The Outer Worlds E3 2019 Preview: Strange Worlds in Strange Times
The Outer Worlds is an upcoming sci-fi RPG published by Private Division and developed by Obsidian, the developers of Fallout: New Vegas. It includes the creators of the original Fallout.
In The Outer Worlds, players take control of their own created character who was lost in transit while on their way to the furthest edge of the galaxy only to awake decades later than planned in a colonized part of the galaxy known as Halcyon.
While in Halcyon, players encounter a variety of power-hungry factions, and they begin to unravel a conspiracy which threatens to destroy all of Halcyon.
Players will be able to completely customize their character and develop a distinct personality through their various skills and stats. They will also be able to recruit two companions to journey alongside them.
For our live gameplay demonstration preview at E3 2019, we were shown a character with a leadership-type build, which helps make companions tougher and in turn, boosts the enhancements given to the player by their companions.
The two companions we saw were Nyoka, an alcoholic big game hunter who loves to fight big, hostile creatures, and Ellie (pictured above), a fast-talking medic.
On the planet Monarch, named after the corporation that took it over, we were first taken to the town of Fallbrook to talk to Catherine Malin, the leader of the Sublight Corporation. This is where we learned that players can have several different dialogue options depending on their stats, such as charm and intimidate, and certain options will still be shown even if the specific stat isn't quite high enough. Companions can also help boost these stats when needed.
The player was given a mission to ruin Clive Lumbergh, the head of the Monarch Corporation, and was given several different options to be used at their leisure. The first was to go in guns blazing and just take down everything in sight until they got to Clive; the second was to use a disguise to get into the factory and take the stealthier approach; and the third was to use a back entrance to sneak around.
The third option is what was chosen for the demo playthrough.
On the way to the factory, we learned about the weapons currently equipped to the player character, which included a Dead Eye Sniper with modified accuracy, a heavy machine gun modified with shock damage to help take down robots, and a blade for close-quarters combat.
We also saw some strange looking wildlife that at the time, was not to be interacted with as they were a bit tough thanks to the events that transpired when the planet was first terraformed by the Monarch Corporation.
After quickly observing the fauna, we were shown some of the combat mechanics players can employ when encountering a group of bandits.
As a side effect of hibernation sickness, the player character has an ability known as tactical time dilation, which will slow down time when staying still and focusing on an enemy. Focusing on an enemy when using this ability will scan them and show information about them, including location-based hits that will have different effects, such as stunning or disarming enemies.
After making some quick work of the bandits, we were told that abilities recharge quickly for the next fight, as to not waste the player's time with waiting.
As the player character made their way closer to the factory, a waterfall was seen, which contained the secret entrance to the factory in the cave behind it.
Once we got into the factory through the sewer behind the waterfall, we were greeted by a group of pigs covered in large tumors, known as Cysty Pigs. these were the factory's main source for their food product Borst, which these tumors were filled with. There was an option to overfeed the Cysty Pigs and force the factory to shut down, but a slightly different approach.
After sneaking past a couple of guards, the player entered a larger area that contained both human employees and robots alike. A higher hacking skill can help with robot enemies, but this was not the method chosen by the developers during the demo.
Instead, the player character used the PA system to tell employees that they had been invited to dinner by the fictional King of Borst himself, which was so ridiculous it caused a mass walkout of employees, leaving only the robot enemies to deal with. We were also told that low intelligence characters have "dumb" response choices, which may not always help but often have quite humorous outcomes.
After sneaking past some robots and switching to the blade weapon, the player character finally reached Clive's "office," but of course, he wanted to talk things through before losing his head.
While talking to this weirdly Borst-obsessed boss, a perception-based dialogue option popped up due to his blood-spattered outfit and eventually, he told us that if we killed Catherine Malin instead, he could give us a lifetime supply of Borst.
One of the companions quickly offered their thoughts on the matter, and then the choice was given to either kill Clive, kill Catherine, or try to convince them to work together instead. The outcome was unknown, however; this is where our demonstration ended.
Overall, The Outer Worlds seems like it will be a strange yet fulfilling experience. While the skill-based dialogue options are somewhat reminiscent of Fallout series, which might be expected from former developers making it, the setting, wildlife, weirder characters, and more vibrant and colorful visuals help differentiate it from it's gloomier predecessors.
Whether you're a fan of Obsidian's previous work, or the concept itself has just piqued your interest, The Outer Worlds will likely provide a weird but worthwhile sci-fi RPG experience.
The Outer Worlds launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25, 2019. It will also be available via Xbox Game Pass.