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With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's future looks bright

The Outer Worlds official artwork.
The Outer Worlds official artwork. (Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

The gaming industry has been home to many different role-playing games (RPGs) in recent years, ranging from action-heavy melee slashers to sprawling open-world experiences. However, there has been a distinct lack of high-quality "classic" RPGs that feature in-depth world-building, nuanced skill systems, quality speech trees, and different approaches to combat scenarios. Though games like Divinity: Original Sin 2 that offer this type of gameplay experience have come out, these titles are nevertheless few and far between.

The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment's latest title, stands out like a diamond in the rough, offering players the deep RPG experience that developers like BioWare and Bethesda have not. And after such a fantastic start with this new intellectual property (IP), Obsidian has the potential — and the talent — to seize this part of the market and capitalize on it moving forward.

Doing the role-playing genre justice

A gameplay screenshot of The Outer Worlds.

Source: Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Obsidian Entertainment)

The excellence of The Outer Worlds proves that Obsidian has what it takes to produce high-quality RPG titles. With its stellar writing quality, dynamic gameplay systems, top-notch voice acting, and breathtaking environments, it's the quintessential role-playing experience. The amount of freedom it offers to the player is astounding, and the worlds that the game sends you to are so richly detailed that you can get lost in them for hours on end.

The Outer Worlds is the quintessential RPG experience.

In truth, though, Obsidian's masterclass achievement with The Outer Worlds isn't that much of a surprise. Developers at Obsidian have worked on various successful role-playing titles in the past. Obsidian itself has developed some of what many consider to be among the best RPGs of all-time, including games such as Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and Fallout: New Vegas. Though Obsidian has gone through periods of struggle in recent years, its undeniable talent in crafting role-playing experiences has led to it making a triumphant comeback with The Outer Worlds — and the good times don't have to end.

The door is open, Obsidian

One of the companions from The Outer Worlds, Ellie.

Source: Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Obsidian Entertainment)

When you consider the fact that titles like The Outer Worlds are few and far between in the current gaming market, Obsidian has a serious opportunity to take the reigns and carve out a slice of the gaming industry for itself with its new IP. After the critical acclaim that The Outer Worlds has received from both fans and reviewers alike, it seems likely that the game will receive a sequel in the future. In an interview with Game Informer, head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty even expressed hope that The Outer Worlds would become "an enduring franchise," signaling that Microsoft is willing to put faith in the IP moving forward.

If The Outer Worlds becomes a franchise, it will undoubtedly attract the attention of Bethesda and BioWare fans.

If The Outer Worlds does end up growing into a franchise, it will undoubtedly attract the attention of fans of Bethesda and BioWare. These companies were once known for creating stellar RPGs, but have mostly lost favor with players due to controversial titles like Fallout 76 and Anthem, as well as disappointing ones such as Fallout 4 and Mass Effect: Andromeda. These RPG lovers have been looking for games that scratch their itch for something on par with the titles these developers used to make for a long time, and a series of The Outer Worlds games would satisfy these desires without a shadow of a doubt.

Ultimately, with the gaming scene facing a shortage of deep, nuanced RPGs and with Bethesda and BioWare fans hungry for something that delivers the type of experience they yearn for, Obsidian is in an excellent position to use its new IP to catapult itself onwards and upwards. Especially when you remember that Microsoft seems fully committed to backing The Outer Worlds, the door is open for Obsidian. We can only hope that it steps through.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

16 Comments
  • Very short game and the low budget really shows. It has it's moments but Obsidian's Outer Worlds is nothing special.
  • I highly disagree. I think it's one of the most special RPGs in recent memory, personally.
  • It certainly could have been better in some aspects, but I still think it is an amazing game though
  • Let's just completely ignore all the fantastic isometric RPG's that have come out in recent years, shall we?
  • Definitely good ones, but I don't think anything has been out of this world.
  • Not sure if the pun was intended, but I found that funny.
  • In all seriousness though, the likes of Wasteland 2, Tides of Numenera and Divinity Original Sin 2 are pinnacles of the Role Playing genre. Outer Worlds is pretty amazing though, it just bugs me when isometric RPG's kinda get short changed in public perception just because of the perspective more than anything else.
  • Don't forget Pillars Of Eternity. That game is absolutely amazing to. Again the writing is absolutely amazing in POE. Can't wait for a Pillars of Eternity 3 from Obsidian. But yeah Wasteland is fantastic. Can't wait for 3. Gonna be another amazing exclusive RPG for MS. Xbox now = RPG Heaven.
  • Divinity OS 2 is fantastic (yours truly gave it a 5/5 review right here on WC). Didn't think of that when writing this. I'll go ahead and add a sentence that clarifies that SOME of these games do exist. My overall point though is that there has been a noticeable lack of them. Thanks for the feedback.
  • I'm 26 hours into TOW. I'm loving every minute of the game. From its deep D&D RPG systems. To the brilliant writing. It's such a refreshing joy to play in a world obsessed with empty open world games with no soul. And the level of choice within the game I've not seen for a long long time. And this was achieved with a small AA budget. Can't wait to see what Obsidian do next now they have full AAA funding from MS. The Outer Worlds 2 will no doubt have state of the art animations, facial animations, latest graphical fidelity and even broader RPG systems. It will also serve well for Pillars Of Eternity 3. Looking at how beautiful Inexiles Wasteland 3 looks pillars will be a stunning CRPG. Not gonna lie, MS has a Huge exusiev presence in RPGs now. And even Playground Games 2nd team is working on a heavy RPG. The shooter box Xbox no longer is. Such diversity in their lineup.
  • I had a lot of fun with The Outer Worlds. I finished my first playthrough yesterday. I only experienced one issue that frustrated me, one of my companions was considered dead due to a strange bug. For a time she vanished from the ship but could still be taken on missions. Her quest failed because she was considered dead, and that meant I finished the game without finishing her story.
  • "Obsidian Entertainment's latest title, stands out like a needle in a haystack" doesn't make any sense. If needles in haystacks stood out then the expression "it's like looking for a needle in a haystack" would mean the exact opposite. The whole point of the expression is that needles DON'T stand out in haystacks. Rant over.
  • Thank you for deconstructing my bad metaphor. I'll change it to a better one. :)
  • Was Fallout 4 considered a failure? I suppose it is now long in the tooth, but I didn't think it was that bad, not on the level of Andromeda in terms of reception...but I suppose they did make some bad decisions later on with it 👀
  • It's not a failure, but I think it was a bad Fallout game. It watered down most of the series' RPG focus and placed significantly heavier emphasis on shooting and settlements. It's a great game, but it's not a good Fallout game. That's generally how I feel, and that seems to be the (rough) consensus of Fallout's core fanbase as well. Though that's just my opinion based on observation.
  • You are totally correct. Too much focus on world building IMO.