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August 8th, 2019, 10:44
Twinfinite interviewed senior designer Brian Hines about The Outer Worlds and asked about companions, exploration and killing every NPC.

Hayes: And how do you design around being able to kill any NPC in the game? How do you stop players from pushing themselves into a corner by killing everyone?

Brian Hines: So we try to find, like look at, okay who is actually critical and what information do players actually have to know? So if this person gets killed, how else can we convey that information to keep the quest moving forward?

Whether that's like in a terminal, or on a note on their body that would give you that information, and then if there's just no elegant way to do it that's when the quest fails, and that's kind of the consequence of choosing to slaughter everyone.

Hayes: I did notice in the save that I loaded into, in the journal, there was a failed quest section. How does failing quests affect your progress in the story? Are there any ramifications that will come later down the line?

Brian Hines: It can. So for example, in some areas you need to do a certain amount of quests in order to achieve maximum reputation with the group who's running the area, in order to really get the most beneficial max reward, or the final quest for the faction line.

If you fail some of those quests, then you're not going to be able to achieve that best result with that faction or that group.

Farflame has also summarised some gameplay details here.

World and Quests

- Monarch is just one planet you visit in the game. Terraforming went wrong there so it's filled with strange rock formations and geology.
- Monarch appears to have four major towns; Cascadia - Fallbrook, Amber Heights, and Stellar Bay.
- The two cities I visited, Fallbrook and Stellar Bay, both had a rustic feel to them. They were definitely sci-fi, but still managed to have that kind of retro 50s feel as well.
- Loading screens have a wealth of in-game lore, from pictures of the anatomy of alien creatures to posters for fictional in-universe movies.
- There are plenty of terminals to look at, providing little clues and context for locations and characters, similarly to the Fallout games.
- Companions will often comment on locations/objects, like talking about Fallbrook's reputation when you enter the city - Companions will interject in conversation if they know a character.
- You can talk to your companions at any time, and sometimes this will open up a new quest specifically for them. For example, at one point I talked to Nyoka and received a quest where I had to track down the grave of an old ally of hers, to dig up a precious item. The quest let me learn a bit more about Nyoka, but ultimately I wasn't able to finish it as the next step required me to go to a different planet, something I didn't have time for.
Thanks Farflame!

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August 8th, 2019, 12:38
I hate this insistence on having all characters killable. Yes, you can still convey plot information through notes and such but it deincentivises writers from investing in characters beyond their one related quest or area and takes away story potential just to cater to those people who constantly scream for devs at public demos to kill all the NPCs.
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August 8th, 2019, 17:45
I'm glad any npc can be killed and I wish they were harsher on the consequences so you really have to think twice before killing anyone and not do it just because you can. What's thus "offering alternative ways to convey quest info"? The handholding is real. I'm glad this game is doing it at least partially right instead of catering to a vocal casual minority because they are afraid that their actions might have consequences in a RPG and prefer to be babysit with locks and safeties even through a virtual RPG experience.

I was mostly sold but now I'm buying TOW for sure at launch, even if I have to deal with EGS crap.
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August 8th, 2019, 18:44
Originally Posted by TheSnarkyShaman View Post
cater to those people who constantly scream for devs at public demos to kill all the NPCs.
Those whiners are nonRPG audience coming from doomoids and counterstrikeoids.
Just ignore them, it's the minority.

On the other hand, if the game actively turns the world into a post apocaplypse emptyness after some genocidal tendencies of a player, well, that's not something bad, isn't it.
The sad thing would be if there is a respawner of trashmobs from thin air that doesn't allow such consequence.
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