Avowed is a brand new fantasy RPG from Obsidian, the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas, and The Outer Worlds. Announced in July last year, this is an Xbox and PC exclusive that will launch on Game Pass when it eventually arrives. It's set in the same universe as 2015's Pillars of Eternity, which focused on a group of people born without souls, and Watchers, who could see past lives.
Obsidian was acquired by Xbox Game Studios in 2018, so it's no surprise that the game is slated for release on Xbox Series X and PC only, and will be part of Xbox Game Pass. We don't know when that release will be yet, but our sixth sense is tingling that we might get more news on that during E3 2021 season this summer. For everything we do know about Avowed so far, keep reading.
What is Avowed?
Avowed is a new IP from Obsidian, revealed during the July 2021 Xbox Games Showcase. It appears to be a first-person RPG similar to Skyrim, with rune-based magic powers and sword combat confirmed by the short teaser trailer. It's set in the land of Eora, the same setting Obsidian used for its RPG Pillars of Eternity.
Job listings found in September of 2019 for Obsidian’s next AAA project talked about "combat actions utilising both first and third-person animations," with "branching dialogue" and "day/night cycles". This puts the game in league with Obsidian’s former RPGs such as The Outer Worlds and Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords.
Avowed release date and platforms
We’re yet to hear about a potential release date for Avowed - we imagine it is under heavy development right now, meaning a release date may be a long way off yet. Microsoft acquired Obsidian Entertainment back in 2018, meaning that this game will almost certainly be an Xbox exclusive, available on Xbox Series X and PC. The game does not list Xbox One as one of its platforms on the game’s store page, which lets us know that this game will not be a cross-gen title. Avowed will also be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch, like the rest of Microsoft’s first-party titles going forward.
Avowed trailer - What can we learn?
The very first Avowed trailer showcased at the recent Xbox event introduces us to a varied medieval landscape, starting in a war-torn castle owned by an empire of queens and kings “that has always known war”. According to the narration, this empire has now fallen into a state of disrepair, losing its oaths and giving rise to an unseen antagonistic force.
The game’s villainous monsters (skeletons are confirmed!) were apparently born of the sins of this empire, and the player character will face them over the course of the game. The question left by the end of the trailer - “Is an oath worth the weight of a crown?” - suggests that the player’s destiny may be that of royalty, and they might have to confront and question their fate as they rebuild the fallen empire.
Avowed setting explained
One of the details we do know about Avowed is that it’s set in the fantasy world of Eora, which is the world upon which Pillars of Eternity is set. Pillars of Eternity is another RPG franchise from Obsidian, though it is a more traditional isometric party-based game, billed as a spiritual successor to titles like Baldur’s Gate and the Planescape series.
Pillars of Eternity received a sequel in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire in 2018, which further developed the lore of Eora. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check the franchise out if you’re excited about Avowed, so you can ground yourself in the lore of this fantasy world.
Sleuths on Reddit have found some small tidbits that give us a better idea of the premise behind Avowed. According to this post, the flag seen in the Avowed trailer is related to Woedica, a deity also known as “Oathbinder” who shaped Eora but was killed by the other gods who conspired against her for being too powerful.
Woedica is one of the faiths held by the Aedyr Empire, a nation within the world of Eora that may be where the game takes place. The story of Woedica lines up with the narrative of the trailer, where the protagonist is confronting a destiny of broken oaths, a fallen empire, and potential royalty.
Interestingly enough, the translated Aedyran runes on the sword seen in the trailer spit out “Oathbinder,” according to this Reddit post.
The fact that the combat is sword and magic-based suggests it may be a medieval prequel to Pillars of Eternity, which includes more renaissance modes of combat such as flintlock pistols and crossbows.
While details from Obsidian and Microsoft on Avowed have been scarce, there has been one interesting leak that gained some traction on ResetEra in late July.
User Sponger posted a number of bold claims about Avowed that we’re going to sum up below. Just make sure you take this with a heavy pinch of salt, as without corroboration these claims are unsubstantiated. Good food for thought, regardless!
According to Sponger, the game will be fully open-world and “much larger than Skyrim.” The leaker says the game will be set in The Living Lands of Eora, and feature a real-time weather system, as well as mod support.
Players will apparently be able to have companions, fight “very large” bosses, and deal with gods while fighting against the “incoming threat of tyranny” which frames the narrative. The dialogue will also supposedly be dynamic, and the leaker claims Obsidian is planning to allow players the ability to “kill everyone in the game.“
Sponger claims that as of July 2020, the game has been in development for two years and seven months, with “around 100 people” working on it with scope to grow. The final claim is that the developers are targeting late 2022 - early 2023 as a potential release window for the game. Again, none of this should be taken at face value - we can’t confirm or deny these leaks, and Obsidian has not revealed enough about Avowed to corroborate any of these claims.