There’s very good reason to be excited about The Outer Worlds, a new single-player sci-fi shooter-looter RPG from Obsidian Entertainment. Not only is this the team that brought us one of the most beloved entries in the Fallout franchise, Fallout: New Vegas but, according to its senior narrative designer, Megan Starks, The Outer Worlds isn’t afraid to borrow from Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic franchise.
The premise of the game goes like this: Set on the frontier of space, The Outer Worlds has the player awakening from hibernation amidst a conspiracy to destroy Halycon – a colony residing at the edge of the galaxy driven by big-brand corporations. It’s your call how to playand what to choose, with your actions influencing how the story unfolds and the fate of Haylcon itself. Expect hilarious subtext and commentary on corporations and capitalism, plus dialogue choices and combat that keeps you on your toes.
Interested? So are we. Here’s everything we know so far about The Outer Worlds.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Obsidian’s new single-player sci-fi RPG
- When can I play it? October 25 2019
- What can I play it on? PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
The Outer Worlds release date
The Outer Worlds will come out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on October 25 2019. The announcement came during Microsoft’s E3 2019 keynote, which is available to view down below.
The Outer Worlds trailers
Obsidian showed off 20 minutes of gameplay footage at PAX East, with some witty dialogue, crazy-looking weapons, and a companion who always jumps into the action feet-first. It’s also a great look at one of the vibrant city environments (read: a lot of neon).
And in this Game Informer video, The Outer Worlds’ co-director Tim Cain and lead designer Charles Staples show off some combat gameplay:
Obsidian announced The Outer Worlds at The Game Awards 2018 with an official announcement trailer. You can check it out below:
The Outer Worlds news and features
Comparisons to Fallout’s V.A.T.S. system will be inevitable, but the PAX East demo shows off something called “tactical time dilation”, which slows down time to take the pressure off fast-paced combat encounters:
“We are trying to give opportunities for people who aren’t the best shooter players, to slow things down a bit, get their bearings, and then make decisions that will actually help them during combat”.
The demo also mentioned ‘science weapons’, which are apparently high-tech items with fun or downright oddball effects – think glowing scythes with corrosion damage, or a purple stick that freezes enemies and shrinks civilians’ heads. There’ll be science weapons for every weapon type, so it won’t just be in melee either.
Six main character stats
There’ll be six main character stats influencing your character’s skills, speed, and success in both combat and social interaction: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Perception, Charm, and Temperament.
It’s the last one that interest us most: does a grumpy temperament stop people wanting to talk to you, or an easy-going one change your dialogue options?
All of the jokes
All signs point towards The Outer Worlds not taking itself too seriously. The NPCs really lean into parody, rattling off the names of their favorite brands and speaking obliviously of their “odious interpersonal skills” – while your dialogue options will really let you poke fun.
Lots of character customization, little screen time
While you’ll get to customize your character’s appearance, it seems you won’t even have a voice. In an interview with Polygon, co-creator Leonard Boyarsky revealed the team has taken an “old-school” approach to the game to allow resources to be focused on a complex narrative.
You can play the way you want
In the same interview, Obsidian revealed The Outer Worlds is a player-driven game, which means you essentially have the free will to choose whether you want to be a hero, villain or anything in-between through branching dialogue options.
Obsidian through and through
Speaking to TechRadar at E3 2019, senior narrative design Megan Starks assured us that The Outer Worlds will not disappoint fans of Obsidian’s previous games.
“The things you love about the games that we make, we want to provide to you in The Outer Worlds,” Starks told us. “It is very player-choice driven, we want a really rich story but everything you do has reactivity to it and you can play the way that you want to play whether that’s good, evil, psychopath, whether you want to side with the scientists and try to save the system or whether you want to join the board and reinforce their agenda or if you want to double-cross both of them and do a lone-wolf thing.
“I think that’s part of it. The games people already like from the studio, you are going to get that same experience here. “
Once you progress far enough in the game you will receive your own star ship and crew. These crew members can act as companions as well as offering their own opinion on current events and choices. There’s no romance options, though (you can save that stuff for Dragon Age 4). However, if you do something your companion dislikes then it’s possible they will abandon you.
The world is affected by your actions
Speaking to TechRadar at E3 2019, The Outer Worlds’ senior narrative designer, Megan Starks, explained that the player’s actions not only affects the story but the world around them. Starks presented the example of Marauder-infested areas, which can be cleared out. If you choose to do so then you may find wildlife take over the area later in the game.
Similarly other choices affect character reactions (including whether companions choose to abandon you) and environment. “We do in every way try to have the game react to what you’re doing in the world,” Starks explained.
As a story centred around corporations, it’s no surprise The Outer Worlds will offer various weapons and items to purchase from 10 different brands. Where will your (brand) loyalties lie?
Rather than take the immediate consequence of something like a critical wound, you have the option to accept a flaw instead. This is a permanent negative debuff which will remain with you throughout the game.
The Outer Worlds: what we want to see
We’re sure to get more details over the coming months in the run-up to The Outer World’s release (whenever in 2019 that is). In the meantime, here’s everything we’re hoping Obsidian delivers with the final product.
A gripping main storyline (with some meaningful choices)
Blending real player freedom with a structured narrative is a difficult juggling act. Few games have managed this as well as the original Mass Effect trilogy, so we’ll be eager to see whether Obsidian can repeat the trick for their own sci-fi RPG.
A working game engine
You’d think we wouldn’t have to put this, but so many big studios are ending up shipping unfinished games because of the scale of their enterprises (Assassin’s Creed Unity, Fallout 76, etc). Obsidian’s track record, though, and the smaller size of its team, suggests they’ll be working within their means.
Some actual space exploration
Sure, having giant planets looming in the sky is cool, but if we don’t actual get to enjoy exploring the stars it’s little more than wallpaper. Here’s hoping Obsidian gives you an environment to explore, rather than making a game that could just have easily been set back on Earth.
The beginning of great things to come
With Microsoft having recently acquired Obsidian, there’s no telling what that injection of cash could do to the development team’s ambitions. If The Outer Worlds proves a hit, we could be seeing a lot more of it down the line, with the resources to really make it galactic.
(Image credits: Obsidian Entertainment)