While some developers want to inject modern partisan politics into video games, Obsidian Entertainment is avoiding that entirely with their next RPG opus, The Outer Worlds.
The news comes via Fallout creators Leonard Boyarsky and long-time partner Tim Cain, who are heading the new project, in a new interview with VGC.
Boyarsky said they’ve been “very careful” to not “lecture” players with the themes in game, noting it’s “the last thing we want to do.”
The game features a sci-fi world where megacorporations have begun colonizing and terraforming alien worlds, thus it’s likely to show off the bad side of capitalism. Despite this, Boyarsky reaffirmed they won’t be clobbering you over the head with the negatives of capitalism.
“I like money: I’m not against capitalism and in a lot of ways I’m happy with our society. But of course there are a lot of ways in which it could be improved,” he said.
Boyarsky added the game started development back in 2016, a pretty crazy year for real-world politics. “We started development in April 2016 and a couple of things happened [in world politics] between then and now that nobody expected. We weren’t expecting that.”
The game was described as less a critique on modern capitalism and more about how “power is used against people who don’t have it.”
Regardless, Boyarsky noted they’re trying to focus on just making the game fun, and with a sense of humor.
“I don’t want people to think this is a really hard, politically-charged game: it’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be humorous,” he said. “Having grown up in America and been through the onslaught of consumer culture, we’re very familiar with that and like to poke fun at it.”
Everything isn’t black and white in terms of writing the characters, however.
“But like how with [2001 RPG] Arcanum when we were dealing with racial issues, the story always comes down to balance of power, how people get power and how they use it. We’ve been very careful, I’ve been very careful,” Boyarsky added.
Lastly, Boyarsky chimed in on how multi-faceted the characters in The Outer Worlds can be, and how they can and have gone against their own personal beliefs, too.
“There are people in this game who have philosophies that I don’t agree with and I take pains to make those people very likeable, very sensible and very believable. Then there are people in the game who say things I agree with, who are perhaps not very nice to hang out with,” Boyarsky said. “So we don’t want to set up strawman or anything and say, ‘look how horrible this is!’ It’s really about looking at all aspects of issues. The last thing we want to do is make a game that people feel is lecturing them.”
The Outer Worlds is launching across Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 25th