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SzabiK

[SPOILERS] GotY for this and the last 5 years, but...

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Dear Obsidian and Forum Members!

I was waiting for a game like this for such a long time, that I stopped counting the years. I am a gamer for 25 years, I saw some things during my time 
This title really is an outstanding example of RPG at its finest.
- Writing: really good with full with surprises. After two play-trough I am still getting quests I didn't found (unlocked) previously and getting surprised by the outcomes.
- Artwork: classic... immersive, with a lots of attention to details. I left Stellar Bay for the 20somethingTh time, when I realized that there are "re-branded" Terra 1 signs,  just covered up...
- Theme: Frontier (western) scy-fy. High-tech, low-life... Really good, and the humor is on spot. 
- Music: Brings back memories from the ill-fated Firefly... I simply loved it.
-Combat: I don't care 
Really god, nice! As the title says: Game Of the Year!
Now comes the but. (In this case everything before the word "but" IS NOT horse s**t)

I started recently my 3rd character. There is a couple of thing what started to grow on me...
The first two is feeling what is lingering there since KotoR 2. (2004) 

1, There is nothing really happens without my character. My character is the "the unknown variable", this should not mean that life is in a stalemate without my actions. There is a starting status when you arrived to the location and based on my actions things are going to happen.  It would be really nice if some bigger quests with several steps would proceed in case of my "inactivity". For instance: MSI vs, Iconoclasts. Let`s say I screwed the peaceful option and but I side with one of the parties, but don`t want to do the slaughter. I am going to get a quest if I sided with MSI to kill the Iconoclasts outside. Quest-marker is there. Actually I did not tried this and did not find any info. If I just ignore this, are the Iconoclast leaders going to stand in the church outside till the end credits? For days, weeks, months...  Or should there be message popping up in my terminal on the ship after a couple of days saying that the "situation is resolved at Stellar bay" come visit and see the outcome. Fail the previous quest and give a new one about doing business with the "winner". Could be random winner, or favored based on the status with the player and the finished quests for the faction. Would be awesome. Waaaaaaay more immersive  Just imagine staying out from the shootout and congratulate to the winner and offer your services. Or being late with a delivery of a quest after scavenging to much in some area... yes, we got some valuable loot, but f*** up the side quest, now we talk to a new boss in the town. I can bring up Mass Effect 2 as an example (2010 - still one of the highest rated RPGs out there. ), where the Bioware devs implemented a nice catch in the game, it was about saving your whole crew from the "suicide mission". If you did more than one quest between the suicide mission and the abduction of the Normandy crew, most of the crew was "processed" when you arrived to save them.  It was 9 years ago.

2, Every NPC is waiting in a locked position for me to do something in the whole colony. Its like moving around in a painting or a photos. Feels static. They have no life... Yeas, I am talking sand-boxing. They should at least go to sleep sometimes. Or go to the pub... Ok, there are this occasional quest related "walking to another building", "sitting down in agony" or "drinking by the bar" motions, but it is not enough by today's standards. It is really breaking the immersion after a couple of hours. Especially when you have to run back and forth between two NPC, a couple of days passes and those are still "frozen" in the same position. It brought back the same "static" Kotor 2 felling I had 15 years ago.  Bethesda GS with Oblivion (2006) implemented a day circle for the most NPC-s. They got some life.... it was 13 years ago and raised the standards. Since than it is in every of the ES and FO titles.

The 3rd one is...
3, The "faction-less" factions. Marauders... Sentient human beings who are going to charge at you regardless of how many of them slaughtered already. You just can stop them to attacking you. I sense here a huge missed opportunity. There is already a faction system with good and bad reputations. You could group these Marauders per area and provide some opportunities to be neutral with them.  Like encounters where you can save them from animals, fix their wounds and get them not to shoot at you every time they re-spawn or you walk that way. Intimidate them with high enough charisma (or gear). Make some business with them.... Or just make them run away if you killed enough of them, and be attacked only if the "feel confident" due to strength in numbers. But repeatedly killing them or sneaking around them is getting a bit boring. Could have been a nice quest line to "Become the raider overlord of the colony" without shooting one bullet. Could have been a brilliant move for those pacifist play troughs. 

For me this 3 things would make the difference between "The Outer Worlds - The Best Game of the Last 5 years", and "The Outer Worlds - The Timeless Classic"

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" Every NPC is waiting in a locked position for me to do something in the whole colony."

Not *entirely* true. For example, the guards in Edgewater will occasionally shoot at the sprats that are running around. They do feel more static than perhaps people today are used to, but they are not completely so.

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It clearly says (NO SPOILERS) in the description of this subforum. If you want to discuss specific themes, plot details, characters and so on, there's the Stories subforum, which is where this is going.

Thanks.


- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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While it would be cool to see companions have more dynamic lives the chance that they might be off doing their own thing would lead to a chance that you would miss out on content as the player.  Since you have 25 years of experience it shouldn't surprise you that the companions are only there to move the players story along not their own, you can of course move their story along or not as you desire.  I recommend to follow the different paths as it adds to the universe lore and feel of the game, I have played games where a party member would leave a party if you didn't follow the schedule they wanted.  It was always a negative to have this happen particularly if the player arc is solving some huge world breaking threat but I have to stop and go look for this item or person  or this companion will leave.  It is realistic but in generally I don't play games like these for reality but as an escape so I am willing to accept that a companion will always be where I left them sitting idle until I choose to include them.

You mentioned Oblivion  NPCs that walked went about a daily routine although not as noticeable I have seen NPCs walking around interacting with each other and objects so that is still there.  I don't recall any companions in Oblivion other then my horse but been awhile, when I did play it last it was heavily modded so can't say whether that is accurate or inaccurate for the vanilla game.

I do agree they didn't do a good job with the marauders who seem to be people expelled from the society of the towns, no idea why that would turn them into mindless homicidal beast.  Other then Obsidian was under a asset crunch so decided they would serve as the enemy to fight.  I guess the factions in FO4 kind of reacted the same but they at least seem to have some semblance of a community who logically would attack an outsider.  With Marauders they just seem mindless beats who attack for no particular reason in lemming fashion.

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GotY is going to Sekiro, Death Stranding, or even Resident Evil 2 remake before it would go to TOW. The game is getting mangled in user reviews and didn't even fair that well in critic reviews. 

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12 hours ago, Ommamar said:

While it would be cool to see companions have more dynamic lives the chance that they might be off doing their own thing would lead to a chance that you would miss out on content as the player.  Since you have 25 years of experience it shouldn't surprise you that the companions are only there to move the players story along not their own, you can of course move their story along or not as you desire.  I recommend to follow the different paths as it adds to the universe lore and feel of the game, I have played games where a party member would leave a party if you didn't follow the schedule they wanted.  It was always a negative to have this happen particularly if the player arc is solving some huge world breaking threat but I have to stop and go look for this item or person  or this companion will leave.  It is realistic but in generally I don't play games like these for reality but as an escape so I am willing to accept that a companion will always be where I left them sitting idle until I choose to include them.

You mentioned Oblivion  NPCs that walked went about a daily routine although not as noticeable I have seen NPCs walking around interacting with each other and objects so that is still there.  I don't recall any companions in Oblivion other then my horse but been awhile, when I did play it last it was heavily modded so can't say whether that is accurate or inaccurate for the vanilla game.

I was not talking about companions. In my second point I was talking about NPCs in general. The guys who give the quest and those who you have to interact with outside of your party. They feel static by today's standards. There is a bit of a sand-boxing here and there, but it feels immersion breaking to find the NPCs (more or less) in the same position every time you approach them. Like when you need to talk to the MSI guys in Stellar Bay. They are always there facing each-other in the same position regardless of the time. And in my first point I was talking about the static events.  MSI vs. Iconoclasts: You give the stuff to MSI, Iconoclasts turns hostile, they leader shows up outside Stella Bay and the MSI boss gives you the task to kill them, "because they are going to attack before the defenses are ready". If you chose not to attack, the Iconoclasts leaders are going to stay there till you show up. The attack will never happen. The devs "try to imply" that the stuff is urgent, however it is not implemented like that. Breaks the flow of the story and the immersion too. This quest design element damaged Fallout 4`s main quest. "You urgently have to wind your 1 year old son", but technically you can do everything else before it. So it is not urgent by implementation...

An thx for mentioning party members :) 
I haven't thought about that aspect
... Lets think about these: 

- (2004) Obsidian and Kotor 2 where you can "influence" them to approve what you have done regardless of their affiliation. It needed some effort, some talking to them, but you could drag them to the light or dark side. They are essential. They give missions, if you dig deep enough.

- (2007) Mass Effect 1 is same as TOW, but you have to sacrifice one of them at some point, what has an effect on two more titles in the franchise. They are essential, no missions.

- (2008) In Fallout 3 you need certain karma to hire them, nothing more. Permadeath...

- (2010) In Mass effect 2 you HAD to do their loyalty missions to give a better chance for them to survive at the end. That one felt forced. They are essential in most part expect at the "random death end".

- (2010) In Fallout New Vegas the companion leaves you if you do to much thing against his/her taste. They permadeath based on settings, they give missions if they like your actions. 

- (2012) Mass Effect 3, same as TOW. They are essential.

- (2015) Fallout 4 companions behave same as Fallout New Vegas with less depth and you can talk them out of leaving, they give missions if they like your actions.

- (2019) In TOW, you might get a couple disapproving comment, but they affinity towards you not going to change. They permadeath based on settings and they give you missions in time.

I would vouch for the Kotor 2 system with configurable permadeath....

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