How Very BioWare

RPG fans, Obsidian fans, and Bethesda fans rejoiced at the announcement of The Outer Worlds at this year’s Game Awards. With Bethesda and BioWare out of the game, so to speak, games that emphasize player choice are few and far between; and, by extension, so are dynamic companions. But how dynamic are the NPCs in Obsidian’s latest venture?

According to narrative designer Kathryn Megan Starks, companions will leave if you piss them off. Throughout The Outer Worlds, players will cross paths with a variety of colorful characters, some of which will join you. But since this is an RPG where choice matters, the NPC’s attitude toward the player character can change, to the point of confrontation. Not only does this sound more complex than any Fallout experience, it sounds like a BioWare game. All that’s missing is some romance, but that won’t be an option. CD Projekt RED will fill that particular void, but I digress…


“We want [The Outer World’s] companions to really emphasize that they have stakes that are important to them,” Starks said, in an interview with RPG site. “They’ll ask you to help out on their quests and they’ll speak out against you if they don’t support what you’re doing, we want their motivations and goals to always be at the center of their character.”

The narrative designer expounded on Twitter: “Sorry if my answer was confusing. Just to clarify – there are some things you can do that will make a companion leave you, personal to that companion.”

As for how open the game will be, it seems we can expect a semi-open world experience. Whereas a game like Fallout offers unrestricted antics and explosions, some locations in The Outer Worlds will be quest-locked.

“I think it’s a bit of a mix, the director continued. “We wanted to provide a focused single-player story experience while leaving options open to explore the different environments. 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.”

In the vein of freedom, it seems every NPC in The Outer Worlds is killable. Sure, it makes the narrative work a bit more strenuous, but the devs really wanted to keep the role-playing aspects that make Obsidian such a renowned developer. “As a designer, I’m always tempted to just have it made so that you can’t kill this person or that person! But we have a philosophy where we feel like it makes for a better gameplay experience to allow the player to do these sorts of things. You can even kill the scientist if you want.”

In related news, the developer discussed why fans of their previous games would enjoy this particular sci-fi RPG. The Outer Worlds is scheduled for a 2019 release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.