Obsidian Entertainment, developers of games like Pillars of Eternity, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and Alpha Protocol ran a trailer for a new game at The Game Awards last night. Titled The Outer Worlds, it's a first-person shooter and RPG that the trailer seems to position as a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, one of Obsidian's most beloved previous works.
Set to a song by Iggy Pop, the trailer includes witty, devil-may-care dialogue that might evoke Borderlands for some fans. The game's development is led by Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, who are billed by publisher Private Division as the original creators of Fallout.
The game is slated for a release in 2019, according to the trailer. Trailers like this are often made far enough in advance of launch that while some or all of it likely runs in-engine, some trickery is probably used to produce gameplay footage that resembles what the final, working game will look like.
The info-light website for the new title carries the following copy from Obsidian:
The Outer Worlds is a new single-player, first-person, sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division. Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy, you awake decades later only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the Halcyon colony. As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter various factions, all vying for power, the character you decide to become will determine how this player-driven story unfolds. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.
Recently, Microsoft announced that it is acquiring Obsidian Entertainment and bringing it into its growing and shifting portfolio of first party studios, presumably with a mind for Xbox development.
That said, The Outer Worlds' trailer specifies that the game is coming to PlayStation 4, not just Xbox One and PC. And it is not published by Microsoft; rather, it will be published by Private Division, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive. Private Division published a PS4 and Xbox One port of PC title Kerbal Space Program earlier this year.
The Fallout legacy
RPG enthusiasts might be particularly interested in this title because the marketing positions it as a follow-up to Fallout: New Vegas.
The Fallout franchise was originally developed by some of the same people who now work at Obsidian, but The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim developer Bethesda Game Studios has stewarded the franchise since 2008. However, Obsidian used Bethesda's technology and intellectual property to make Fallout: New Vegas (released in 2010). There's a passionate contingent of Fallout fans who consider that title one of the best of the franchise's post-Bethesda era.
Further, Bethesda's latest entry into the franchise—Fallout 76—has not been well-received by some critics and fans. It's a multiplayer game, and the studio's first modern effort at one, to boot. It's not scratching the same itch that some single-player RPG fans want to scratch (albeit by design) and it has faced considerable technical problems.
So there could hardly have been better timing to announce a spiritual successor to New Vegas, a game that some players displeased with Fallout 76 point to as a model.
However, despite Fallout New Vegas' cult classic status, Obsidian has struggled with quality in some releases just like Bethesda has—RPGs like this are very difficult to make. Infamously, significant amounts of content were cut from Obsidian's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.
The promise is here, though it's too early to know if it will be fulfilled. But barring any delays, we'll find out if this is the spiritual successor fans have wanted in 2019.