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Game News The Outer Worlds Feature at Game Informer: The Halcyon System

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; Tim Cain

    Game Informer's final article about The Outer Worlds last week was about Tim and Leonard's general approach to choice & consequence. You'd think that would be interesting, but it wasn't particularly. Today's feature article has a bit more substance to it. It's a detailed look at the game's setting, the Halcyon star system - its history and its various locations. Warning, deep lore ahead:

    “This is an alternate history,” says co-director Leonard Boyarsky. “There was a point where the timeline split off. It was at a certain point, around the time of Einstein. There was a first World War, but it was for different reasons. And maybe there wasn’t a second World War.” One of the defining features that set Earth apart in this new timeline is the nature of companies, classism, and the central importance of money-making. Imagine the already absurd power of corporations, banks, and billionaires in the real world, and ratchet it up several more degrees. “What if the trusts hadn’t been broken up?,” Boyarsky muses. “You have these robber barons at the turn of the 20th century. A couple of hundred years later, what if we still have that culture?”

    In this twist on history, Earth is already the domain of massive and powerful companies as humanity begins to spread out across the stars. Rather than the intrepid explorers and diplomats of some other science fiction properties, it’s the reaching arm of capitalism that sends humanity hurtling into the void, and habitable planets across the galaxy are being carved up like parcels of land in the American Old West. This first installment of The Outer Worlds focuses on one particular solar system called Halcyon, and the ten companies that banded together to purchase it. “The corporations have pretty much taken over everything,” Boyarsky says. “But they want to go that last little bit and make it the perfect society for corporations. When Earth was colonizing the furthest reaches of the galaxy, they bought one of the furthest colonies and set up what they thought would be a corporate utopia, where they can control every aspect of people’s lives.”

    When speaking to the developers at Obsidian, it’s especially exciting to learn how expansive this new universe really is. While Halcyon has received the bulk of the attention and fleshing out, the team isn’t shy about highlighting this one solar system as just one part of a larger network of humans across the stars. “We made a list of the other colonies,” says co-director Tim Cain. “They have names and what their major products are. There are some companies and governments that were big enough that they just bought a colony on their own. Ours is unusual in that there are ten different corporations, but it’s because it was so far away and took so much money. We also have said that there is one guy who is pretty much like the Bill Gates of the universe. He was so wealthy that he bought a colony by himself. And the first thing he did was seal it off. No one’s been there for a hundred years.”

    [...] The Halcyon system and its colonies didn’t turn out the way the corporate board had hoped. Things looked promising in the beginning, with two seemingly habitable planets and an initial group of colonists aboard a first ship. But even before The Hope went missing, problems arose.

    One of the habitable worlds, Terra 1 was a moon orbiting a massive gas giant called Olympus. Human terraforming didn’t work on the planet, and among other problems, much of the local fauna was dramatically altered, sizing it up into mega versions that pose tremendous threats to human life. In-game, Terra 1 has been renamed as Monarch, and it’s a dangerous place to live. It’s also where the board’s outsized influence has begun to fray, as many groups and individuals are rebelling against the companies.

    For players, Monarch will replicate some of the expectations of an open-world space, but on a smaller scale. “Monarch has a bigger wide-open playspace,” Boyarsky says. “There’s three or four different little towns on Monarch. Because it has a big, wide-open area, you can walk between them, or just fly to the different ones in your ship once you unlock the landing pads.”

    The other comfortably habitable planet orbiting the Halcyon star is called Terra 2, and it remains much more under the sway of the board. Here, the colonists have largely accepted and even embraced their roles as corporate workers, but the façade is slowly breaking down, as towns slowly fall into disarray. Marauding thugs who have abandoned the company life wander around outside the towns. And even inside, the appearance of homey comfort has begun to fray as prefab structures have begun to fall apart and jobs remain unfilled, even as the various companies try to keep up good appearances.

    It’s here that players will visit one of several contained locales, including the smaller settlements of Edgewater (inside the Emerald Vale), and Roseway, the town first shown in early videos for The Outer Worlds. Terra 2 is also home to Byzantium, the gilded city of the well-to-do, where every Halcyon colonist wishes they could live. Byzantium is closed off to those without the means to be appropriate residents; it’s a literal gated community with secrets that lesser company workers will simply never learn.

