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- The Outer Worlds
Politics in video games has been a pretty hot topic in the industry, especially in the modern era of gaming. This includes Obsidian’s upcoming RPG, The Outer Worlds, where corporations are colonizing and terraforming planets across the universe. Despite that, co-director Leonard Boyarsky said that the game will not be overtly “politically charged.”
From an interview conducted by Video Game Chronicle, The Outer Worlds explores the “dark side” of capitalism, but is being “very careful” not to “lecture” its players on that theme. On the subject of capitalism, Boyarsky said, “I like money: I’m not against capitalism and in a lot of ways I’m happy with our society.” However, he recognized its downfalls saying, “But, of course, there are a lot of ways in which it could be improved.”
Although this dark side of capitalism is central to the game’s plot, The Outer Worlds isn’t supposed to be a commentary on modern capitalism, rather on “power and how power is used against people who don’t have it.” This theme, as exemplified in a few trailers for the game, is portrayed comically poking fun at the situation.
“I don’t want people to think this is a really hard, politically charged game,” Boyarsky further explaining the theme of The Outer Worlds. “It’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be humorous.”
Boyarsky also suggests that the characters in the game aren’t necessarily representations of his own beliefs. “There are people in this game who have philosophies that I don’t agree with and I take pains to make those people very likable, very sensible and very believable,” Boyarsky explained about the writing process of some of the characters. “Then there are people in the game who say things I agree with, who are perhaps not very nice to hang out with.”
Boyarsky’s explanation about The Outer World‘s political agenda, or lack thereof, mirrors Massive Entertainment’s own explanation about how The Division 2 “cannot be openly political.” Both are games that include politics but are not politically-driven experiences.
But just because a developer or publisher states that its game isn’t political, doesn’t mean it won’t be in some regard. Players can take away what they will from games and creators often say these kinds of things to not dissuade certain people from buying their game. After all, a commentary on capitalism and exploring power between people is inherently going to have something to say regardless of what “side” it appears to take or what any one developer insists.