The Outer Worlds is now coming to Nintendo Switch, following its launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The PC launch will be a one-year exclusive on the Windows Store and Epic Games Store. If I were the CEO of Valve, and I knew that the most anticipated role-playing game of 2019 was not going to show up in my store until 2020? I'd be making some drastic changes to the way I do business. Here's hoping that Steam's owner, Gabe Newell, gets the knives out and starts doing something about losing incredibly high-profile games to their newest baby-company of a competitor, Epic.
While this is a Nintendo Switch announcement, there's also some good chit-chat about the game in general from The Outer Worlds senior producer at Obsidian Entertainment, Matthew Singh. Earlier, I'd mistakenly thought the game took place on one of Jupiter's moons. Nope. It takes place on the outer reaches of the galaxy—not just the "outer worlds" of our own solar system.
Singh affirms that the world is built from the ground up. And yes, while we may not have seen this Halcyon colony before, we get the gist: kitschy Americana corporations have the run of the place, and the place is Western punk plus Borderlands chic. You are waking up after 70 years of hibernation on board a lost colony ship, revived by Dr. Phineas Wells, a scientist that appropriately looks like a cross between Christopher Lloyd and Christopher Walken.
You're exploring these corporations' motivations, getting caught up in their conspiracies, and playing in the shadows to find out what's what in The Outer Worlds. Player choice and consequence goes hand in hand with anything Obsidian makes. It's kind of their thing. They're hanging out in those wonderfully gray areas that always make moral choices much more interesting than "pet the puppy" or "kick the puppy" decisions. Those choices will affect the people and creatures you encounter, including the up-to-two NPC companions you can have traveling with you at any one time.
Singh also describes a "flaw system" that can interestingly bring combat effects into conversation trees. For example, say you start taking a lot of hits to the head. The game will ask (?) if you'd like to take on a concussion flaw. It might make combat a bit harder (not something I'd look forward to if I was already taking a lot of shots to the head), but it will open up other avenues to pursue. Somehow. They're not spoiling how it all works. But I'm intrigued. No, I don't want combat to be arbitrarily harder—but this isn't arbitrary. This isn't just making the enemies more of a bullet sponge than they already are. And yes, any time I can broaden dialogue options, if that's what this does, then yes, I'm going to want to take that option. Even if it's a concussion. And especially, as Singh says it will, your companions will start commenting on that flaw. "Hey, don't mind the captain, he ain't all there." That kind of stuff is very good for building character, even if it feels antithetical to "building" a character.
Again, The Outer Worlds launches October 25 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It's adding to Switch to its platform lineup, though that exact date is TBA.