The Outer Worlds

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The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds cover art.png
Developer(s)Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher(s)Private Division
Producer(s)Eric DeMilt
Designer(s)Charles Staples
Programmer(s)Mark DeGeorge
Artist(s)Daniel Alpert
Writer(s)Leonard Boyarsky
Composer(s)Justin E. Bell
EngineUnreal Engine 4
  • Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • October 25, 2019
  • Nintendo Switch
  • 2020
Genre(s)Action role-playing

The Outer Worlds is an action role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Private Division. The game was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on October 25, 2019, with a Nintendo Switch version to be released in 2020. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics.


Pre-release gameplay screenshot of The Outer Worlds.

The Outer Worlds is an action role-playing video game featuring a first-person perspective. In the early stages of the game, the player can create their own character and unlock a ship, which acts as the game's central hub space. Though the player cannot control their ship directly, it serves as a fast travel point to access different areas in the game and acts as the player's persistent inventory space.[1] The player can encounter and recruit non-player characters as companions who have their own personal missions and stories. When accompanying the player, the companions act as an aid in combat. Each companion has its own individual skills and special attacks, and it can also develop its own skill specialization. When exploring, the player can bring up to two companions alongside them, while the rest stay on the ship. The player can make numerous dialogue decisions, which can influence the game's branching story. They can also respond to NPCs in various ways, such as acting heroically, maniacally, or moronically.[2]

During combat situations, the player can use various weapon types such as melee and firearms, which have three ammo types: light, heavy and energy. These weapons can be customized to add elemental damage.[3] The player can use stealth or social skills (persuasion) to avoid combat altogether. As the player progresses, they gain experience points, which the player and their companions can use to level up and unlock new skills. The player can develop their technical skills, which are further divided into three categories: Science, Medical, and Engineering. For instance, the player can use a shrink ray to shrink down an enemy. The player is able to invest points into these skills, which will unlock new perks that enhance combat efficiency. The player can also enter a "Tactical Time Dilation" state, which slows down time and reveals opponents' health statistics, which grants the player tactical advantages. As the player leads their companions, they improve their companions' combat strength and resilience.[2] The player can also gain a "flaw" that occurs when the player fails repeatedly in certain gameplay segments. Flaws impede the player in some way, but also give additional perks and advantages.[4]


The game is set in an alternate future that diverged in 1901, when U.S. President William McKinley is not assassinated by Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded him, allowing large business trusts to dominate society well into the future, where megacorporations have begun colonizing and terraforming alien planets, to varying results.[5] Originally bound for the furthest reaches of the galaxy, a colony ship's faster-than-light travel goes astray, leaving it abandoned at the edge of colony space. The player character is awakened by a mad scientist named Phineas Welles from cryosleep only to find that most of the passengers are still in hibernation, and begins a journey to the nearby colony of Emerald Vale. The game features several factions and a branching story that reacts to the player's choices.[3]


The game is developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Take-Two Interactive's publishing label Private Division.[6] Though Obsidian was in progress to be acquired by Microsoft Studios at the time of the game's announcement, the project had been under development before that point, and Take-Two had secured the publishing rights prior to Microsoft's acquisition offer.[7]

Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, the creators of the Fallout series, served as the game's directors. The duo directors described the game as "the combination of [Boyarsky's] dark morbidity and Tim's silliness", and they hoped to seek a balance between silliness and drama when creating the game's tone and narrative.[3] Romantic options were initially considered, but the feature was eventually cut by the studio.[8] The game's writers include Boyarsky and Megan Starks.[9][10]

The game has been in development since at least May 2016, when Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart mentioned that a small number of people in the studio which included Cain and Boyarsky were working on "something completely new" in the Unreal Engine during an interview with Game Pressure.[11] Obsidian later revealed the game's development in 2017. In December 2017, Private Division announced the project as their first slate of published games.[12] It was announced at The Game Awards 2018 in December, and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 25, 2019.[13][14] In March 2019, it was announced that the game would release exclusively on the Epic Games Store and Microsoft Store, with its original Steam release being delayed for at least one year.[15][16] Fan response to the announcement was negative.[17] In July 2019, Obsidian announced the game would also be released on the Nintendo Switch in 2020.[18]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PC) 82/100[19]
(PS4) 86/100[20]
(XONE) 85/100[21]
Review scores
EGM5/5 stars[23]
Game Informer9.25/10[24]
GamesRadar+4/5 stars[26]
PC Gamer (US)79/100[28]

