Gamers are a bloodthirsty bunch. Ask most of ’em what their favourite thing about immersive RPGs like Morrowind and Fallout: New Vegas is, and they’ll likely tell you it’s the ability to kill pretty much any NPC you come across.
In Morrowind particularly, you could murder anyone, including important story characters who might have key information or quests for you, meaning your violent urges would forever close off certain opportunities (unless you had a backup save from before the murder, of course).
Since then, RPG studios like Bethesda have kind of dialed back on who we can and can’t kill, with characters vital to the main story in games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 retaining some kind of invincibility so you don’t screw up the plot.
While some people might balk at the idea of being able to accidentally kill an important NPC and shut off entire questlines, I think a lot of us would agree it adds to the immersion of the game, so running someone through with an ebony axe in Skyrim only to have them get back up minutes later because they’re important to the story can have a negative impact on the experience – let us kill first and deal with the consequences later, dammit.
Good news then, as The Outer Worlds, the upcoming sci-fi RPG from Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian is promising the kind of murder-happy freedom we haven’t really seen from a Western RPG in quite some time.
Obsidian’s Senior Designer Brian Heins revealed in an interview with Polygon that every single character in The Outer Worlds is fair game for your murderous urges, including any that might be critical to main story quests.
Unlike Morrowind, butchering important characters won’t lock you out of key quests or stop you getting whatever information you might have needed. Heins explained that it’s “insanely hard”, but Obsidian has come up with backup plans to get critical quest info to trigger-happy players.
Anyone you see, you can kill, [so] there’s got to be a way to get whatever they were going to give you, whether it’s a terminal entry or you can loot something off of their body or there’s a chest in their office that you would now lock-pick to get the information from. We gotta start figuring out all of those.
It’s great to hear that Obsidian has found a way to give players what they want while also ensuring nobody actually shoots a major player in the head and has to start the game from scratch. It also means you can play the game however you want, without Obsidian limiting your choices – that’s what an RPG is all about, right?
One thing’s for sure: The Outer Worlds is going to be a very quiet galaxy by the time certain players are finished with it.
The Outer Worlds is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25, with a recently-announced Nintendo Switch release scheduled for later on in the year.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.