Also, the joy of ‘dumb’ character options and flaws
The Outer Worlds is a fantastic late-2019 bloomer for multiple reasons. One, we finally got the Fallout game we’ve been waiting for since New Vegas. Two, it was accessible as hell thanks to the Xbox Game Pass system, putting it into the hands of a lot of people who otherwise never would have bought it amid a very busy season.
This success hasn’t gone to Obsidian Entertainment’s heads according to a new Game Informer magazine interview, which breaks down a few of the odder design choices that help make Outer Worlds tick. Apparently some folks have been comparing the game to Mass Effect (why? Because it’s sci-fi?), as well as the more obvious showdown of Fallout. In response, co-director Leonard Boyarsky retorts that “as long as they’re made favorably,” they’re great. Co-director Tim Cain agrees, though he notes that Outer Worlds is not exactly like those games.
True that, as the really weird Outer Worlds feel (coupled with a great eccentric script) is partially due to the “dumb” character option that alters the dialogue on top of the interesting flaw system (which hamstrings your character in exchange for a positive perk). Boyarsky chalks it up to being “silly” as a studio, and “fighting to the end” to get ideas like that in. That includes burdening the writers with coming up with actual dialogue for that concept, but Boyarsky says they were more than up to the task.
Similarly, the team notes that flaws help add another layer of difficulty on top of the default toggles. Boyarsky has a response for folks who say the game is “too easy” by default: “Did you take any flaws? The game could be a lot harder than what you’re playing! You’re choosing to make it easy.” As for the decision to make The Board (basically the corporate villains of the game) almost wholly evil, Boyarsky contends that it’s more exciting that way as it adds tension: though I’d argue that there’s plenty of grey area in-between that faction choice sandwich.
So how about a sequel? “We’ll have to wait and see on that” Boyarsky says. Obsidian already has a ton of ideas “[they’d] love to do,” but they have nothing to announce at this time. They are owned by Microsoft after all, and it would be a brilliant plan to hook everyone cross-platform with Outer Worlds then get them invested in Outer Worlds 2 exclusively on Xbox Series X.
The Outer Worlds [Game Informer Issue 321]