The Outer Worlds is mere weeks away from release, but there's still plenty to learn about this upcoming RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, the makers of Divinity: Original Sin and the original Fallout games. The space western has all the makings of a GOTY contender with what we've seen so far and, in the absence of any truly jaw-dropping tittles as studios hold onto their cards for PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett, there's every chance it'll come out on top of that conversation.
Obsidian has pitched The Outer Worlds as the spiritual successor to its 2010 release, Fallout: New Vegas, which will come as sound news for those still feeling shortchanged by last year's Fallout 76. Promising a vast open world, deep role-playing systems, and bloody, fast-paced FPS gameplay, here's everything else you need to know about The Outer Worlds.
The Outer Worlds release date confirmed
While we originally thought The Outer Worlds release date would be August 6 due to a Steam store mishap, Xbox's press conference at E3 2019 revealed that we were oh so wrong. The release date has been confirmed for October 25, 2019, almost three months later than we expected.
We're not complaining too much mind, because it means the game should be more polished by the time it launches. And boy does it look incredible. Obsidian are famed for their fantastic RPG experiences and The Outer Worlds could be one of their best yet. It does come out on the same day as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, so you might need to take a good few days - or weeks - off work to get through them both.
The Outer Worlds is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, but will be an Epic store exclusive on PC
Back at E3 2018, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Obsidian Entertainment as a first party studio to develop exclusives on its platform, presumably for whatever console follows the Xbox One - currently codenamed Xbox Project Scarlett. So when the studio announced The Outer Worlds six months later, many naturally assumed the game wouldn’t be coming to PS4.
Luckily, Obsidian had been working on The Outer Worlds long before Microsoft came along with an offer it couldn’t refuse, ensuring that this particular title would remain multi-platform, with the four announced formats being PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
After initially being announced for Steam, Obsidian and Epic Games confirmed at GDC 2019 that the PC release of The Outer Worlds will be available for purchase exclusively through the Epic Games Store - the Fortnite studio's relatively new marketplace for digital PC titles - and the Windows Store. It'll be coming to "other digital platforms" on PC a year later.
The Outerwilds takes us to the edge of the galaxy
Prior to E3 2019, The Outer Worlds first reveal trailer did a good job of setting the tone and style of the game over the course of two and a half minutes. It sets up the basic premise of the story, which takes place in Halcyon, the furthest colony in the galaxy owned by corporations. We play as a customisable character who's lost in transit on a colonist ship. You awake decades later than you expected to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the colony. Interesting. You'll also encounter different factions around deep space who are vying for power.
The Outer Worlds gameplay trailer shows off player choice, combat, and companions
The latest trailer debuted at the Xbox E3 2019 showcase, and shows off just how much The Outer Wild hinges on player choice. Every decision you make is left entirely up to you in true RPG form. Will you be a force for good? Or will you just kill everyone for no reason? Whoever you decide to become will determine the fate of everyone in the colony. So, you know, choose wisely. Or don't. The trailer also shows off the first-person combat, as well as some weapons we'll get to wield when we face all those big colourful creatures and mechs with jet packs. In an interview with IGN, Obsidian co-director Leonard Boyarksy explained that there's "tactical time dilation" in combat, which gives off the slo-mo effect you can see for a moment in the trailer. Boyarksy said this is a direct result of being in cryosleep for so long, and it allows you to pin point weak spots on your enemies.
One of the most exciting aspects of Obsidian's RPG is the companions you'll be able to recruit during your deep space adventures. Of course, you can just shoot them too, but you know what they say - it's dangerous to go alone. Every companion has their own unique ability to help you in combat, and you can customise and kit them out however you want. Each companion is also said to have their companion missions, and can leave your side if they don't like what you're doing - not unlike Mass Effect or Dragon Age, expect you won't be able to romance them.
The Outer Worlds features a flaw system, perks, and skills
To give you the freedom to develop and customise your character in whatever way you like, The Outer Worlds features a selection of six skills including Charm, Intelligence, Dexterity, Strength, Perception, and Temperament. One example of how these skill choices effect your character comes from Boyarsky, who told IGN that if your intelligence is low enough, your character will have the option to choose "dumb" dialogue responses. There will also be a host of perks on offer to enhance certain aspects of your characters skill set.
And, interestingly, there's also a flaw system which offers you a negative trait that will debuff you as a result of a certain in-game experience. So if you were to take a large amount of damage from a particular enemy, for example, you could develop a phobia of that foe. The flaw will be presented to you after a particular event, and if you choose to take it, you'll also be given an additional perk to make up for it. But that debuff will stay with you for the rest of the game, so really you have to weigh up if an extra perk is worth the flaw. In the above gameplay walkthrough from Pax East 2019, you can get a good idea of just what the first-person combat is like, as well as see the dialogue in action during a questline.
The Outer Worlds is open world… sort of
Even though The Outer Worlds has been referred to as a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, don’t expect it to feature a full open world on the same scale. Instead, Obsidian has stated in an interview with RPGSite it will be made up of a series of large, explorable zones across the solar system, similar to something we experienced in the Borderlands games.
“We wanted to provide a focused single-player story experience while leaving options open to explore the different environments”, explained Senior Narrative Designer Megan Starks. “Once you get your ship, you'll have a lot of options to explore specific locations, with more opening up as you finish quests or purchase new passes in-game.”
And speaking of Borderlands, hoarders can rejoice, as The Outer Worlds will have plenty of loot to discover, customise, and equip to your heart’s content. Hurray for dopamine induced hits of unending gratification!
The lead developers of The Outer Worlds made the original Fallout
Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are two of the industry’s most prolific game developers, known for their work on Fallout, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, and - in the case of the latter - Diablo 3. Both joined Obsidian over the last few years, and The Outer Worlds is their first project with the studio as lead directors.
That’s a promising nugget of trivia to hold onto in anticipation of the game’s release, as it suggests that we could have another cult classic RPG on our hands. Nothing is certain, of course, but the breadth and wealth of the talent working behind The Outer Worlds is yet another indication of the game’s promise as a role-playing experience.
Watch Obsidian answer 131 questions about The Outer Worlds
As part of its cover feature month with Game Informer, The Outer World's creative directors Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky sat down to answer 131 quick fire questions about Obsidian's next big RPG, right down the nitty gritty of frame rate and mod support. You can watch the whole thing above, and I'd recommend you do so since, as you can imagine, it covers a whole lot of topics, and gives you a good idea of the kind of thing that Obsidian is going for with The Outer Worlds.
For more about all the new games of 2019 on the horizon, check out our official guide to the ones you should be watching out for.