The Outer Worlds is a single-player sci-fi role-playing video game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Private Division. It was released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (Game Pass) on October 25, 2019. The Nintendo Switch version was released on June 5, 2020. A DLC called Peril on Gorgon was released on September 9, 2020. A second DLC, Murder on Eridanos, was released on March 17, 2021.
Development on Outer Worlds began sometime prior to Microsoft's acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment in 2018; Private Division had also managed to secure publishing rights before the buyout.
The game was released on the Epic Store, Windows 10 store, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (as well as Xbox Game Pass) on October 25, 2019, with the Steam release to follow in 2020. A Nintendo Switch version was also released on June 5, 2020..
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Story and setting
The Outer Worlds is set in an alternate timeline, with the point of divergence beginning when United States President William McKinley was not assassinated by an anarchist in 1901. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded McKinley as President and large business trusts were never broken up, leading to a hyper-corporate, class centric society dominated by the power of mega-corporations and robber barons, which by the distant future, have begun to colonize space. The game takes place in the year 2355 in the Halcyon System.
The Stranger, also known as "the unknown variable", is a passenger aboard the colony ship Hope, which is bound for the distant Halcyon system, wholly owned and operated by corporations. During its journey, the ship's skip drive malfunctions and it is forced to continue using its sublight engines, extending the trip from ten years to sixty. Since Halcyon was colonized through other means, the Hope is unexpectedly found adrift with its colonists unable to be revived and the Halcyon Holdings Corporate Board decided to abandon the colonists. The Hope is moved into orbit over the ice planet Typhon and its existence covered up.
Thirty-five years later, the colony is in fact on the verge of complete collapse. Despite the assurances of the Board, life in the colony is far from perfect. The main problem being slow and subtle starvation of the entire population due to Earth food being too low in nutrients.
To counter this, the Board commissioned their chief scientists to develop any means necessary, such as powerful appetite suppressant, derived from raptidons. This suppressant was supposed to be used in a form of tooth paste and would allegedly allow to reduce the amount of resources that people consume, thus winning time form the scientists to devise a more permanent solution.
To make matters worse, malnutrition caused a new disease, commonly known as the plague, to spread among the citizens of the Spacer's Choice-owned town of Edgewater. With the only food source within the town's walls being the locally-produced canned saltuna, the population started to develop symptoms of the plague. However, those who chose to leave the town and became Deserters, lead by a woman named Adelaide McDevitt, found a way to grow crops on Terra 2's soil using ground-up human remains as fertilizer, and discovered a way to fight the disease. Alas, the animosity between Edgewater and the Deserters prevented the cure from being spread among the town's population.
Another problem for the Board was their first failed colonization attempt on the planet Terra 1, now known as Monarch. With the terraforming process triggering uncontrolled mutations in the local flora and fauna, the Board was forced to abandon the planet, leaving it a lawless and dangerous place where only criminals and monsters dwelled.
However, one corporation took advantage of the chaos and remained on Monarch, re-branding themselves as Monarch Stellar Industries. This corporation, mainly their CEO Sanjar Nandi, was trying to recover their place in the Board by implicating another company in their illicit activities on the planet declared off limits by the Board. The Stranger can either help MSI regain their strength or unite with the semi-anarchist organization, the Iconoclasts.
A rogue scientist named Phineas Vernon Welles discovers the Hope, rescuing the Stranger from the Hope and sending them to Terra 2. The Stranger takes command of the ship Unreliable and soon becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy that threatens to destroy the Halcyon colony.
The Board, knowing it could never sustain the population and maintain their power in the current situation, decided to implement a Lifetime Employment Program. Advertised as beneficial to all citizens, it was in reality a contingency plan in order to save the Board and corporations from annihilation.
The key idea behind the plan was to put the majority of workers into stasis to drastically reduce the population and relieve strain on the dwindling resources. However, since long term stasis would definitely mean certain death to anyone in the cryopods without special chemicals to revive them, the plan was to simply kill off extra people.
The Stranger's actions and choices will determine the future of the colony and its people.
Character creation and leveling
The Stranger can be customized to the player's preferences, both genetically and physically. Initial character creation is handled by an in-game event, where the Stranger's sex and appearance are defined alongside the basic designation of attributes and skills as well as aptitude.
Appearance options include:
- Face: head, skin tone, eye color, brow, eye, jaw, mouth, nose, and cheeks
- Hair: style, color, eyebrow, facial hair and color
- Features: makeup, dirt, scar, age
Over the course of the game, the Stranger will procure experience points that can be used to level up your skills. A combination of leveling character skills and obtaining Flaws will eventually result in Perks relating to said skills.
As the Stranger's experience progresses, they will level up. However, there is a level cap of 30. There is a bench on the Unreliable above the workbench that allows you to re-specialize your character at the cost of bits.
The Outer Worlds is a first-person shooter with RPG elements. Players are given an ability called "tactical time dilation" which allows the player to slow down time in-game and do increased damage.
A pacifist path was planned and designed for the game, however, due to the bugs introduced, (specifically around quest handling,) many elements have been stripped out to ensure the game is playable and production is to schedule. It has been confirmed that a pacifist run isn't necessarily impossible as a playtester has managed to complete an almost pacifistic run.
There is also an option to kill all NPCs met in the game.
Throughout the player's journey, they will meet various NPCs that can accompany them. The player character will be able to travel with up to two companions at once. Actions undertaken by the player will also directly affect what companions think of them to the point where they may even abandon the player entirely. Companions have their own quest lines and can also help the player in certain conversations.
- IGN: The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon DLC Announced, Coming in September
- Eurogamer 26 June 2019
- Gamesradar 05 August 2019
- Metascore for The Outer Worlds on PCMetacritic, Retrieved February 27, 2020
- Metascore for The Outer Worlds on PS4Metacritic, Retrieved February 27, 2020
- Metascore for The Outer Worlds on Xbox OneMetacritic, Retrieved February 27, 2020