We have recently read a lot of reports that suggested that Obsidian doesn’t want the Outer Worlds to be “politically charged”. Outer World’s senior narrative designer has clarified that the sci-fi dystopia is going to have political messages but it’s ultimately, an escapist fantasy.
Outer Worlds has already won the Game Critics E3 2019 award for Best Original Game. Obsidian has set the game in a future world where megacorporations have begun colonising and terraforming alien planets. Such themes are often discussed by sci fi focused media.. Therefore the game is obviously going to have ideas about the ‘dark side’ of capitalism.
Creative director Leonard Boyarsky, in June, said this was not so. He said it was not as much a critique of modern capitalism. It was more about “power and how power is used against people who don’t have it”.
During an interview with VGC in August, senior narrative designer Megan Starks clarified these comments. According to her, there was no denying that there were elements of politics. But what they really want the game to be a form of entertainment and escapism.
She said that other people had their opinions on whether games should be political or not. But the team’s main goal was to make an enjoyable game.
“We want it to be escapism and we want it to be a fun, enjoyable experience for players. But because we did make it a dystopian society, any real-world universe has to be rooted in these types of things. So of course there is going to be elements of politics in the game, yeah.”
She said that incorporating real life issues was often necessary. This was because, despite how crazy a game may be, believable elements help make it in an immersive experience.
The writer says that there’s a big difference between how it is in real life and how it is in games. In real life, you have the problems but no solutions. In games, you have the power to change things. And that is the greatest escapist fantasy.
Megan Starks, has helped in Pillars of Eternity II. She explained that creative directors Boyarsky and Tim Cain “absolutely” don’t have a policy which forbids the writing team to avoid topics that might have real world connotations.
The Outer Worlds will release for Xbox One, PC and PS4 in October. Developer Obsidian has also confirmed that The Outer Worlds for Nintendo Switch will arrive at a later date.