×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Outer Worlds release date, trailer, gameplay and multiplayer

From the creators of fan favorites Fallout: New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 comes The Outer Worlds. Touted as a sci-fi shooter with sardonic wit, this single-player RPG takes place in an alternative version of the future where mega-corporations have taken control and continue to colonize new planets across the galaxy. Playing as the Stranger, you are given complete autonomy to explore and fight where and who you want. 

Obsidian Entertainment has already released quite a bit of gameplay showing off the different weapons and enemies you can come across throughout The Outer Worlds. They have also made it clear that the game will focus heavily on roleplaying, allowing players to fully customize their character's appearance and stats. The storyline will even evolve based on your actions, leading to a number of different potential endings. Although The Outer Worlds will not be available for purchase until October, it has already generated a lot of attention from gaming publications and industry critics. Here's everything you need to know about Obsidian's sci-fi opus.

The release date for The Outer Worlds

Due to a mistake on The Outer Worlds Steam page back in February, fans along with gaming news sites mistakenly assumed that the game would be released on Aug. 6. Obsidian set the record straight at Microsoft's E3 2019 briefing, announcing that the sci-fi RPG shooter would actually be released on Oct. 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Fans, however, were upset to learn that The Outer Worlds would initially be released as an Epic Games Store exclusive. Although the game will eventually be available for purchase on Steam, the Steam community will have to wait a full year after launch. Chris Avellone, a former Obsidian writer and founder, even tweeted about his own gripes with the exclusivity deal. "It's how you kill the best hype you could have for a game (possibly best hype for any of the studio's game, ever), then undermine it for a cash grab."

The Outer Worlds trailer

So far, two different trailers have been released. The first was the official announcement trailer, which sought to introduce the premise and overall tone of the game. The second trailer, a gameplay reveal, was showcased during Microsoft's E3 2019 briefing and offered more insight into the setting and decision-based storyline. The gameplay release trailer also delved deeper into The Outer Worlds' lore. It touched upon not only the setting of Halcyon, the furthest colony in the galaxy, but also the Board. The Board is a collection of powerful corporations who own and operate the entire colony of Halcyon. However, a stranger arrives to shake up the existing power structure.

This is where your decision making comes into play. As the gameplay trailer says itself, you have the potential to be whoever you want, "a villain or a hero … or a psychopath." Players are given complete freedom to shape how their character will turn out. The trailer also showed off weapons, melee combat, and the Tactical Time Dilation ability in action.

The weight of your decisions

Reminiscent of Fallout: New Vegas, your Outer Worlds experience depends entirely on the choices your character makes. A multitude of dialogue options is available when you interact with NPCs, which can change the storyline. Some of these dialogue options can only be selected with certain character builds and companion attributes. But dialogue isn't the only way to change how the story flows. Every little decision, from how you choose to complete missions to what clothes you decide to wear, can have some type of effect.

The main storyline also has a variety of different endings hinging on your actions as you progress through the game. The outcome of the story depends on which factions you decide to ally with. You can help the rebellious Phineas Wells try and dismantle the corporations or you can join the Board and advance their agenda. If you are more of a loner, you can actually try and double cross both the Board and Phineas Wells. According to Obsidian Entertainment senior narrative designer Megan Starks, you can even "end up being the antagonist of the game, based on your choices."

Gameplay in The Outer Worlds

Even though The Outer Worlds won't be available to purchase until October, Obsidian Entertainment met with a representative from Game Informer and allowed them to release ten minutes of gameplay footage in December. From their visit, Game Informer learned some new details about The Outer Worlds, such as the fact that companions can give out special quests. Game Informer also discovered a bit more about melee combat. Apparently melee attacks deal more physical damage than ranged weapons. Melee characters also perform a wide sweeping motion when attacking, which means they can hit multiple enemies in one swing.

More gameplay footage was shown off during PAX East 2019. This footage showcased some of the science weapons that can be found in The Outer Worlds such as the shrink ray and the mandibular rearranger. At E3 they went on to reveal a full 40 minutes of gameplay showcasing the games holographic disguise system, inventory, and various skills. The holographic shroud is one of the most intriguing features coming to The Outer Worlds, which allows players to trick enemies and talk their way through sticky situations.

Companions

According to Obsidian, they are developing an entirely new system for tailoring character builds. Instead of relying solely on individual skill points, this new concept also takes into account the abilities your companions possess. For example, if you are traveling with a proficient medic, you will gain some healing skills. If you are teamed up with a hunter, you could gain some stealth and weapon perks. If one of your companions has a silver tongue, then your ability to lie will be boosted. 

