Two top developers from Obsidian have shared more details about how upcoming Xbox exclusive Avowed is similar and different to past iconic RPGs – including some of its own. The major takeaway that I’ve seen – and one that has eased some of my early concerns about the game – is that Avowed is taking a similar approach to Fallout New Vegas when it comes to player agency and content.
Despite having been recently shown off in the Xbox Developer Direct showcase and the Official Xbox Podcast (where we learned some essential details about companions), there still seemed to be a bit of confusion or apprehension about Avowed’s approach and how it stacks up against some of the best RPGs. Well, thanks to some new comments from Obsidian, things are starting to take a little more shape.
In a new interview, game director Carrie Patel and gameplay director Gabe Paramo distance Avowed from the comparisons many have made to Bethesda’s timeless RPG Skyrim. They instead say that there are more similarities with Obsidian’s “more curated” past work, such as The Outer Worlds.
“I think the model that we’ve looked to internally is building Avowed as our fantasy take on The Outer Worlds,” Patel says, speaking to PCGamesN. “Not with the same tone, but a similar structure to the world and in terms of scope.”
This isn’t surprising, of course, but it is certainly reassuring. What got me particularly excited, though, is the passion with which both Patel and Paramo talk about Fallout New Vegas – my favorite game in the franchise – and how Avowed is trying to find the same excellent balance of guiding players, while also giving them plenty of agency.
“I think New Vegas does a wonderful job of building the player experience not just through the critical plan but the side quests and secrets you can discover in the world,” Patel says. “There’s a really great balance of consistency and variety. You want players to experience novelty and surprise, but also make sure that all these microelements you’re putting together are leading the player towards the same cohesive experience.”
“It’s that middle ground between sandbox and something that’s more curated, and I think we do a good job in striking that balance [in Avowed],” Paramo also adds.
This all sounds splendid to me – while The Outer Worlds didn’t really hit the same high note for me that New Vegas did, this is certainly the approach I’d want Avowed to go down. In more recent years, at least, a fantasy setting often demands more of a sprawling open world game with the heaviest RPG elements, so I’m excited to see how it feels with Obsidian’s formula applied.
While Avowed aims to be one of the biggest Xbox exclusives of the year, and a huge boon for Game Pass, there have been a few small disappointments for subscribers. It’s been confirmed that Visions of Mana – which was highlighted in the Developer Direct – isn’t destined for Game Pass after all, and one of February’s day-one Game Pass releases has been hit with a delay.