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Avowed: Obsidian's Fantasy RPG That Dares to Dream

Oh, poor Avowed, the upcoming first-person fantasy RPG from Obsidian. It's like the moment the studio mentioned it, everyone (including yours truly) s...

W. Shanklin

Jan 30, 2024

Avowed: Obsidian's Fantasy RPG That Dares to Dream

Oh, poor Avowed, the upcoming first-person fantasy RPG from Obsidian. It's like the moment the studio mentioned it, everyone (including yours truly) started searching for neat little boxes to shove it into. We all wanted a quick label that would allow us to say, "Oh, Avowed? That's Obsidian's version of X."

The easiest comparison, naturally, is Skyrim (Starfield without guns). Avowed's fantasy setting, first-person combat, and classless character system all seem to invite this parallel. But Obsidian doesn't think that's quite right. In fact, they've cheekily suggested that you should think of Avowed as an Outer Worlds-like experience, or dare I say it, something akin to Fallout: New Vegas.

Game director Carrie Patel explained that while it's hard to escape the Skyrim comparisons, internally they've actually looked to build Avowed as their fantasy take on The Outer Worlds. Not with the same tone, mind you, but with a similar world structure and scope. If you missed it, The Outer Worlds had distinct, relatively small yet open areas, unlike Skyrim's vast single map. It clocked in at a modest 35ish hours compared to Skyrim's practically infinite nature.

Now, I know some folks might be a tad disappointed by this revelation. There always seems to be an insatiable hunger for massive Bethesda-style RPGs. But in the colossal, somewhat bland shadow of Starfield, I think it's wise for Obsidian not to spread themselves too thin. Besides, what caught my attention even more was Patel's other point of reference: Fallout: New Vegas.

Describing Avowed as a "middle ground between sandbox and curated," gameplay director Gabe Paramo explained that you might stumble upon creatures in Avowed that you're not quite ready to face head-on. However, with the right abilities and cunning, you may find a way to manipulate these creatures and claim valuable rewards. It reminds me of New Vegas' infamous deathclaw quarry, which cunning players managed to bypass through crafty means. Sounds like Avowed will offer similar possibilities.

But it's not just the gameplay that draws inspiration from New Vegas. Patel revealed that they aim to create a cohesive experience with Avowed's quests, much like how New Vegas masterfully weaves together side quests and secrets to build a rich player experience. It's a daring move to invoke New Vegas, a game revered as a classic in the RPG pantheon. Funny enough, the fact that The Outer Worlds wasn't New Vegas might explain some of the lukewarm reception it received. So, it's surprising and exciting to see Obsidian willingly embrace the comparison once again. If Avowed can capture that same coherent vision and storytelling, count me thoroughly intrigued.

Avowed is a game that dares to dream, stepping into the footsteps of giants like Skyrim and New Vegas while carving its own path. It's a fantasy RPG that promises a unique blend of exploration, combat, and narrative depth. So, brace yourselves, fellow adventurers, for a journey into a world where fantasy meets the unexpected, where choices matter, and where the echoes of New Vegas resonate. Avowed is on the horizon, and it's ready to leave its mark on the realm of RPGs.

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