At a time in gaming where several say a game has to have multiplayer to succeed, Obsidian steps in to show off their latest foray into the single player RPG experience with their newest game The Outer Worlds with the help of Private Division. A new title that is part of a new IP for them aims to prove that they are still one of the best companies around in this aspect of gaming. I had an opportunity to visit Obsidian’s headquarters recently and get a look at the game and what it’s all about.
Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky join forces for this special new project from Obsidian. Both of them not only veterans of gaming but 2 of the original people behind Fallout. They sought to do something different and picked a sci fi setting for the Outer Worlds. Set in a future where Earth has colonized multiple worlds in space, you play as a survivor of a colony ship where mysteriously none of your crew was awakened. Left to slumber away as the other ship and crew did their job. Wakened by a quirky scientist you can set out to find out what happened and maybe fix things, or forget about all that and just enjoy your new-found freedom. Oh, and drugs, lots of drugs.
In the Outer Worlds, choice matters and with those choices come consequences. That scientist that saved you in the beginning? He’s wanted by the big corporations in charge and if you wanted to you could turn him in and get a sweet reward. Or, you could do the “right” thing and work with him. Obsidian really wanted you to be able to play the game how you wanted to. Not just with in decisions of combat, but in decisions of story and how things turned out. Of course, in regards to combat you could try to go in guns blazing, sneak your way through or even try to talk your way by. The choice is yours. This choice brought to you by Auntie Cleo, It’s better than nature.
The setting and looks right away set The Outer Worlds apart from other games. They sought to bring the flavor of the Robber Baron age to a new futuristic setting. In this new universe race or gender don’t matter, it’s all about what company you work for and how high up the food chain you are. As you explore the game, you’ll notice that settlements are owned by various brands with everyone towing the company line. It’s all about the brand and you’ll notice that not only in propaganda but in what the various NPCs have to say. The look of the game tends to have vibrant colors here and there scattered amongst the browns and grays of cities. With a clunky semi Victorian look to the tech itself. It all smacks of something you think you may have seen before, but haven’t.
You aren’t the lone hero in this tale, you are joined by multiple companions along the way. You can play with up to 2 at a time and your choices matter. They have their own set of skills with can augment yours and their own set of morals. They’ll let you know what they think not only of your choices but of the situation itself. Sometimes being very vocal about it. Sorry to those interested though, there’ll be no romancing your ship mates. But you can romance Spacers Choice all you want, it’s mm mmm good.
While all of the above sounds great, what about the combat? It’s all in first person and you have your choice of various weapons. The guns themselves come in various types produced by different companies for varying differences. Of course, if you’d prefer to step in close and use a melee weapon you can. Obsidian decided to offset the cons of having to close that gap with melee by having it hit in an arc. Getting more bang for your buck up close while sacrificing range. In combat your companions have special moves they can use and you yourself are special. Weather through all the chemicals used to awaken you or severe brain trauma you have the ability to react at a higher speed at times. Tactical Time Dilation allows you to slow down time for abit and get a better sense of your enemy or just to get a better shot at certain areas. It’s a skill that recharges over time and with certain perks can last longer. While all of that sounded fun, the team wanted more. A hero is great, a flawed Hero is better. The game watches you play and throughout may offer you a flaw. Take that flaw and get a permanent depuff, but get a perk. Would it be wise to have for you to be afraid of a robots and energy weapons for those extra skills? That’s a decision you’ll have to make. Or you could just sneak by your enemies.
The Outer Worlds wouldn’t be a game in the vein of Fallout if it didn’t give you not only choice in all of the above but in also what you say. While there are conversation skills like Intimidate, Lie and Persuade; those skills are only as good as your stats with possible bonuses from your companions. Of course, your character could have rather low intelligence and have dumb responses to conversations, just don’t expect your companions to not make fun of you for going that route. Your reputation stays with you and may affect encounters. Sure, one side wants you to get them a thing and is offering you some money, but the other guys are offering you more to destroy that thing. Do one or the other or play them off of each other as you make up your mind.
The Outer Worlds sets out to prove that the single player RPG experience is alive and well and that Obsidian is a leader in that genre. Only time will tell if that is true.
While at Obsidian HQ I had a chance to sit down and talk briefly with two of the minds behind The Outer Worlds, Matthew Singh (Senior Producer) and Charles Staples (Lead Designer). Head to page 2 to check it out!