The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment's latest first-person RPG, is a Firefly-style sci-fi romp of colorful worlds and quirky characters. Set amid a galaxy of alien planets being terraformed and carved up by Earth's ruthless Megacorporations, players will take the role of a would-be colonist pulled from cryosleep for an unknown purpose.
Obsidian Entertainment is a developer with a strong RPG pedigree, though its first games were nearly all sequels to popular titles, with some early notables being Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Fallout: New Vegas. However, in recent years, and following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Obsidian has been putting out original titles like Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny and now, post Microsoft-acquisition, The Outer Worlds.
Fans of the genre expecting a sprawling systems-driven adventure may find themselves a little disappointed by The Outer Worlds' length, or lack thereof. With developers stating the game's world to be even smaller than 2004's Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2, it's unsurprising that the estimated time to complete the main story-line is a mere 15 hours.
On the other hand, those players who prefer to explore every corner and finish every side-quest can expect to discover around 40 hours worth of game-play in total. A fairly solid number, but for those who've become accustomed to epic, open-world RPGs of 100+ hours it may still seem a little lackluster.
The Outer Worlds is Obsidian's first first-person RPG since Fallout: New Vegas, and comparisons between the two are inevitable. In terms of length Fallout is a clear winner, with a main story running around 30 hours, and a completionist-length of over 100. Obsidian's most recent game, Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, is an isometric RPG boasting a main story of 40 hours, though with less side-quests and extras to explore when compared to Fallout, estimated at around 70 hours to do everything.
It's clear that in terms of sheer length The Outer Worlds is a departure from Obsidian's usual output. However, a shorter game doesn't necessarily mean a smaller budget, or less development time. The Outer Worlds' lack of a massive open-world is a choice, as the developers have made clear that their intention was to offer a leaner, more streamlined RPG experience, without trying to compete with the scale of titles like Fallout: New Vegas. What a game loses in length it can gain in depth, and as such each problem players will encounter in The Outer Worlds can be tackled in a variety of ways, whether through exploration, stealth, combat or diplomacy.
The Outer Worlds releases October 25 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.