    While Terra 2 and Monarch are the two largest and most involved environments that players will encounter, they are not the only places that players will visit. Several other smaller destinations play important roles in the unfolding game, especially the ship that brought that first group of colonists to the system. “The Groundbreaker is the original colony ship, parked in the Lagrange point of Terra 2,” Cain explains. This station acts as a main port for the system, as ships come and go. “Freighters that come from out of the colony unload their stuff there, and go from there to be delivered around the colony,” Boyarsky says. “There’s some people there who live a bit outside the law.”

    In addition to rubbing elbows with the criminal element aboard the station, players will also rocket off to some of the other less-friendly planetary bodies around the system. There’s an asteroid called Scylla, which contains some laboratories and transmitting stations. “There’s a lot of abandoned stuff there; there’s no town on Scylla,” Boyarsky says.

    “We also have Tartarus, which is kind Venusian, but it’s even worse,” Cain says. “It’s just a nasty planet. It’s where the maximum security prison is, run by United Defense Logistics; Spacer’s Choice is a wholly owned subsidiary.” We don’t know much about Tartarus, or what business the players might have on a prison planet, but one of its chief exports does make for an amusing aside. “There’s a product sold called Tartarus Sauce, for dipping Saltuna fish sticks,” Cain says with a smile. “What they do is they take mayonnaise and they expose it the caustic environment of Tartarus for just a few seconds, and then put the lid back on, and they sell it. It makes the mayo really tangy, because it introduces a lot of very low-level toxins. There’s not a lot of restrictions on corporate food products.”

    Some of the other “outer worlds” of Halcyon are less likely to be on-foot destinations in the game, but may play a role in an understanding of the full setting. There’ the ice-planet of Typhon, around which The Hope has been parked until the company’s governing board can figure out what to do with it. Obsidian also shared that Eridanos is a gas giant currently being mined for resources, and another celestial body is named Hephaestus, a small mineral-rich planet near the sun.
    Sounds promising. A map large enough to contain three or four towns is more than I expected, so maybe this game will have some of that open world vibe after all. Coming later this week - details about The Outer Worlds' art, characters and comedy.
     
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  2. Akratus Self-loathing fascist drunken misogynist asshole Patron

    Akratus
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
     
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  3. Jessica Learned Shitposter

    Jessica
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    cringe


    obsidian should be burned to the ground

    this is the most banal thing i have ever read in my life

    kill all boomers
     
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  4. Jessica Learned Shitposter

    Jessica
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    it reads a fucking rick and morty skit

    holy fuck
     
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  5. Zeriel Arcane

    Zeriel
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    Did you forget Tim Cain is proud of working on furry MMOs?
     
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  6. Mr. Hiver Learned

    Mr. Hiver
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    So, one system with two moon "planets" and several other smaller locations to visit.
    Seems alright in terms of numbers of location. Whats not great is the system other places you can visit are all the same types of planets like in our Solar system.
    Second gas giant, Venus, Mercury and an ice planet. With cliché names.

    Some social commentary around how bad mega companies and bureaucracy can get.

    “If you go into Obsidian’s kitchen there’s this thing listing employee rights,” Cain notes. “In our fictional world, you go into the kitchen and there’s a list of employer rights.”

    You sure about that Tim? We heard its the other way around.

    “What’s good for the corporation is good for the workers, and even good for humanity,” Boyarsky says. “There’s no greater good than serving the corporation.”

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    Theres something off about the locations. They all look like some intern made vaguely "sci-fi" environments and then someone else plastered company stickers over it.
     
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  7. Space Nugget Learned

    Space Nugget
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    [​IMG]

    I hate to break it to you...
     
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  8. Zeriel Arcane

    Zeriel
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    Probably a case of brilliant Boyarsky concept art meeting not-so-brilliant Obsidian intern execution.
     
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  9. Wunderbar Magister

    Wunderbar
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    Those gameinformer updates are so useless.
    Just give us the damn character stats and inventory screens, is it that hard?
     
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  10. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    While judging the setting from a preview is a fool's errand:

    I'm a big fan of the general conceit of taking belle epoque capitalism and extrapolating that into the space age - do what Fallout did with the 50's and do it with a fabulously interesting era. I'm not a big fan of how that doesn't really seem to come across in anything in the video preview, except from little snippets of (otherwise unimpressive) art direction. Maybe they should talk at some point about how it's going to be a good game?

