When you are talking about Obsidian Entertainment the alarm bells that ring in the heads of gamers are many, but positive ones. It's no secret that the Santa Ana studio is devoted heart and soul to RPG development, and lovers of that genre consider the studio (and even its ancestor Black Isle, creator of sacred monsters like the first two. Fallout and Planescape: Torment) as its pioneer. Very little is missing from the publication of The Outer Worlds, the new post apocalyptic by Chris Avellone and his companions, and while waiting for our review of the game it is necessary to take a few small steps back to flirt a little more with what has been given to us so far by the team.
Projects "on the road"
Since its inception, the team of Obsidian has always carried the burdens of important brands on its shoulders. The first two works that passed from the studio keyboards were in fact two big hits, followed by franchises originally developed by Bioware colleagues: Neverwinter Nights 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. As already mentioned, the team was born from the ashes of an already established studio and father of the RPG genre, and consequently this fame made them the first choice even after the split. A very interesting curiosity about the study concerns their starting modus operandi, where each game (at least up to four years ago) is opened as "project" approached to the name of a state in the United States of America.
Obsidian's career has been a continuous growth, and their already good reputation - thanks also to the personalities present - has led them to gain the trust of various publishers (even if after the excellent work done with South Park and The Stick of Truth, Ubisoft has entrusted the follow-up to one of its internal studios). Even if the results of the proposed games have been mixed - like Alpha Protocol published by SEGA and with one of the most controversial metascores ever and even a 1/10 review - the Obsidians have always enjoyed the undisputed trust of fans and the sector itself, which like a spinning wheel always brings them back to being protagonists of something.
It is also important to underline the return to the "old love" nine years ago, which sees the team reappear the series that launched them with the old studio: Fallout . Right before the lucky South Park, Bethesda saw in Obsidian the perfect team for the spin off of the series, Fallout New Vegas, which despite the incredible validity was too similar to Fallout 3.
To definitively break the silence that was being created around the Californian team came "Project X" - consequently renamed "Project Eternity" - which turned out to be the famous and very open Pillars of Eternity. Obsidian's niche of proselytes has proved once and for all not a simple "niche", given that the title, financed entirely with a fruitful campaign Kickstarter, has received donations from over seventy thousand people for an amount of nearly 4 million dollars.
The great success and the hunger for the game of the avid fans gave the possibility to develop also the sequel of the latter, that is Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (of which you can read our review here), which once again consecrates the incredible skills of the team in the creation of role-playing games.
Coming to today, Obsidian Entertainment was acquired by Microsoft almost a year ago, and according to the latest statements released by the team, this step has allowed the boys to focus more on their projects, including future ones. And just of future we speak in the latest effort of the studio, which abandoning esoteric scenarios, ships or post apocalyptic landscapes, catapults us into a sci-fi scenario that promises to be completely new and damn interesting with The Outer Worlds, out in just 3 days.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian and Microsoft together certainly have a work plan, and proceeding step by step could be the key to success for both, perhaps giving life to a real series. However, we specify that this title is published by Private Division, which owns the rights, and consequently there is no hand in the Redmond house. The sparkling scent of defiance and the spasmodic expectation of the aforementioned proselytes make of The Outer Worlds a very ambitious project, which despite being dedicated to a fairly select audience is destined to reach important numbers. While waiting for our review that will arrive over the next few days, it is important to know what we will be facing. This last generation, which is now about to end, has been really rich in important titles and above all well managed, which has refined and accustomed the palate of gamers to a really good standard. After Bethesda's unconvincing Fallout 76, the community is anxiously lacking a first-person action RPG that manages to involve at extreme levels, and perhaps in this case the white smoke has arrived. However, we specify that, also taking note of the feedback, the title in question will be only in single player and will not have online multiplayer. A choice that based on the current fan base of the genre is very prudent.
In The Outer Worlds we will create our character as canonically happens in these titles by also choosing the sex, the protagonist who will wake up after seventy years of hibernation. However, this cryogenic sleep does not happen on dear old earth, but on a spaceship called Hope. Once in the new system, we will have the opportunity to visit and explore the various planets in large maps, however without ever resulting in what we could define an open world.
There is clearly no lack of situations in which we will have to make drastic choices for the continuation of the story (or of the epilogue itself), but also the stratified study to select theequipment and skill best suited to our character and our style of play. Even if the plot and the playful structure seem to trace the classic and a little already seen styles of the genre, we are absolutely certain that the real aces in the hole will be pitted during the unfolding of the plot. The Californian team has always accustomed us to video games where narration is one of the central hubs, especially by making use of extremely long and detailed dialogues. Unlike the latest titles published by Obsidian, however (in addition to the disappearance of the isometric view) we find ourselves with vocally dubbed dialogues. Using dialogues wisely can be decisive, so much so as to avoid even risky fights simply with the art of persuasion.
A good addition from a tactical point of view will certainly be the possibility of bringing with us two characters driven by the AI, teammates that we can use to our advantage on several occasions. The biggest advice that the developers have given, is to try to shape our digital alter ego and to choose his companions so that they are complementary and that one can overcome the weaknesses of the others.
For a more detailed analysis, we ask you to wait until publication of our review of The Outer Worlds, which will describe its actual value! Will the Obsidians be able to technically and playfully create a title worthy of their name? To find out, it's very close.