The Outer Worlds managed to illicit a ton of fan excitement when Obsidian announced the stylish new open-world RPG last year. The theme and setting of a revitalized Obsidian RPG is already appealing enough, but the tone of the game really started to draw people in. In short, it’s probably the most hilariously bleak RPG you will ever play.
The Outer Worlds is the realization of years of effort on the part of legendary developer Obsidian Entertainment. Being billed as the spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, it isn’t just a rehash of the idea, but rather a refinement of the concept into a scalpel that cuts to the heart of modern capitalism. You think we’re in late stage Capitalism, well The Outer Worlds is like the final boss of Capitalism.
The story of the game is a far-flung future where corporations control every aspect of life beyond Earth, and through rampant greed and corruption, have managed to completely morph the culture of space colonies into twisted and sickening representations of the worst of Capitalism. In essence, this game is a giant middle finger to not just the machinery of greed and exploitation turned up to 11, but also a giant screaming fit aimed at the AAA industry. I won’t delve too deeply, but the short version is that Obsidian was perpetually screwed over and nearly destroyed by greed of some AAA publishers, they have pretty good reason to be fed up.
And with this new game, the same message of being fed up with the daily grind we all face is being projected out into the world. The whole theme is rung by this hunger for revenge. Do you want to be that force that stalks the stars, exacting the pound of flesh that the greedy have stolen? Or will you become their pawn, allowing yourself to become an instrument of power? This dichotomy contains a moral quandary at its core, namely asking how much is too much. To exact revolutionary change, how many are you willing to kill? How much of the infrastructure that keeps the system going are you willing to decimate? This issue and how it’s confronted is at the core of revolutionary politics, and to see it represented in gaming is refreshing and increasingly necessary in modern times. But hang on, because the game will fight you every step of the way.
Depending on how you play, various things change around you. One feature recently revealed is that the loading scree art will change to reflect the public perception of your actions.
“It came together when we decided that it was told from the Board’s [the corporate ruling body in The Outer Worlds] point of view. These are from Board-operated newspapers and periodicals,” a recent interview revealed. “If you’re doing stuff the Board approves of, you’re a hero. If you’re doing anti-Board stuff, it’s an ‘evil, mysterious stranger plotting against us’ kind of thing.”
This feature was revealed to GameInformer in a recent interview. Daniel Alpert, the Art Lead on The Outer Worlds said this is just one of many subtle changes that the game makes to the worlds around you as you try to make sense of it all and find your place. Depending on which side you choose, the character of these elements is embellished in one direction or the other, painting you as either a terror or savior. But like everything else in the game it’s all steeped in a layer of corporate propaganda, which is extremely fitting.
“As you play through, you affect story events. You get these loading screens that are like newspaper-printed images of things the player has done,” he told GameInformer. “In a single playthrough, you can’t get all the newspaper images.”
The Outer Worlds is poised to launch for PC, PS4, and Xbox One later this year. You can see some preview of these images, as well some in-game assets, down below.