    Halcyon? Or... Halbech? +M

    Regarding the Tartarus Sauce thing - I mean, that's actually exactly the kind of thing that historically marked a lot of crazy capitalistic schemes, especially from the industrial age to the end of the wars. The Victorians loved to put every random kind of recently discovered chemical in cosmetics, there was even some (I think German) radium-branded condom, we gave kids cigarettes for the constitution, etc.
     
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  11. Kyl Von Kull Arcane Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    The Motherfucking Stolen Lands
    Nutex! They glowed in the dark.

    upload_2019-2-18_22-32-49.jpeg
     
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  12. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Yes, that's the one. When you look at shit like Nutex, or mercury in facial cosmetics (something still plaguing some shady products today), then the Tartar Sauce thing sounds pretty right.
     
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  13. Jedi Exile Arcane Patron

    Jedi Exile
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    Setting sounds interesting and also very Tim Cain-ish. If there is a prison planet and player can visit it, mostly likely he will be thrown to jail at some point.
     
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  14. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    yes, this really seems tim cain/boyarsky stuff.

    they seek a common settting and twist it with a "what if" scenario and try to build the world and have fun with the "what if scenario" and they made some amazing settings with it.
    fallout : what if the world was still obsessed with the nuclear power and some cultural stasis?
    arcanum: what if fantasy world advanced enough to have steam engines and the whole industrial revolution?

    they speculate, and craft the condition of that world according to the what if scenario and show it happens in at least a plausible/believable way.
     
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  15. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    It doesn't make sense. How do companies and governments buy colonies? From whom?
     
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  16. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Good question. Maybe there's some regulatory body that you need to pay for a colonization license.

    Or maybe (more likely) he just meant that those companies and governments were wealthy enough to be able to fund colonization entirely on their own.
     
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  17. Trashos Magister

    Trashos
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    Eh, from who do you buy internet domains? There's your answer.
     
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  18. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Planets =//= Domains
     
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  19. Crescent Hawk Savant

    Crescent Hawk
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    Just as I expected, they went Wild West in space which is always cool if well done. But the art style does not really look that good for Firefly shit. This looks like regular borderlands. Corporate utopia reads so fucking boring already.


    You have to to mix it up with actual modernist Imperialism, like put in some spocks from a Prussian Legend of the Galactic Heroes wannabe guys behind the scenes of some corps, similar disasters in scope like the Titanic in space, make the corporations fluid like the tools for power grabbing they usually are instead of muh corporation Delta City Robocop shit thats its so fucking beaten to death its silly.

    But I didn't expect better anyway.

    I was rereading some Crimson Skies shit last year and its so crazy but at the same time charming with its mix of real world nation struggle and private corp ambitions.
     
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  20. Ezeekiel Arbiter

    Ezeekiel
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    "Capitalism", "Nazi" etc have all become utterly meaningless words, it seems.
    Everything we don't like that involves money or profit or something in any way = Capitalism, kind of like how everybody to the right of Mao is a nazi or a fascist or whatever.



    I just hope they can somehow make a good game out of this, though the preview stuff doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Maybe work on the fundamentals instead of the journalist-bait.
     
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  21. Duraframe300 Arcane

    Duraframe300
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    How so? They are. Both have value attached, both are *spaces* you can buy if physical or virtual.

    And to answer your question, settlers / goverment / whoever the fuck laid claim to it.
    Technically goverments ARE companies to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
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  22. luj1 Magister

    luj1
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    infantile watered-down RPG for consoles
    Show Spoiler
    in other words hot garbage
     
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  23. vortex Arbiter

    vortex
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    Space illuminati.
     
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  24. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    There is a limited number of planets, while you can have infinite number of domains. Planets have resources, can be in strategic locations. Domains are created by humans, so it makes more sense to sell them, while planets are natural. All domains do is that it's easier to remember your website name. Planets are far more valuable than domains.

    You assume anyone would just respect colonizers claims to uncharted planets. Laughable proposition. Planets would be just taken by force.

    Governments aren't companies. There have different aims and structure to companies.

    Reptilian agenda confirmed. Don't put blame on Illuminati.
     
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  25. vortex Arbiter

    vortex
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    Maybe TOW has space feudalism mixed with cosmic communism social relationships.
     
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