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Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Outer Worlds 2: Everything we know about Obsidian’s sci-fi sequel

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The Outer Worlds 2 is Obsidian Entertainment’s sequel to its well-received sci-fi comedy adventure from 2019. And since its debut at E3 2021, it’s functionally retreated into deep space while Obsidian toils away on its other in-development titles.

Even its The Outer Worlds 2’s reveal trailer acknowledged that it’ll be a lengthy wait before the game’s got any preview-worthy material to show. Here’s what’s safe to assume: it’ll be in space. There will be corporations. There will be jokes about the corporations, and the people working for and against them. Those ones are basically locked in.

Beyond that, though, we’re deep in thumb-twiddling territory on this one. At this point, it’s a race between The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed for who can hold out longest without any reveals.

Here’s what little we know, and everything we can speculate, about The Outer Worlds 2.

What is The Outer Worlds 2 release date?

Given the first game released in October 2019, it’s unlikely The Outer Worlds 2 will release before Holiday 2022 at the earliest, and may well be planned for 2023. I wouldn’t expect to be playing it any time soon.

Here is The Outer Worlds 2 E3 2021 trailer

You can watch the Outer Worlds 2 E3 2021 trailer above. It’s a tongue-in-cheek cinematic reveal that shows off a bunch of videogame trailer tropes while an “old, wise-sounding voice” makes sarcastic comments about the footage. We open on a “quiet, peaceful setting,” whereupon the silence is quickly broken by a giant monster stomping on a small animal. “Will this creature be in the game?” The voice asks. “No, say goodbye to it forever.”

The video carries on in this knockabout vein, culminating with a wide shot of a desert planet overlooked by the game’s hero. Only, we don’t see what the hero looks like because “the developers haven’t finished the design. Or finished the story. Or finished any gameplay that’s actually ready to show. In fact, the only thing they have finished is the title.”

It’s amusing and clever, but in terms of information it’s about as useful as a set of barbells on the International Space Station.

Where is The Outer Worlds 2 set?

Shockingly, we don’t know exactly where The Outer Worlds 2 is set, but we do know that it’ll be moving away from the Halcyon system that formed the main setting for the first game. In a tweet revealing the new trailer, the official Outer Worlds Twitter account mentions a “New star system.” Whether or not the game takes place in an entirely new location, or whether you’ll get the chance to revisit places from the first game, is unknown.

Looking at the cinematic trailer, some locations that we see include a lush forest world and a vast, cracked desert interspersed with mountain-sized blue crystals emerging from the ground. Of course, it’s impossible to know whether these are representative of locations that will appear in the game, or if it’s another one of the trailer’s jokes.

What is The Outer Worlds 2’s story?

Absolutely no idea. The only clue revealed in the trailer is the appearance of Moon Man at the title reveal. Moon Man is the mascot of Spacer’s Choice, an Outer Worlds corporation that specialises in producing cheap consumer products. Spacer’s Choice is owned by Universal Defence Logistics, which is itself a part of the Halcyon Holdings Corporation.

Hence, it’s likely that Halcyon Holdings will appear in The Outer Worlds 2 in some form.

[Spoilers for the Outer Worlds follow].

Given how The Outer Worlds ends with the protagonist being offered full leadership over the Halcyon colony, it’ll be interesting to see how Obsidian builds on this; whether they’ll try to tie in the story of Halcyon and the Stranger, or whether the sequel will be largely separate, with only small references to the first game.

More broadly, taking into account the general tone of the trailer, we can safely assume that The Outer Worlds 2 will be thematically similar to the first game, boasting a mixture of zany humour and corporate satire.

Which characters will feature in The Outer Worlds 2?

According to the above announcement tweet, as well as a new solar system, The Outer Worlds 2 will feature a “new crew.” This makes sense given the multiple ways the first game could end, and all the different potential fates of your party. While there’s no evidence to support this, it’s also likely that you’ll play as a brand new protagonist, since Obsidian’s games are all about building and developing your character from scratch.

Personally, I’m hoping that the sequel goes all-out on the new party. The first game’s companions were all slightly different flavours of human, so for the sequel I want to see some weirder concepts. A totally out-there alien like Mass Effect’s Hanar. An ED-209 style killer robot with attachment issues. A talking quasar. A friendly gas. Give me strange, Obsidian!

How will The Outer Worlds 2 play?

There’s no information whatsoever on how The Outer Worlds 2 will play. It could be a Kart racer and we wouldn’t be able to confirm or deny it. But it’s likely that it will continue to be a Fallout-like open world, with a highly flexible storyline and lots of player choices. I’d also expect it to be a considerably larger and slicker package than the first game. The Outer Worlds was fairly obviously made on a budget, which should be less of a problem now that Obsidian sits beneath Microsoft’s massive umbrella.

One thing I’d like to see is Obsidian smarten up the combat. The Outer Worlds’ combat basically read straight from Fallout 4’s hymn sheet, and Fallout 4 was a middling shooter to begin with. I don’t expect it to be Doom Eternal, but making fights a bit more challenging and dynamic, with AI that’s slightly more intelligent than your average housefly, would improve the core experience dramatically.

Is The Outer Worlds 2 coming to Game Pass?

Oh my goodness, a fact! Yes. The Outer Worlds 2 will be coming to Game Pass on day one, so anyone with a Game Pass subscription will be able to play it the moment it launches.

Will you be able to kill your companion’s love interest on their first date together?

If you can’t, then what’s the point?

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