Obsidian pulled the curtain from The Outer Worlds, a new first-person RPG designed by Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky. If you're unfamiliar, those two designed the original Fallout and Fallout 2 games back when they were both isometric RPGs. They're back with a new sci-fi RPG that seems to be everything that Fallout 76 isn't.
Dialogue trees, companion NPCs, and a delirious world that mixes outer space with the crippling universal constant of mega corporations. The Outer Worlds is very much a spiritual successor to Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas as the trailer will be quick to point out. Previews for what looks like guided gameplay portions of The Outer World were published overnight after The Game Awards and we picked out a few interesting details that caught our eye.
Cain and Boyarsky told Polygon that Romances will not be in The Outer Worlds. "Other people have explored the romance angle in different ways," Boyarsky said. "We felt like sometimes it kind of waters down your roleplaying for your character because it turns into this mini game of how do I seduce this companion or that companion. So it was just one of the things we felt wasn't really what we wanted to focus our time on."
Instead, Obsidian is working on a robust companion system that gives them personality, skills, and also a bit of their own agency. If a companion doesn't like what you're doing they'll kick up some dust and go back to the ship, though you can always try to convince them to tag along with you anyways (presumably if you have the right skills and stats).
You can reject storylines early on
Obsidian prides itself on player freedom letting players create a character they want. In the Outer Worlds that development happens early on when the player gets saved from an extended cryosleep by a scientist. This scientist needs your help to save the other space colonists oppressed by the various mega corps, but you can choose to betray him and turn him into the same companies from the get go.
"You can effectively play the game any way you choose. You can be the hero. You can be anti-hero. You can be a full-on mercenary. You can be a psychopathic killer," Boyarsky says.
You can be dumb as hell
In a little note from PC Gamer, players can build a "dumb" character by choosing the [dumb] responses when talking to NPCs. They'll react "appropriately" according to the preview and I imagine whatever happens, it's going to be a silly time wandering the universe and trying to save it while being an idiot.
There's a special perk system that makes you weaker
Okay, so like any good RPG players can build skills and perks, but Obsidian devised a unique system called "Flaw" which actually makes you weaker depending on your habits in the game. Say you've been hurt by an enemy called Raptidons one too many times. You can develop Ratiphobia which actually makes you weaker against that enemy, but in exchange you'll earn an extra perk immediately. Flaws include fear of heights, fear of the dark, and even a fear of robots.
There is some kind of VATS-like system
It won't be the same as what's in Bethesda's Fallout games which showcase zoomed-in killshots. That's just one aspect of the combat in The Outer Worlds which includes companions who fight with special, individual skills, and weapons that range from standard sci-fi fare to silly mad scientist-esque doom weapons.
The Outer Worlds announcement is coming off the heels of Bethesda's multiplayer experiment with Fallout 76 in a move that seems diabolically calculated. But it's hard to argue how mouth-wateringly tantalizing a robust single-player RPG with NPCs and dialogue trees is after spending a month looking at in-game screens and listening to sad recordings. We expect to see even more of The Outer Worlds in the coming months.
The Outer Worlds is slated to release in 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.