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). Here’s what we talked about.
MMO: For those who may not know, what is The Outer Worlds?
Matthew: The Outer Worlds is a new Sci Fi single player role playing game from Obsidian. It focuses on a colony on the edge of known space where the corporations have bought and founded this new colony. There were two colony ships that went out here. One made it, the other didn’t. You're a part of the one that did not make it. The player eventually gets unfrozen by a crazed scientist and he’s asking for your help to save the rest of the colonists. This is a player driven story so you can choose to help him or discover an adventure along the way and just work on that.
MMO: What are you most excited about with this project?
Matthew: I love helping craft unique worlds. Being able to work with Tim, Leonard and Charley in a way where we get the opportunity to with Private Division to actually build something from the ground up that nobody else has seen or experienced this world that is the coolest thing to me as a gamer and a developer.
Charles: For me it’s pretty similar. Being able to have the opportunity with Private Division to do what we love best at Obsidian, making a focused single player RPG that allows players to craft their own story and drive their own path. What we love most about making Obsidian games is choice and consequence. Being able to use all of our experience from previous games and to focus it on this one for a whole new experience with a whole new IP.
MMO: New setting that plays of the Baron Robbers era. Were there many difficulties bringing that to life?
Charles: Every time you’re crafting something completely unique like that there are lots and lots of challenges. You have to think through how does this world function? How the heck are they even building this colony in this other planet? How does terraforming work on a planet, what could go right or wrong? I remember talking to Tim about the physics and the types of things that had to have been made for this system to exist from that era. That depth of thought that has to go into that even for a video game is astounding. We wanted to make it feel real. We can do that because we have a lot of really strong leads of different disciplines and backgrounds in terms of making games and through their collaborative effort, we’re able to do that.
Matthew:And luckily with Tim and Leonard’s background of generating IPs they have a lot of experience about the thought and how much goes into creating a whole new IP from scratch so that we can address all those concerns and come up with a cohesive new experience for players.
MMO: Was there one thing while working on this that you said to yourself, people are going to love this this?
Matthew: I don’t know if there was ever just one thing for me. There were a lot of things that resonated. A lot of the concept art has struck a chord with me. I wanted to print up some of it to put on my wall. There were a few times I had to run over to the concept artists and was like “Who made this? Because this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” There were a lot of those moments on this project.
Charles: As an RPG company we always like playing with things. One of the new systems we put into this game is the Flaw system. That’s a really neat new thing that we’re doing where over the course of the game it’s kind of monitoring what you’re doing and will give you an opportunity at certain points. Say you’ve been fighting robots a lot and you’ve taken a lot of damage, so it’ll be like hey you’ve been fighting these guys a lot and been taking a lot of damage, maybe you want to be afraid of robots? It offers you a flaw of Robophobia and you get an opportunity where you can weigh that in your mind and you can take this flaw to get another perk point to bolster your character. But you’re taking an actual flaw that will hinder you in those battles.
Matthew: It helps define your character a little bit. In our play tests we’ve sort of noticed that it makes the person playing the game trying to stay away from those fears.
Charles: we’re always trying to take opportunities in roleplaying to build out your character. And that’s just one example, there’s lots in this game. But that is one that I think will set us apart, make for an interesting choice for the player.
MMO: Any last words for everyone reading?
Matthew: I think anyone that is an Obsidian fan will really enjoy this world. It’s something that I think a lot of people have been clamoring for from us. We have a pedigree with Tim and Leonard at the helm here. We get to finally make this kind of game that we've been wanting to make for a long time with the partnership with Private Division we’re getting the chance to make. If you like the style of classic RPG Obsidian experience that we tend to create, you're going to love The Outer Worlds.
Charles: I completely agree with what says right there. We’re using all t eh experience that we have. Tim and Leonard's experience with making games, Obsidian’s experience in making the games that we love to make and working with Private Division to work on this whole new IP that really focuses on all of our experience on what we’ve done before into a new single player role playing game experience.
Big thank you to Obsidian Entertainment for inviting us to visit them and taking the time to do this.