Besides tweaking your skills, companions will also increase the player's own inventory space. Companions also come with special abilities that can be unlocked by putting points into leadership. From the inside look at The Outer Worlds that Obsidian offered at E3, we know that players can actually travel with two companions at once. From Game Informer's discussion with Obsidian, we also know that you can complete companion missions that change those characters. Game Informer also learned that there will not be any kind of romance quests involving your followers.

No multiplayer for The Outer Worlds

For a while there it seemed like single-player games were going out of fashion. With incredibly popular multiplayer battle royale-style games like Fortnite and Apex Legends boasting millions of players, other developers started to follow suit. Games traditionally known for their single-player campaigns, such as Call of Duty, leaned into the online multiplayer wave as Treyarch stated that its newest Call of Duty title would not include a single-player campaign. Even the long-standing single-player franchise Fallout took a shot at online multiplayer with Fallout 76, which now includes a battle royale mode.

However, in the last couple of years, single-player games have been making a bit of a comeback. Games like God of War and Marvel's Spider-Man proved that solo adventures can still be widely successful in today's gaming climate.

Drawing inspiration from their previous title Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian has already assured fans that they will not be including any form of online multiplayer. Since the developer is focused on providing an RPG story-driven experience, The Outer Worlds will be single-player only.

Why you should trust Obsidian to deliver

Obsidian Entertainment have proven themselves by continuing to put out quality games that resonate with fans while navigating the volatile industry of video game development. Founded by a small group of former Black Isle Studios employees in 2003, Obsidian started out developing sequels based on licensed properties, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords and Neverwinter Nights 2. They went on to release a wide range of successful titles, such as South Park: The Stick of Truth, Fallout: New Vegas, and their first original IP, Alpha Protocol

Obsidian even gained so much goodwill with fans that they managed to crowdfund their own series, Pillars of Eternity, on Kickstarter in 2012. Critics were so impressed by Obsidian's past titles that several of their games went on to win critical awards. The first Pillars of Eternity game took Best RPG at The Game Awards in 2015. Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth also won the award for Best RPG at the Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 in 2010 and in 2012 respectively. 

What we know about the main storyline so far

The Outer Worlds takes place in the Halcyon colony, which is owned and operated by corporations. The game is set in an alternate timeline, the key difference being that US President William McKinley was never assassinated. This means that Theodore Roosevelt never became president, and therefore large business trusts were never broken up. This led to a classist society controlled by mega-corporations who ravenously colonize new planets. 

You play as the Stranger, one of the many people originally selected to colonize Halcyon. However, it turns out your ship was knocked off course and you arrive over 70 years later than planned. The Stranger is rescued from cryogenic hibernation by scientist Phineas Wells, who wants your help bringing down corporate rule. Although the main storyline will have a number of potential endings depending on your actions, whether you decide to align with either Phineas or the Board will set your character on one of two basic paths.

Tactical Time Dilation

Similar to the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System known as VATS from the Fallout series, the Stranger will be able to use their own unique ability while fighting enemies in The Outer Worlds. This combat feature is called Tactical Time Dilation, and should help less accurate players with their aim. As the name implies, this ability allows the Stranger to slow down time in order to dodge projectiles and land more precise attacks. Apparently, Tactical Time Dilation is a side effect of the hibernation sickness that the Stranger suffers from after being frozen for so long. 

It turns out the ability can also be used to gain more tactical information about your foes. Players can use TTD to find weak points on enemies and even discover their favorite foods. While figuring out where to hit foes in order to cause the most damage will surely prove useful in battle, it is unclear what role learning about their favorite snacks will play. Some video game publications are speculating that this knowledge could help players poison their enemies or pass certain speech checks, but we will have to wait until the game releases to find out.

Different types of enemies

From the gameplay that has been released so far, it is clear that The Outer Worlds contains a variety of different enemies. Many of these enemies, such as Marauders and Outlaws, are humans foes. Other opponents, like the Malfunctioning Guardian MK1 and Malfunctioning Sentry MK2, will be robotic. Each area you explore will also be inhabited by a wide range of deadly wildlife, such as the Raptidon or Canids.

