Are you familiar with that expression, “Like a Kid in a Candy Shop”? And no I am not referring to Jojo’s song… Damn I hate that I know that exists. Now that I’m getting older, I realize that when you were young and you used to laugh at adults for not knowing about whatever cool band or slang term or whatever … they were full of it. They knew. They were just enjoying the adult privilege of not having to know or care about stupid, trendy crap. After the ability to eat cookies for dinner, that’s probably the best thing about being an adult.
But I digress.
Where was I? … Oh yeah, the candy shop. Not literal candy, obviously, but video game candy. What do I mean by that? I mean that there’s something really incredible about that moment when you see an upcoming game that checks a bunch of boxes. It has a beautiful art style, cool characters, it’s set in interesting world, and just looks like crazy fun. It’s a feeling that I get less often than ever – but more on that later. Right now, I want to get way over excited about The Outer Worlds Official Announcement Trailer. Because that was my candy shop. (And I’m the kid in said shop, obviously.) Or maybe Outer Worlds was the giant chocolate castle in that shop? Or maybe we should just let this metaphor die a good death and move on.
Now the trailer was cool all by itself. But then I read an article by Wes Fenlon titled – Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds blends Firefly and Fallout into a bold, open-ended sci-fi RPG.
Which … holy shit. I mean, it’s hard to explain what that means to me, but it’s the combination of things I didn’t even dream was possible. It’s like having Gal Gadot drive up to you in Ferrari 458 Italia while holding a Baja Blast in one hand and a deep dish pizza in the other to tell you that she has always had a thing for slightly overweight gamers who haven’t shaved yet today.
Reading Wes Fenlon’s article made me ponder the things I love, like Firefly, Fallout, Mass Effect, and Borderlands. And then imagine those as inspirations for a game. I am not privy to minds behind The Outer Worlds, but after reading and absorbing all the details revealed so far, I don’t think it’s a stretch to conclude that this game is a hodge-podge of several awesome things that I personally love.
One thing I noticed in the gameplay demo is the option to give a “dumb” response. This reminds me of the excellent dialog options that were in Fallout: New Vegas, only set in space. Which then makes me think of Serenity and Joss Whedon’s sense of humor.
Watching the gameplay of The Outer World made think back to what I love about each of those properties. And if Obsidian has managed to capture that magic and infuse even a tenth of what made them great into The Outer Worlds, then we are in for a real treat when this game drops.
Plus from watching the demo footage I am really digging the graphical user interface. It has a nice retro sci-fi feel to it and just damn looks good.
In my list of reasons for optimism, I also have to add the designers. Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are just two of the minds behind The Outer Worlds. You might know them from Fallout 1 and 2. It looks like they’ll bring their fun, dark humor to The Outer Worlds. There are hints of it in the demo that Game Informer published early this month. (I will include a link to that in the description below.)
This humor and silliness make me think of Borderlands, and I really look forward to seeing that kind of fun again.
Plus, I have always been partial to the Sci-Fi/Spacer genre in games. Mass Effect was my personal favorite game franchise until Mass Effect ending in Mass Effect 3… Yeah, I hold grudges… I even tried to play the buggy mess that insisted on being called “Mass Effect Andromeda” but that franchise was ruined by Hubris and bad corporate planning.
Anyways back to The Outer World. What I find really encouraging is that this is a game without baggage.
Think about that for a moment. When was the last time you saw a game announced and didn’t have a moment of doubt or worry? When there wasn’t a single red flag that made you wonder whether it was going to be a royal mess? Or have a shady loot box dynamic? Or get released with so many tiers and special editions that you began to suspect the designers were hiding something?
It feels like the last year or so has been an especially bad year for game news. It’s the rule, not the exception, for game announcements to come with controversy. Typically, announcements of big new games come with bad questions: will it fail? Or disappoint? Or will its monetization just suck you dry like a horny vampire?
Incidentally, that’s one more thing that The Outer Worlds did right without being asked. If 2018 is the year of the microtransactions, Obsidian took the high road. Credit to them, loot boxes and the like will not be a stumbling block for The Outer Worlds.
They have gone on the record stating there will be no loot boxes. This was back in 2017, and considering the criticisms made about microtransactions since then (including the ones I have made), the fact that they’re releasing a game that’s a real game, not a wallet-sucking investment opportunity, makes The Outer Worlds look so damn good.
So mark my words: The Outer Worlds is going to be a hit, and the reason is clear. This is a game where you can already see the pure joy that went into making it. Speaking as a gamer, I can not wait to experience it.
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