Obsidian’s creative director, Leonard Boyarsky, has stated that whilst its upcoming sci-fi RPG, The Outer Worlds, is about the “dark side” of capitalism, the studio has been “very careful” not to “lecture” players about any political issues as it’s “the last thing [it] wants to do”.
“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,” Boyarsky told VGC.
“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. But like how with 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.
“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. 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.”
Reflecting on The Outer Worlds, Boyarsky said the key message is about “power and how power is used against people who don’t have it”.
“It can be insidious; the way which people control the stories you tell about the world. If you let other people control that narrative, then they can control you to a certain degree. That can be any form of government: if it wasn’t capitalism it could be something else.
“I like money: I’m not against capitalism and in a lot of ways I’m happy with our society,” he added. “But of course there are a lot of ways in which it could be improved. 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 Outer Worlds is out on October 25th, 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.