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Interview The Outer Worlds is a commercial success, patches and sequel on the way

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. 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
    Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; Tim Cain

    The Outer Worlds has been out for two weeks now. It's now clear that the game is a commercial success, as confirmed earlier this week by Xbox's Phil Spencer and by Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in today's quarterly earnings call. There have been several developer interviews since launch day, but yesterday's interview with Tim Cain at PC Gamer is the first one to discuss the game's future. The Outer Worlds had a remarkably bug-free launch, so Obsidian have been taking their time with its first patch. It will be out soon though, and then a second patch around Christmas, after which they plan to begin thinking about the sequel. No mention of DLC, though. Here's the relevant portion of the interview:

    Cain and his co-director Leonard Boyarsky knew what they had to live up to with The Outer Worlds, shipping an Obsidian RPG—especially since they created Fallout, and Obsidian hadn't made a game in this style since 2010's New Vegas. Before they even had concept artists, they'd written more than 100 pages of worldbuilding material, defining voice and technology and corporations down to specific word choices: Robots have circuit boards, but they don't have chips.

    "We got really picky like that. For me, I want to know that 10 years from now, when I'm probably not working on this, that it's still the game I imagined," he says. "Plus, I saw Fallout going in a different direction. No fault of their own—we didn't leave a lot of notes around. So as people started working on it, they had to play the game and go, 'I think this is what they meant...'"​

    They did their best to cross every T and dot every I, but what ended up being most surprising about The Outer Worlds was its painless launch. That's the other thing Obsidian's games in this style, like New Vegas and Knights of the Old Republic 2, are known for: Being a bit buggy.

    Cain says they were prepared to crunch after release, fixing crashes and issues players ran into. But it was so smooth, they've been able to take a breather and take some time before the first patch, which should be out soon, and respond to some more substantial feedback.

    "Somebody found a place that it consistently crashed, but just on one platform, and then there's been another bug where sometimes companions get in a bad state in your ship," Cain says. "But for the most part the things we're fixing are things people have asked for, like larger fonts."

    Another quality of life issue he intends to fix is that vending machines don't show how much you're carrying, which makes selling items while over-encumbered a tedious process. There's also difficulty, which came as a surprise: Many players have asked for a harder setting that doesn't come with the restrictions of the Supernova difficulty. He's got a list of UI things to address, and hopes to put out a second update around Christmas, once more player feedback comes in. But when we spoke, it was definitely time for a well-earned victory lap.

    I asked Cain about the creation of one of our favorite characters in The Outer Worlds, the robot SAM. The idea for SAM, a no-personality no-illusions-of-humanity plain' ol robot, was to build a companion for players who wanted to play without the "peskiness" of companions having their own sidequests, but with some of their advantages.

    Writer Megan Starks took on Sam, and Cain told her: "It's not sentient. But it's programmed to be upbeat, trying to be helpful. It seems everything through the lens of its programming, which is, 'I clean things."

    "She wrote some really awesome stuff, Cain says. It says things sometimes that you're like, is it being meta? It's saying something just about cleaning but it's actually sometimes social commentary, too. We had originally thought he was going to be more robotic and it was Megan who said, 'I think it should sound like they recorded a salesman at the factory, who was super excited like, 'Oh my God, I get to be the voice of a robot.'"

    So far The Outer Worlds seems to be the kind of success story that makes you wonder why Obsidian hadn't made a game in this style for so long. According to Cain, it wasn't for lack of wanting—it's just been hard to get them made.

    "This is the form of a game I love to play," he says. "It's not necessarily open world, because we get tighter control over what kind of narrative we tell. Hub and spoke, is what a lot of people call it. First-person gives us a cool immersion. I know Leonard mentioned once years ago that we had already planned to take Fallout first person after Fallout 2.

    "I don't know why a lot of publishers think nobody wants to play this. Part of the reason Obsidian hasn't done it, is because publishers didn't want them. Now Microsoft, I think, is going to keep making stuff in this vein, because this looks so popular. But I can tell you three years ago, not a lot of people were interested in this style of game and Private Division took a chance, and they were really good."

    For now, he's got a few months of work ahead to take feedback on The Outer Worlds and prepare that second patch. After that? Well, nothing's official, but it sounds like there's more Space Capitalism ahead.

    "I want people to play for awhile and then see what the friction points are and see if there are bugs we missed, put out something before or after Christmas and then think about sequel," says Cain with perhaps just a bit of a twinkle in his eye. "I don't think we're probably going to talk about that. But I'm thinking about it."
    According to an announcement on the Obsidian forums, that first patch should be coming along sometime next week. Obsidian are also going to be at Microsoft's X019 event in London on November 14th. If there is any DLC planned, perhaps it'll be announced there.
     
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  2. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

    sorinmask
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    Frankly, I am a bit staggered at the news of no DLC, since this is where Obsidian excels.
     
