If you’d prefer to play through Obsidian’s upcoming Fallout-like The Outer Worlds as an absolute murderous fiend, the game will apparently let you. According to Obsidian, it’s possible to kill everyone in the game—every companion, every quest giver, et cetera—and still make it to the end of the game.
Speaking to PCGamesN, Obsidian Senior Designer Brian Heins said one of the game’s producers prefers to play this way, even if it makes the game more difficult and much lonelier.
“Everyone who could be coming up as a companion, he kills, before they can do anything,” Heins told PCGamesN. “[You] can complete the game entirely that way, but it is [definitely] a much more challenging experience.”
As PCGamesN points out, the challenge in playing The Outer Worlds this way is most likely a result of making certain experience- or gear-rewarding quests unplayable, meaning players would have to grind more in order to level up and could miss out on powerful weapons and armor entirely. In an interview with Polygon, Heins added that making every NPC killable has been a challenge for the The Outer Worlds’ designers, as well, since Obsidian needs to create backups that can provide players with critical information if the NPC that would normally provide it is killed.
For example, Heins said, players could find information on a terminal entry or something they loot off the NPC’s body. Heins also said other NPCs’ dialogue has to change in order to account for killed NPCs. All this complexity can make for a system that takes a lot of work to get right, and while Heins told Polygon the team is “not perfect at it,” he hopes the developers have accounted for everything.
The fact that killing everyone is even possible in The Outer Worlds sets it apart from its Bethesda-developed inspirations, as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games often have unkillable NPCs that are vital to the plot in some way. Obsidian has been quite vocal about The Outer Worlds’ limited scope, but with features like this that emphasize player choice, it seems to instead be focusing on freedom and replayability. Our The Outer Worlds preview found that the game’s pre-live-service style seems to be a promising return to choice-driven, single-player RPG gameplay.