The Outer Worlds received "generally favorable reviews" according to review aggregator Metacritic.[19][20][21] The game's sales have exceeded the publisher's expectations.[30]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 Game Critics Awards Best of Show Nominated [31]
Best Original Game Won
Best PC Game Nominated
Best Role-Playing Game Nominated
Golden Joystick Awards Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated [32]
The Game Awards 2019 Game of the Year Pending [33]
Best Narrative Pending
Best Performance (Ashly Burch) Pending
Best RPG Pending


  1. ^ Meija, Ozzie (December 7, 2018). "The Outer Worlds preview: Flaws in the system". Shacknews. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Tyrrel, Brandin (December 7, 2018). "The Outer Worlds Is Bringing Fun Back To Science Fiction". IGN. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Fenlon, Wes (December 7, 2018). "Obsidian's The Outer Worlds blends Firefly and Fallout into a bold, open-ended sci-fi RPG". PC Gamer. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  4. ^ Brown, Peter (December 7, 2018). "The Outer Worlds Looks A Lot Like Fallout, But That's Only Half The Story". GameSpot. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Watts, Steve (March 8, 2019). "Fallout: New Vegas Devs Share Lore Detail About The Outer Worlds". Gamespot. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  6. ^ O'Connor, Alice (December 7, 2018). "Obsidian Entertainment announce The Outer Worlds". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Hall, Charlie (December 7, 2018). "The Outer Worlds isn't a Microsoft game, even though it's buying Obsidian". Polygon. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Hall, Charlie (December 7, 2018). "Three things we learned about Obsidian's new RPG, The Outer Worlds". Polygon. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Chris Ip (June 13, 2019). "Where 'The Outer Worlds' gets its sense of humor". Engadget. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Bryan Vitale (June 16, 2019). "The Outer Worlds at E3 2019: Interview with Game Director Leonard Boyarsky". RPG Site. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "Pillars of Eternity II is in development, acknowledges Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart". May 16, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  12. ^ Purchese, Robert (December 14, 2017). "Obsidian's new RPG is being published by Take-Two's new label Private Division". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Alexander, Julia (December 6, 2018). "Obsidian's The Outer Worlds looks like sci-fi Fallout". The Verge. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Fingas, Jon. "Obsidian's 'The Outer Worlds' launches on October 25th". Engadget. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Evan Lahti, Tyler Wilde (March 20, 2019). "The Outer Worlds and Control will launch on the Epic Store, not Steam". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Coberly, Cohen (March 21, 2019). "The Outer Worlds won't launch on Steam, will be an Epic Games Store and Microsoft exclusive - TechSpot". TechSpot. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Chris J Capel (March 24, 2019). "Chris Avellone calls The Outer Worlds exclusivity deal with Epic "a cash grab"". PCGamesN. Retrieved April 20, 2019. The reveal that Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds would launch exclusively on Epic Games Store – and wouldn’t be coming to Steam until 2020 – appeared at Epic’s keynote address at GDC earlier this week. The response from fans, just like pretty much every announcement of this type, was profoundly negative.
  18. ^ "The Outer Worlds Won't Be Released On Switch Until Next Year". Nintendo Life. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "The Outer Worlds for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "The Outer Worlds for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "The Outer Worlds for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  22. ^ Carter, Chris (October 22, 2019). "Review: The Outer Worlds". Destructoid. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  23. ^ Harmon, Josh (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds review". EGMNow. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  24. ^ Juba, Joe (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Review – Good Company". Game Informer. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  25. ^ Tran, Edmond (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Review - This Is My Space Jam". GameSpot. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  26. ^ Avard, Alex (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Review: "Obsidian operating at the top of its game"". GamesRadar+. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  27. ^ Stapleton, Dan (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Review". IGN. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  28. ^ Senior, Tom (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Review". PC Gamer. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  29. ^ Bailey, Dustin (October 22, 2019). "The Outer Worlds review – funny business". PCGamesN. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  30. ^ O'Connor, James (November 7, 2019). "The Outer Worlds Has Exceeded Publisher's [sic] Expectations Critically And Commercially". GameSpot. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  31. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (June 27, 2019). "E3 2019 Game Critics Awards – Final Fantasy 7 Remake wins Best of Show". VG247. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  32. ^ GamesRadar staff (October 25, 2019). "Vote now for your Ultimate Game of the Year in the Golden Joystick Awards 2019". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  33. ^ Winslow, Jeremy (November 19, 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Nominees Full List". GameSpot. Retrieved November 20, 2019.

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