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  3. Nerevar Learned Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Nerevar
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    This was supposed to be the last nail in Obsidians coffin! Why did this game sell well?

    I just can't understand this.
     
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  4. LizardWizard Arbiter

    LizardWizard
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    :slamdunk:

    Moving Triple A revenue on a Double A budget:

    :gangster:
     
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  5. Lichtbringer Educated

    Lichtbringer
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    I like how the title of this news is very different from the actual contents.

    A sequel is not official, it will be considered later, and there are no official sales numbers either, just a tweet from Phil Spencer stating that the game is "doing well".
     
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  6. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    They're making it, it's just not ready to announce.
     
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  7. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Why is the Codex rejoicing that a bland, dumbed down FPS adventure is commercially succesful?
     
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  8. Chaotic_Heretic Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Chaotic_Heretic
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    What else do you expect from Zionist Propaganda? Something substantial and based on facts?
     
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  9. Felix Arcane

    Felix
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    No competition, people disappointed with Bethesda.etc

    Also NPC want to feel smart when they say Obsidian's "writing" is, like, totally "awesome", man.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  10. CWagner Scholar

    CWagner
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    Because Microsoft reimbursed them for all the people who signed up for Xbox Game Pass for PC Beta for $/€ 1.

    I feel like I got my money’s worth out of the game and after 3 days I finished it, deleted it, and canceled the game pass.
     
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  11. Tweed Learned

    Tweed
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    How unfortunate.
     
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  12. Flou Learned

    Flou
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    They will announce it next week at the Xbox event.
     
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  13. MurkyShadow Glittering gem of hatred Patron

    MurkyShadow
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong BattleTech
    Might be Obsidian have just found their Elder Scrolls / Mass Effect.
     
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  14. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    The gates of decline are now open. This game will kill a good portion of upcoming RPGs like nuXcom killed TB tactical games.
     
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  15. Daidre Learned

    Daidre
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    After they killed people's faith in isometric party-based RPGs and scored critical hit against every future Kickstarter campaign for IE-inspired games.

    Obsidian turned out to be capable of some impressive feats :cry:
     
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  16. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    Well, in terms of isometric RPG half the blame lies on inXile. As for Kickstarter, it's gaming part kind of killed itself by its own naivete and lack of financial responsibility in backer - creator relationship.

    The problem with Outer Worlds, is akin to flavor enhancers, disastrous substitution of substantial elements by other, easily achievable elements, equally entertaining for wider audience. Just like nuXcom shifted tactical depth to Sims-like soldier tamagotchi, Outer Worlds substitutes essential RPG elements for MMO grade satisfaction metrics, like constant positive feedback, loot showers, illusion of meaningful mechanics and the like. The general audience still harbors a subliminal like for the game, but struggles to pinpoint which fragment of it's spoon-fed mediocrity was actually good, because in reality none was.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  17. cvv Arcane Patron

    cvv
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    TOW 1 sales drew strength from New Vegas.
    TOW 2 will have to draw strength from TOW 1.
    Nobody will buy TOW 2.

    It's gonna be the Pillars of Eternity story all over again.
     
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  18. CRD Learned Patron

    CRD
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    hopefully with all that money, they can hire an stylist to give them advice about how to model female faces and hair.
     
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  19. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Since everyone here is being negative nancy I guess I'll be positive about it.
    TOW was obviously made on a shoestring budget with serious constraints. The success of TOW1 combined with Microsoft dosh will allow them to do a full dev cycle on TOW2 for a much more fleshed out game.
    TOW wasn't completely irredeemable, and it actually has some of the best reactivity of any RPG I've played. I'd like to see more of that.
    Also, Microsoft might step in to tell them to stop making stupid decisions.
     
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  20. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    While the budget argument remains true, they had Boyarsky & Cain, virtually unlimited creative freedom and yet they ended up with a game that's worse than F:NV despite it being an exemplary development hell.
     
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  21. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    It's not a fair comparison. FNV had most of their assets already made and an engine tailored specifically for the game.
     
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  22. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    I'd argue that Unreal is less of a bitch to work with than Gamebryo, but it's beside the point, because from the technical standpoint OW is pretty solid. What it lacks is creative originality in visual style, plot concept, character design and dialogue writing, most of which is done by completely separate developers than graphic artists & engine programmers.
     
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  23. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Gamebryo already had most of features they needed for FNV implemented. All of those had to be implemented from scratch in UE4.
    And it's not "beside the point" — their budget isn't infinite and programmers are expensive.
     
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  24. Van-d-all Savant

    Van-d-all
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    Oh FFS, and what are those mysterious features? Dialog boxes and quest state machine? Virtually everything else is your run of the mill FPS that the Unreal engine was made specifically for, unlike, say, Gamebryo.
     
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  25. vortex Fabulous Optimist

    vortex
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    So the answer for Pillars 3 is to make commercialy successful rpg game, not just critically acclaimed one. Sawyer's reflection get a resolution finally.
     
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