Players can choose to develop flaws after fighting a certain type of enemy enough times or almost being fatally wounded. Some fears, like Raptiphobia and Robophobia, make your attacks less effective against particular opponents. Other flaws, such as a fear of heights or the dark, will make your character more vulnerable under specific circumstances. Although these flaws apply permanent negative attributes to your character, they grant an immediate perk point to even things out. There are about two dozen various flaws players can choose from, but they are limited to how many they can take depending on the difficulty setting. Players are allowed three different flaws on normal difficulty, four on hard, and five on the most challenging setting.

Character creation and skills

Obsidian Entertainment is truly embracing the roleplaying aspect of The Outer Worlds. The Stranger can be customized "both genetically and physically" to suit the player's preferences during an initial in-game event. This includes your character's sex and appearance as well as basic attributes and skills. As players level up, they gain experience points that can be used to increase whichever skills they prefer. 

For example you can put your points towards Dialogue or Lockpicking skills if you prefer to avoid fights, or focus on technical skills such as Science and Engineering to improve your equipment. Science can be used to make your weapons and armor more powerful while Engineering allows you to customize your weapons and armor to suit your specific play style. Some other skills we have heard about so far include Medical, Endurance, Sneaking, and Leadership. Another important detail about the skill system in The Outer Worlds is that players are rewarded the more they focus on each skill. For every 20 points spent on improving a specific skill you will unlock a new perk.

Unique weapons

Even though The Outer Worlds provides players with a wide variety of different science-fiction weapons to choose from, such as plasma rifles and inferno scythes, Obsidian has also included unique weapons in the game known as science weapons. During an exclusive interview with Game Informer, The Outer Worlds co-director Tim Cain explained how the science weapons are designed to have "inexplicable effects that we thought would be funny, and we didn't care in any way if they were realistic."

As of right now, there are five science weapons that can be found in the game, each one falling under a different category: light melee, heavy melee, handgun, long gun, and heavy gun. Just like regular weapons, they can be improved upon by using Science skills. Unlike regular weapons, however, these science weapons come with some pretty outrageous effects. For example, the shrink ray can collapse the space between atoms, effectively shrinking enemies down to minuscule sizes. As enemies grow smaller their damage threshold also reduces, making them much more susceptible to your attacks.

No microtransactions

Growing concern over microtransactions flared up once again after a comment made by a senior executive at Electronic Arts when he appeared before a House of Commons committee in the United Kingdom. The Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs at EA, Kerry Hopkins, defended her company's policy on loot boxes by comparing them to Kinder Egg and Hatchimal toys. Hopkins also told Parliament that EA preferred to call loot boxes "surprise mechanics" and went on to argue that their use in games are "quite ethical and quite fun [and] enjoyable to people."

This comment did not go over well with the public, as the memory of the controversy over EA's use of microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was still fresh in consumers' minds. Many people see loot boxes as a predatory tactic that promotes gambling addictions and preys on younger customers.

Obsidian on the other hand has already made it clear that there will be no microtransactions in The Outer Worlds. As Tim Cain said himself during an interview with GameStar: "You buy it once and then enjoy it forever."

The Outer Worlds special editions

Although it was confirmed that The Outer Worlds will be getting a physical release by the official Twitter account, as of right now it is unclear whether or not there will be any type of special edition. It seems unlikely that there will be any kind of collector's edition available at launch, since there has been no mention of it from either Obsidian or publisher Private Division, despite the fact it will be released in a few months.

However, there is always the chance of a special edition being released after launch. The Outer Worlds co-directors have already stated that adding DLC worlds to the game in the future is a very real possibility. If Obsidian ends up adding DLC content, then there is a good chance they will release a complete or deluxe edition that includes all of the expansion content.

Microsoft's influence

Recently, Microsoft has been busy acquiring more and more gaming studios. Several well known companies such as Playground Games and Compulsion Games were purchased last year, and now Obsidian Entertainment has been added to the list. When Microsoft first purchased Obsidian back in November, many fans and critics were concerned about whether or not Microsoft's acquisition would impact The Outer Worlds. Leonard Boyarkshy, one of the co-directors of the game, set the record straight during an interview with Polygon

During this interview, Boyarsky was adamant that Obsidian had been exclusively working with Private Division on The Outer Worlds: "The acquisition really hasn't been a part of what we're doing at all [on The Outer Worlds]. We've just been working on this game [with] the great folks over at Private Division. None of that is going to change." Even though Microsoft was given a sneak peek of the game before it was unveiled, Take Two's Private Division is still funding and publishing The Outer Worlds.