Obsidian's Xbox RPG Avowed doesn't have strict classes, with players able to choose any skills and respec their character

Avowed companions
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Avowed is an upcoming first-person role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios. 
  • Speaking with PC Gamer, game director Carrie Patel and gameplay director Gabe Paramo discussed how Avowed doesn't use strict classes that lock players into specific weapons or skills.
  • Avowed is scheduled to arrive Fall 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and Xbox Game Pass.

Obsidian Entertainment's big upcoming role-playing game won't be locking players into set progression paths. 

As part of an interview with PC Gamer, gameplay director Gabe Paramo mentioned that Avowed will not require players a class they have to then stick with throughout their adventure in the Living Lands. Players will pick a background that has different benefits, but this is just getting a leg up in different areas at the start, not a path that's locked-in.

"The player will be able to kind of pick and choose their abilities as they level up and progress, and you will be able to respec," Paramo says. This system of allowing players to simply invest in skills they want instead of being limited by class is tonally similar to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim instead of something like the Pillars of Eternity games, the latter of which share a setting (the fantasy world of Eora) with Avowed.

What else is in store with Avowed?

Now that's art. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Avowed was one of four Xbox first-party games featured in the recent Xbox Developer_Direct 2024, with Obsidian showing gameplay footage and talking about the player's role in this world. The team also talked further with PC Gamer about what players can expect, mentioning that the first-person melee combat is inspired by the systems used by developer Fatshark in the Warhammer: Vermintide games.

"Our goal was to try to make it feel visceral, right?" Paramo says. "To make the sense of hitting [enemies] feel impactful…like Vermintide. We're trying to get our inspiration from there, just that masterclass in having a sense of hitting and impact."

Obsidian also tells PC Gamer that players will be able to use two companions at once, with all of them (no word on how many total) hanging out together when not adventuring with the player. Some companions will however be required for specific quests, making this system sound overall extremely similar to the one used in Obsidian's space-faring RPG The Outer Worlds.

Analysis: A smart choice for approachability

While I know classic RPG purists enjoy some strict class roles like in Baldur's Gate 3or Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, this decision makes a lot of sense to me. Players do have companions, but it's not a strict tactical setup where different roles need to be fulfilled. The gameplay of Avowed is all about quickly adapting and changing out weapon sets — swords, guns, and spell-slinging wands have seen particular focus — and locking players into a specific class would mess with that. 

Part of the reason Skyrim is so successful is because people just make whatever character they want as they play. Obviously Avowed isn't just Skyrim, but borrowing that aspect seems like a good fit. Certainly, I'll be eager to experiment once I get my hands on Avowed later this year. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.