the outer worlds

Stick it to the man or stick up for him – the choice is yours

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Robin Valen­tine

Pub­lisher pri­vate di­vi­sion De­vel­oper ob­sid­ian en­ter­tain­ment ETA 25 oc­to­ber Spring­ing from the minds of Fall­out’s orig­i­nal cre­ators Tim Cain and Leonard Bo­yarsky, and shar­ing much of its DNA with the stu­dio’s ac­claimed mod­ern en­try New Ve­gas, it’s in­evitable that Ob­sid­ian’s lat­est RPG draws com­par­isons to the ven­er­a­ble postapoc­a­lyp­tic se­ries. But its bold sci-fi uni­verse, a riot of retro-fu­tur­ism, unchecked cap­i­tal­ism, and the wild fron­tiers of space, stands out in its own right as one of the year’s fresh­est new game set­tings.

“Tim and Leonard re­ally wanted to ex­plore an al­ter­nate his­tory set­ting and they were talk­ing about some ideas for that. And one thing that jumped out to them was a very cor­po­rate dystopia,” says nar­ra­tive de­signer Dan McPhee. “They wanted to try and find a set­ting that was not post-apoc­a­lyp­tic but about to be, like things are about to crash down.”

They found that set­ting in the idea of space coloni­sa­tion fu­elled en­tirely by ruth­less, frac­tious cor­po­ra­tions. The fledg­ling world your char­ac­ter ar­rives at when the game be­gins is a pow­der keg ready to ex­plode.

Bad com­pany

Strug­gling frontier towns stand cov­ered in neon sig­nage ad­ver­tis­ing bizarre prod­ucts (any­one fancy a de­li­cious tin of pork tu­mours?). “The world your char­ac­ter ar­rives at when the game be­gins is a pow­der keg” Ex­ploited colonists live out their lives in ser­vice to com­pa­nies with names like ‘Spacer’s Choice’ and ‘Aun­tie Cleo’s’. Cor­po­rate agents make clan­des­tine war with one another, mark­ing ri­val CEOs for death. And on the fringes, ban­dits, alien beasts and worse be­sides prowl, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the grow­ing chaos.

You, of course, are the spark ready to set off the pow­der keg once and for all. Free to ap­proach this chaotic world how­ever you want – as a hero or a vil­lain, sid­ing with the corps or against them, over­com­ing ob­sta­cles with sub­tlety or with vi­o­lence – it’s your choices that will ultimately shape your ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We put a lot of em­pha­sis on not telling the player what he’s sup­posed to do or what mo­ti­va­tions he has,” says McPhee. “We just sort of drop you in and say, ‘All right, go.’ And there are some goals that you have in the be­gin­ning, but you can very quickly di­verge from them and kind of do what­ever you want. If you’re the type of player who likes to go and just shoot every­body, you can do that. Or if you just like talk­ing to all the char­ac­ters and ex­plor­ing, you can do that too. So my hope is that ev­ery player al­ready kind of knows what they’re go­ing to be ex­cited about, and then they find it in the game.”

Take on a quest to as­sas­si­nate some­one, and not only will your path to reach them be en­tirely dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on your de­ci­sions, but you could even de­cide not to kill them af­ter all. Per­haps a bribe will stay your hand – or even con­vince you to turn on your orig­i­nal em­ployer, cre­at­ing an en­tirely new mis­sion.

From another de­vel­oper, a claim of this much breadth of choice might be hard to be­lieve. But Ob­sid­ian’s track record is well estab­lished – from leg­endary clas­sics such as Knights

Of The Old Repub­lic II and New Ve­gas to more re­cent hits like the Pil­lars Of

Eter­nity games, it’s a de­vel­oper that’s long put player agency first.

“We ap­proach ev­ery­thing we cre­ate with that free­dom in mind,” says McPhee. “We don’t im­ple­ment any­thing with­out op­tions.”

A bold phi­los­o­phy – and one that we’re hop­ing will make The Outer Worlds a truly spe­cial ad­ven­ture when it launches later this year.

Above You’re joined in your ad­ven­tures by up to two com­pan­ions, with their own per­son­al­i­ties and agendas.

far left You never know what you’ll find in the outer wilds of The Outer Worlds.

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