The Outer Worlds Preview: Strange Worlds in Strange Times

At E3 2019, we had the chance to see live gameplay from Obsidian's upcoming quirky sci-fi RPG.

The Outer Worlds is an upcoming sci-fi RPG published by Private Division and developed by Obsidian, the developers for Fallout: New Vegas, and including the creators of the original Fallout title.

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 on their journey.

Players will be able to completely customize how they want their character to be and develop a distinct personality through their various skills and stats, as well as choose two companions they want to recruit to journey alongside them.

For our live gameplay demonstration preview, we were shown a character with a leadership-type build, which helps make companions tougher and in turn boost the enhancements given to the player by their companions. The two companions beside the player were Nyoka, an alcoholic big game hunter who loves to fight against big hostile creatures, and Ellie (pictured above), a fast talking medic.

On the planet of Monarch, named after the corporation that took it over, first we were 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 the third was to use an back entrance to stealthily sneak around. The third option is what was chosen for this 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 messed 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 some fauna, we were shown some of the combat mechanics 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 these bandits, we were told that abilities recharge quickly for the next fight, as to not waste the players time with waiting.

As the player character made their way closer to the factory, a waterfall was seen, which contained the more secret entrance to the factory in the cave behind it, due to being connected to the sewer.

Once we got into the factory, we were greeted by a group of pigs covered in large tumors, known as Cysty Pigs, who 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 larger area was observed and contained both human employees and robots alike. An increased hacking skill can help with robot enemies, but this was not the method chosen.

Instead the player character lied through the PA system that employees 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 had finally reached Clive's "office" but he wanted to talk to them first before they disposed of him, so they heard him out.

While talking to this weirdly Borst-obsessed boss, a perception skill 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, as 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.


Writer pursuing a career in Games & Entertainment media. Specialties include cross examination of positive psychology with games and other media, coverage of non-Pokémon monster taming RPGs, indie game coverage, and coverage of various Japanese games.

Games The Outer Worlds Genres RPG Platforms PCPlaystation 4Xbox One Tags e3 2019
Published Jun. 14th 2019

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