The Outer Worlds E3 2019 Panel, Developer Interviews

If you're interested in some additional coverage of Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds, you may want to check out the game's E3 2019 panel featuring Obsidian's senior designer Brian Heins and The Outer Worlds' co-director Leonard Boyarsky. Here it is:

And then, there's this Gamasutra Q&A with Megan Starks, one of the game's narrative designers:

What's your process for coming up with characters from scratch?

When we worked on [the town of] Fallbrook, and Catherine Malin who runs Fallbrook, basically the town is owned by an organized criminal faction. They’re a bunch of smugglers, and they’re working on this planet that is blockaded by other corporations. They’re the only way to get in and out, and get food and drugs, stuff like that.

We thought it would be cool if the town had kind of this Deadwood vibe, like sci-fi and Western. I started thinking about the different characters in Deadwood and thought [Al Swearengen] would be a great touchpoint character for Catherine Malin. So I used him loosely as a general archetype.

And once I started writing her, I tried to think about what she’s like on a more individual level, what her backstory might have been. These are things that don’t come up [in the game]. We don’t very often, or I try to avoid, having the player be like, ‘So, tell me about you!’ You want those things to naturally progress in a conversation, so you have a sense of the story being an iceberg – what you’re seeing is the tip of it, but you get the sense that there is something much deeper underneath. That makes things feel realistic.

As well as this fairly extensive RPG Site interview with Leonard Boyarsky:

RPG Site: In the demo we saw today, you showed off the disguise system in your game, I was wondering if there was also any system like Fallout: New Vegas, where certain gear could act as a disguise for entering places owned by different factions?

Leonard Boyarsky: The way the Holographic Shroud works is that once you get an ID cartridge for a certain faction, you can plug it into this device in order to mask your identity temporarily by creating this sort of 3D hologram around you. It works as a sort of timed meter which will slowly drain, but the disguise is lost faster if you run, or shoot at people, things like that. It plays also into the dialogue system as well, you'll have checks you'll need to pass one someone spots you once the meter is out, and I think on the final check you have to actually have two different buffed up dialogue skills in order to maintain the disguise.

RPG Site: So is having that item or ability available to everyone? Or is it like a quest reward or how does that work?

Leonard Boyarsky: Every player will always have it, but the challenge is being able to find the ID cartridges that will work for it, and then of course players with specific builds will be able to make better use of it once they have it. If you enter an area without it, you'll get a notification showing that it's restricted.

RPG Site: And then the player will have to think about where or what quest line might lead to getting an ID card for that area.

Leonard Boyarsky: Exactly.

Finally, you may want to check out this episode of Kotaku's Splitscreen podcast where Boyarsky discussed some of the ideas behind The Outer Worlds.