The Outer Worlds Has Two Advantages Over Starfield

And I hope the sequel can lean into them

Alex Rowe


The Outer Worlds title screen.
This remaster has received some great patches since it launched earlier this year. Xbox Series S screenshot taken by the author.

The release of Starfield killed my personal hype for The Outer Worlds 2 — even though Obsidian’s 2019 original is still one of my favorite games. Bethesda’s new game is cut from a similar cloth, with both games leaning heavily on the design lessons of past first-person open world RPGs made by each company. Both development studios are now also owned by Microsoft, meaning that there’s only so much room in their portfolio for space games about shooting things and getting loot.

The Outer Worlds 2 is still a way off from launch, so there’s time for me to build excitement again — but man. Bethesda really took some of the same fundamental concepts and ran much further down the proverbial road with them thanks to the magic of money. Starfield has more scope, more mechanical complexity, more loot, and even has an excellent implementation of the jetpack concept from Outer Worlds 2’s wonderful ancient teaser trailer.

How then do you market a sequel to the smaller budget Outer Worlds when your sister studio has come in and dropped one of the largest, coolest RPGs of all time? Perhaps by playing into Obsidian’s strengths! Their games are some of the best examples of the RPG genre ever made, even in the face of this new essentially endless behemoth of a space game.

Having played dozens of hours of both titles, here are the two ways in which The Outer Worlds totally crushes its modern counterpart. I know that it’s not really “fair” to compare two games that released so far apart that are so different in terms of budget. However, they both hail from the same legacy of game design, and random game thought experiments are fun. I mean no disrespect to the humans that made either game, and I think that criticism is a great way to pry apart designs and push for better games in the future.

The Outer Worlds’ slow- motion combat mechanic in action.
Xbox Series S screenshot of The Outer Worlds taken by the author.

Combat Feel

Right from the beginning, combat encounters in The Outer Worlds are more fun to play than those in Starfield. The weapons are more fun to use, and the slow motion “Tactical Time Dilation” system is a…