The Stranger

Or: why I find “The Outer Worlds” so compelling.

image of Vicar Max DeSoto asking, "What's occupying your thoughts?"
Lots of things, Max, lots of things.

Warning: contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t played the game, proceed with care. (If you haven’t played it, you should absolutely play it.)

I had an epiphany as to why The Outer Worlds has taken over my brain. You see, I’ve always been pretty weird. As a kid, I was always an outsider. I had a friend or two, but not too many – I just never fit in: interested in too many odd things, strange sense of humor. You know those kids who aren’t in the in-group, but are members of a very closely-knit (but very small) clique of weirdos? Yeah, that was me.

Now mind you, although childhood was pretty painful at times, I don’t regret it a bit. I like being odd. I just feel like someone out of time and place at times, and especially as a kid, when it was harder to realize what was going on and I had less experience dealing with it.

So along comes The Outer Worlds, and your main character is literally a person who is out of time and place. They are the ultimate outsider, trying to figure out what’s going on and what it is that motivates the people they encounter, and what their role in it all is.

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re a total badass with physics-bending abilities. But what’s the absolute best about this game is the extent to which you interact with the companions and factions. You have the option of playing a character who takes a side with the Powers That Be, or someone who fights the system, but in either case, you can build up a crew of non-player-characters who will (in most cases) stick to you, thick and thin. They go to Hell (well, Tartarus) with you. And depending on how you’ve interacted with the factions, they show up, too, and it was simply amazing, that moment when I realized they were all rushing into the breach with me.

Because they believe in you. You, the weird, other-worldly, dangerous stranger. How could anyone who grew up being a strange outsider NOT love this game and — more importantly — see those similar moments in their own, real lives? So I’m grateful to Obsidian and Private Division & all the actors & artists who put this together. It has been grand. :_ )