the place. Alas, you can’t just rip them out of the ground, only certain rocks and pots can be lobbed but even so, it makes Outlier physical, interactive and fun.

Now, as mentioned this is a roguelite which means gaining loads of useful stuff, death, losing all your stuff and then upgrading core abilities to go back at it. Outlier achieves this in a number of ways, the first being the in level buffs. Every so often you’ll come across a glowing pedestal with 2 or 3 items, usually 3 buffs or 1 buff and a gun. Buffs can range from improving your grab distance and walking speed to upping the number of times you can dash in succession or adding perks like Death from Above where you gain a 10% damage improvement when airborne.


These are all your temporary boons, the permanent ones come from killing enemies to gain some sort of magical energy. This is the good stuff, only usable onboard your spaceship once you’ve died. At the moment the ship doesn’t look as good as the rest of Outlier, very bland in its aesthetic and user interface. There’s also the less than inspiring voiceover for the story narration and gameplay tutorial. It’s not the only thing that needs some more polish whilst inside early access, enemy wall glitching and game crashes were two of the more prominent issues.

Outlier also seems to have been influenced (partially) by Joy Way’s biggest VR title Stride. The jump/dash mechanic takes a little getting used to, as it’s a physical flick. You have to hold the A button down then flick the controller in a direction, releasing the button at the same time. It is a gameplay fundamental learning to quickly dash sideways, backwards, or jump across chasms.

All of this combines to make Outlier an intriguing prospect. It could possibly become Joy Way’s biggest and baddest VR game to date, with some wicked looking enemy design – especially the boss – and variety when combining gems to upgrade yourself. However, this is the studios’ fourth early access videogame on Steam, begging the question as to whether they’ll all stay in this EA limbo or actually come to fruition. There are some excellent roguelite videogames available for VR headsets and Outlier could well join this group, eventually.

The VR Drop: A Thursday Downpour of VR Wonder

Oh my, when it rains it rains hard in VR. And there’s no better example than next week when five titles all drop on exactly the same day. Not all for the same platform, mind, but still next Thursday is going to be a busy one for all you VR gamers out there.

The Tale of Onogoro

The Tale of Onogoro – Amata K.K.

The next VR title from the Japanese team behind Last Labyrinth, The Tale of Onogoro is set to be another weird puzzle adventure; just with far less gore. In this tale, you’ve pulled through from another dimension by a high priestess (Haru) tasked with defeating five powerful monsters called Kami. Unfortunately, she has been betrayed and finds herself tethered to a rather large stone. So you have to solve puzzles, help Haru navigate the world, and then defeat the odd giant boss or two.

  • Supported platform(s): Meta Quest 2
  • Launch date: 17th March

Outlier – Joy Way

A Steam Early Access release by Joy Way, the folks behind Stride and Against, in Outlier, you play someone looking for a new planet to call home. You get sucked into a black hole and find a suitable location, apart from all the dangerous enemies that is. And so begins a roguelite adventure where you have to fight a seemingly endless selection of enemies using guns and some rather mysterious powers. If you die, then it’s right back to the start, a little stronger and hopefully a little wiser for the next run.


Startenders – Foggy Box Games

Time for a less dramatic videogame but no less hectic, serving some cosmic cocktails. gmw3 liked Startenders in our preview last month, next week it’s your turn to enrol in the Startenders Academy where you’ll learn to prep an assortment of bizarre beverages, try and keep customers happy and maybe earn some cash to upgrade your equipment to make even better creations!

  • Supported platform(s): Meta Quest 1 & 2 and PlayStation VR
  • Launch date: 17th March

Mare – Visiontrick Media

The first of two ports next week, Visiontrick Media has been working hard on bringing its Meta Quest exclusive Mare to PC VR. With some beautifully scenic visuals, Mare is a casual puzzle title where you play a mechanical bird helping a small child traverse a desolate and dangerous land.


Cave Digger 2: Dig Harder – VRKiwi

Already on Steam Early Access, Cave Digger 2: Dig Harder is due to hit Oculus App Lab next Thursday, bringing its tunnelling adventure to the standalone headset. Playing a prospector looking for riches, you start out small and expand your camp to new places and dig for new treasures, uncovering a few secrets along the way. This launch will also feature the new Steam update adding a new biome to the experience.

  • Supported platform(s): Meta Quest 2 (App Lab)
  • Launch date: 17th March

‘STRIDE’ Studio Announces Sci-Fi Roguelite ‘OUTLIER’, Coming to SteamVR in March

Joy Way, the studio behind VR titles STRIDE and AGAINST, announced it has another game in the early access pipeline. Called OUTLIER, the sci-fi roguelite is headed to Steam next month, with a version for Quest planned for 2022.

Outlier is offering up procedurally-generated levels, an array of weapons and characters, and is taking inspiration from indie greats such as Risk of Rain (2013), Dead Cells (2018), and Hades (2020).

Here’s how Joy Way describes Outlier:

You are a captain of one of the last human arks. In search of a new home for humanity, your vessel was sucked into a black hole. From your position beyond space and time, you witness an unknown race devastating what looks like a habitable solar system. The unknown physics of the black hole endow you with mysterious powers and allow you to exist in parallel worlds. Live, die, and repeat in your quest to conquer at least one of these worlds in the name of mankind.

