"If you're trying to do something and it's too hard there's always another way to do it."
- Obsidian's Tim Cain discusses how choice powers the studio's upcoming game.
Obsidian Entertainment’s recently announced RPG The Outer Worlds is big on giving players a variety of ways to stroll through the game’s world and encounters, similar in many ways to the choice-driven RPGs that many of the studio’s developers cut their teeth on.
In a lengthy interview with PC Gamer, lead developers Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky dove into both the how and why of the team’s decision to ensure The Outer Worlds gives its players enough room to pursue any of a number of different playstyles, whatever those may be.
Cain points out one specific situation where players can, depending on how they’ve built their characters so far or which companions they bring along with them, either sneak by a group of robots entirely, stealthily steal a computer password that allows them to force the robots to fight each other, or hack a nearby terminal to take out the robots and bypass that sneaking portion entirely.
“You often find people go, 'I keep trying to sneak by the robots but I can't. What's that computer do? Ohhh.' If you're trying to do something and it's too hard there's always another way to do it,” Cain tells PC Gamer. “And we tried to do it without the Deus Ex 'there's always going to be a big vent.' Sometimes it's like, what in this environment have I not tried to use yet? Or am I like two points away from being able to hack something? Wait, this drug makes me smarter and smarts make my hacking better. Ding, I can temporarily hack this. And that just feels fun. It feels like a great use of both that drug and my hacking skills.”
“But I do feel like whether it's a vent or whether it's a different way through, it's about just figuring out different interesting ways for players to be able to find their way,” adds Boyarsky.
It’s not a new concept by any means, but keeping different routes both accessible and enjoyable for players is a topic carried through many different comments in the full interview. As addressed earlier in the chat, it’s also the motivation for why The Outer Worlds doesn’t have a lock-picking minigame, why Obsidian paid particular attention to making sure good-feeling combat didn’t fall to the wayside, and why players can essentially change character builds mid-game by switching around the company they keep.