The Intrigue of The Outer Worlds


The folks at Obsidian Entertainment, including the original creators of Fallout and developers of Fallout: New Vegas (which they’re apparently very keen on letting you know) announced their next project at this year’s Game Awards - The Outer Worlds. I think the trailer for the single-player RPG, in development since 2016, stole the show for many viewers, particularly those yearning for a more traditional Fallout experience in the disastrous wake of Fallout 76. While the details for The Outer Worlds are still emerging, there are plenty of things for players to get excited about.

It kind of looks like  Fallout  and  Borderlands  had a baby.

It kind of looks like Fallout and Borderlands had a baby.

At the moment, Obsidian might be well-known for top-down, isometric gameplay (Pillars of Eternity), but The Outer Worlds will be a more standard first-person, 3D gaming experience. The graphics aren’t exactly jaw-dropping, but the game has a colorful, retro-future aesthetic, obviously very reminiscent of the Fallout world, yet distinct enough to feel unique. The intricacies of combat have yet to be disclosed, but it seems fairly similar to Fallout: New Vegas; players can choose between a variety of melee weapons or guns. How they choose to approach hostile situations will be up to the player as well: do you prefer stealth or to barge in with guns blazing?

Unlike Fallout: New Vegas, you’ll have a party of NPCs to accompany you on your adventures in The Outer Worlds. We don’t know how many party members you can have or how you’ll be able to control them in combat, but according to Game Informer, you won’t be able to form romantic relationships with them like you can in many other role-playing games. Companion NPCs tend to be some of my favorite aspects of a lot of RPGs (Dragon Age and Final Fantasy instantly come to mind), so I’m eagerly looking forward to more details on these characters and how they fit into the story.

Speaking of the story, The Outer Worlds’ premise is so familiar it may as well be a trope. Humanity has migrated to the frontier of space, and you, the player, must contend with the hostile alien wildlife, bandits, and greedy corporations to survive. If you’re experiencing deja vu, it’s probably because you’ve played Borderlands, or Mass Effect, or Destiny, or… well, you probably get the picture. The Outer Worlds is really going to have to work hard to differentiate its narrative from the other numerous titles in the genre. It’s clear from the trailer that one way they plan on accomplishing this is through humor, as it features a tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, but topping Borderlands in this area is a tall order indeed.

The various dialogue options allow for plenty of opportunity to role-play.

The various dialogue options allow for plenty of opportunity to role-play.

Another way The Outer Worlds can stand out from the pack is in its RPG gameplay. The titles mentioned above all contain RPG elements, but they all sacrificed some of the classic RPG minutiae for a more streamlined experience. The Outer Worlds will have tons of dialogue options, character perks and fears, and the varied approach to combat as mentioned above to provide that deep customization that RPG fans crave. Hopefully things like skill checks, factions, and karma that we’ve seen in the Fallout series will be present in The Outer Worlds in some capacity as well.

All in all, The Outer Worlds definitely is going to be one to watch. For the numerous Fallout fans who have been clamoring for another game in the vein of Fallout: New Vegas, it looks like their prayers have finally been answered.

The Outer Worlds comes out in 2019 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.