In the current climate of game development, the concept of a game releasing without microtransactions, a 40gb day-one patch and a myriad of bugs and glitches is nigh unheard. In 2019 alone, every major AA or AAA release has had at least one of the aforementioned features which are slowly becoming commonplace. Long-time veterans of game development and the RPG genre Obsidian Entertainment have defied all odds with their grand return to form with “The Outer Worlds.”
Obsidian is known for making classic role-playing games such as “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II,” “South Park: The Stick of Truth” and most notably “Fallout: New Vegas,” a game considered by many longtime fans the best in the series to date. Obsidian has proven their talent at game development since the core team created the original “Fallout” under the name Interplay. RPGs are Obsidian’s comfort zone and “The Outer Worlds” is the culmination of their many years of development experience and storytelling practice.
“The Outer Worlds” takes place in the distant future, where many new planets have been discovered and colonized by humanity. Each planet is governed by a different company, not a governmental system, and is differently affected by the side effects of unregulated laissez-faire capitalism. This is merely the setting for our character to be literally dropped into the game from space after cyro-stasis to embark on their journey.
Like any good RPG, player choice is what makes or breaks the game. Obsidian nails it here; the game features a multitude of gameplay options and a multi-layered branching narrative that implores the player to do repeat playthroughs with different character builds to experience the game fully. This game entices us to experiment with the environment and the characters within it to see what outcomes they can achieve and how they can affect the narrative and the world they’re playing in.
Like past Obsidian titles, dialogue is paramount to gameplay. Every encounter offers at least 7-10 dialogue options upon meeting someone, and it branches from there, allowing the player to truly add personality to their character. This an aspect many new RPGs fail at miserably. Obsidian is not just playing it safe, they have also refined and tuned out old mechanics that needed work in past games. The game uses the same gameplay mechanics as “Fallout: New Vegas” which will be easy for veteran players to use. Obsidian has gone back and reworked gunplay and melee combat to feel simple yet effective. It has never been a key focus of design but here it services the game perfectly.
Obsidian has created a game that is ready to go upon installation, no massive updates on day one, no microtransactions and no game-breaking bugs. With “The Outer Worlds,” Obsidian has set an example and shown the industry that not only is a story focused, single-player RPG with no monetary gimmicks doable in 2019, but highly desirable and fans will flock to it.