The advanced controls integrate a wide range of movements. As you tactically break your way through the enemy hordes and navigate the complex terrain, you’ll need to use your body to cast artifact powers, slam enemies with surrounding objects, cut them into pieces, dodge their attacks, hide behind objects, jump, dash, and more.

Looking at the release date trailer, it also seems to include a good measure of the jumping and shooting mechanics we’ve seen in both Stride and Against too.

Image courtesy Joy Way

Arriving first on Steam Early Access for PC VR headsets on March 17th, Outlier is also slated to launch on the official Quest Store at some point in 2022. Joy Way says it will be using Steam Early Access to “help us figure out what aspects of the game players are really responding to, and nip any design issues in the bud.”

“Though, we plan to tweak all main game systems first during the early access period,” the studio says. “After we receive enough feedback from the community on the core mechanics and future content of the game, we will start working on a Quest port.”

To date, all of Joy Way’s games for SteamVR headsets are still in early access, including Time Hacker, Stride, and its latest rhythm-combat title Against.

Stride is the first of the bunch to make it to the official Quest Store, and not in early access, garnering the game around a [4.2/5] user rating.

You can wishlist the game on Steam and keep an eye on updates over at Joy Way’s Twitter in the meantime.

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Roguelite Adventure Outlier Steps Onto Steam in March

Having revealed its latest virtual reality (VR) project, Outlier, last year, developer Joy Way is gearing up for its early access launch via Steam. The studio has announced that the PC VR release will be taking place next month.


Coming from the same studio behind Stride and Against, Outlier is a very different beast, a roguelite shooter set in a stylish sci-fi universe. The narrative revolves around you being captain of the last human ark, vessels designed to find humanity a new home. However, your ark is swallowed by a black hole and during this process, you discover what looks to be a habitable planet. Unfortunately, it’s being attacked, fortunately, that black hole incident has endowed you with powers. So down you go to clear out the menace.

Those abilities include a roguelite’s main feature, rinse and repeat until perfect. With every level procedurally generated death merely means restarting a little bit stronger and hopefully slightly wiser. That does mean, of course, that you’ll encounter different characters and experience new artefacts, weapons, and story pieces.

Player progression is always an important factor in any roguelite with Outlier combining power-ups and ability modifiers for players to tweak their characters. Spells such as the fireball or telekinesis can be merged to create an explosive fireball and a fire push. During early access Joy Way will continue to add more weapons, more powers, and more pickups.


As gmw3 has previously reported, Joy Way plans on bringing Outlier to Meta Quest 2 later in the year, saying in a statement: “Meta has accepted putting Outlier to the official Quest Store. Though, we plan to tweak all main game systems first during the early access period. After we receive enough feedback from the community on the core mechanics and future content of the game, we will start working on a Quest port.”

Outlier is currently scheduled for release via Steam Early Access on 17th March, supporting Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index. The full videogame is currently slated to arrive by the end of 2022. Check out the new trailer below and for further updates keep reading gmw3.

Joy Way’s Outlier Gets March Early Access Release Date

Stride and Against developer Joy Way’s next game, Outlier, hits PC VR in March.

An early access build of the roguelite shooter will launch on SteamVR on March 17. It will feature a larger variety of weapons, powers and pickups than seen in the demo that launched late last year. Check out a trailer for the game below.

Outlier Release Date Confirmed

In Outlier, you land on an alien planet and fight through waves of alien attackers in randomized runs of dungeons. Supernatural abilities and weapons can be mixed together to make different builds and you can combine spells together to make new attacks. Every time you restart your playthrough will be different. Think of it as similar to Until You Fall, just with guns.

Outlier is also coming to Quest, though there’s no specific release date for that just yet. Joy Way says it intends to work on the game and implement feedback from players before bringing it to the standalone headset, but still anticipates launching it this year.

This is the third major project for Joy Way, which is also still working on early access versions of Against and Stride. Are you going to be trying out Outlier? Let us know in the comments below!

Super-Powered Shooter Outlier Hits PC VR Next Year

Joy Way’s upcoming super-powered shooter, Outlier, is releasing on PC VR in Q1 2022.

The game will release in early access via SteamVR, much like the developer’s other upcoming title, Against, will do in a few weeks’ time. Outlier has also been confirmed for an Oculus Quest release in the future, though don’t expect that to show up anytime soon.

The news was revealed on the Upload VR Showcase today. Check out a brand new trailer just below.

New Outlier Trailer Revealed

Outlier is a roguelite shooter in which players fend off enemies on an alien planet. You might wield a firearm in one hand as you make your way through randomized areas, clearing away threats, and then you can either dual-wield with your other hand or you’ll be able to wield powers like fireballs and more.

The trailer shows off some agile combat, with the player springing into the air, and we also get a look at new weapons like a bow and arrow. As you progress through a run you’ll also get new upgrades to aid you in battle. As with other roguelites, the game will no doubt take repeated runs to see through as you look to get better builds and make it to the end.

Look for more details on Outlier in the new year. Joy Way is also continuing to expand on its popular parkour title, Stride, with a campaign and multiplayer support still in progress. For now, stay tuned to the Upload VR Showcase, as we have plenty more to talk about today.