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