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Xbox Game Pass’ The Outer Worlds cured my Starfield blues

The Outer Worlds on Xbox Game Pass has eased my concerns around whether Starfield will live up to the hype and be the defining space RPG we expect

Starfield Xbox Game Pass: A Starfield character in a brown space suit with a white helmet

Starfield’s promise of 1,000 planets has both excited and daunted me. Sure, not all of them are going to be sprawling with NPCs and environmental storytelling – some will likely just be floating balls of resources for you to mine. However, it’s clear that Bethesda is going bigger than it’s ever gone before, and recently I’ve felt a little bit concerned that things might get spread too thin, or that there may just be an overwhelming amount of bloat.

To calm my nerves somewhat, and to get me back in the mood for some space RPG action following a severe post-Starfield showcase comedown, I’ve gone back to an old friend, who has been patiently waiting for my return in the Xbox Game Pass library. Hello again, The Outer Worlds.

There are plenty of folks out there that have already connected the dots between Bethesda’s upcoming space RPG and Obsidian’s. However, revisiting The Outer Worlds on Game Pass for a second playthrough (about a year on from my first) has taught me a valuable lesson as a prospective Starfield fan: worry less.

Let me explain. For a few days after Todd Howard’s “1,000 planets” line, my excitement for Starfield was uncontrollable. But all euphoria must come to an end, and mine ended with something of an internal crisis around whether this game will even make our best Xbox RPGs list and whether I’ll feel underwhelmed after all this time waiting for its release. That’s a feeling I have struggled to shake.

Now though, thanks to The Outer Worlds, I’ve rid myself of it. I’ve realised that if Starfield does fall short, I’ve got a more than suitable backup plan. Obsidian did such a great job with its interstellar RPG that I’m convinced I’ve got another three or four Outer Worlds playthroughs left in me to fill a potential Starfield-sized void (plus, there’s DLC I’m yet to dive into as well). Conversely, if Bethesda absolutely nails it and manages to create a story, factions, and characters half as engaging as The Outer Worlds’, then I’ve got an enormous amount of RPG content to enjoy. It’s a win-win.

I hopped back into The Outer Worlds to see if it could spark some Starfield-flavoured joy within my cold, cynical, traumatised-by-countless-game-delays heart. While it did that to a degree, what it really provided me with was some reassurance.

If Starfield does overpromise and underdeliver, so what? I’d love for it to be an instant GOTY contender, but if it isn’t, who cares? What’s important is that if I ever want an enjoyable space-faring adventure, I’ll always have The Outer Worlds right there on call.

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Will I still continue to root around the corners of the web for any morsel of Starfield news? Sure. When it’s announced, will I be scrawling the Starfield release date on my calendar in a massive font? Absolutely. But at least now I can afford to have these pangs of excitement, without also feeling some dread.

Thanks, The Outer Worlds, for teaching me to just worry less.