To say that making video games is hard is an understatement. Developer Obsidian Entertainment recently confirmed that you can kill every single NPC in its upcoming RPG, The Outer Worlds. At first, this might not seem like a huge deal, but the company’s senior designer Brian Heins explained why this was a massive undertaking to get right.
Here’s what Heins had to say:
It is insanely hard. Any NPC that is critical to a quest or some information, we have to have backups for the player.
Anyone you see, you can kill, [so] there’s got to be a way to get whatever they were going to give you, whether it’s a terminal entry or you can loot something off of their body or there’s a chest in their office that you would now lock-pick to get the information from. We gotta start figuring out all of those.
When we’re looking at the quest itself, we have to now have updates that will fire to show, ‘OK, you got this information by doing this,’ and make sure that the [dialogue makes] sense,” says Heins. For example, you can’t have an NPC saying that you bought an item from someone when you ripped it off their cold, dead body. “So that adds complexity [and] also the localization budget goes through the roof.
The ability to kill all NPCs is impressive enough, but the fact that The Outer Worlds is an open-ended RPG, makes it baffling as to how it was even implemented. Obsidian has acknowledged that there may be bugs when the game releases, due to the complicated nature of what the team is trying to achieve.
We recently covered a story about the game’s companions and the possibility of them acquiring combat abilities and different dialogue options. How this will correlate to killing off NPCs will be interesting to see unfold. We also heard word that your choices could turn you into the game’s villain, which now makes sense since you can take out everyone in the game.
It will be fascinating to see how this all unfolds, so we’ll have to wait for the game’s October 25, 2019 release date to find out.