Diving Deeper into the World of Avowed


At the recent Xbox Developer_Direct 2024 broadcast, Obsidian Entertainment shared its most comprehensive look yet at its upcoming fantasy-action RPG, Avowed.

But even that only scratched at the surface of what’s coming your way this fall. On today’s special episode of The Official Xbox Podcast, Avowed Game Director Carrie Patel and Gameplay Director Gabe Paramo shared an extended look at the quest showcased during Developer_Direct, providing more detail on the moment-to-moment experience of the flexible combat system, and where this side quest fits in the larger narrative of Avowed.

This latest look at Avowed gives us a good idea of what to expect from Shatterscarp, one part of the ecologically diverse island of The Living Lands, all in the same universe as Obsidian’s CRPG series Pillars of Eternity. But what makes Avowed a very ‘Obsidian game’ goes far beyond the commonality of setting in the world of Eora.

“It’s really about our player-centric approach to role play,” Patel shared during this week’s Podcast. “The way we really approach consequence and choice is giving players the opportunities to define who they are in this world, how they want to behave – what fantasy, what challenges they want to undertake.”

It’s all part of Obsidian’s “your worlds, your way” approach, and players will feel the weight of their choices moment-to-moment with every slash, parry, and spell cast.

What stands out is not just the variety of ways you can tackle combat – examples include the classic ‘sword and board [shield]’, samurai-esque sword and gun, and dual-wielding wands like a wizard in the Old West – but also how you’ll frequently want to (or need to) change your loadout to best suit what you find yourself up against. These loadouts are also complemented by skills, and Obsidian had a deep well of moves to pull from out of the Pillars of Eternity universe.

“We wanted to be able to grab as many abilities from the trees as possible – and categorize them a little bit differently so that the player doesn‘t feel locked into a single choice at the start of the game,” said Gabe Paramo, Gameplay Director. “They can mix and match between different abilities to get some variety. You can commit to being a fighter, but it’s not an enforced class setup.” And if you want to try out a new suite of abilities, you can always respec your character.

Companions all have deep ties to different regions of the Living Lands, and they all have their own personal reasons for wanting to ally with the player.

Gabe Paramo, Gameplay Director

Paramo cited another devious combo: “With ‘Into the Fray,’ you can use a fireball ability that creates an AOE [area of effect] ability on the ground, and then pull the enemy into the fire.”

It’s all part of a comprehensive elemental system that comes into play both in and out of combat. Paramo continues, “you can light guys on fire, you can freeze them, you can shock them, you have objects in the environment you can interact with. They’re not just on weapons, on wands – you might find it on swords, certain abilities might cause elemental damage. And your companions [can] as well.”

Patel shared more about those companions – your hero won’t be wandering the Living Lands alone. “They all have deep ties to different regions of the Living Lands, and they all have their own personal reasons for wanting to ally with the player and help them resolve the big conflicts that you’re encountering over the course of the game. They’re your allies – in some ways your advisors, your local guides. They provide a lot of additional commentary and context that reveals something about their character, but also about the corner of the world you’re exploring.”

They’re also your allies in battle; Kai, who we saw in the Developer_Direct, played a tanky role, drawing aggro, while Giatta, who also makes an appearance, keeps the party healed up. Expect to meet more in your journeys across the Living Lands.

‘Playing your way’ expands beyond moment-to-moment action; as demonstrated in the Developer_Direct, you’ll be making meaningful decisions that affect the story.

One of the big delights of being a developer on a game like this is creating so much for players to find, and knowing that… not everybody’s gonna find it.

Carrie Patel, Game Director

“For us, creating these choices, like the big ones that affect the outcome of a quest, or the wellbeing of certain characters or communities are just as important as the smaller choices that you make in navigating a dialogue and, in subtle ways, influencing your relationship with another character,” said Patel. “All of it is really centered around letting the player be the main character in this setting.”

It’s important to note that for all we’ve now seen of Avowed, there’s much, much more to explore throughout the Living Lands. In fact, the specific quest in Shatterscarp we covered “is entirely discoverable, which means it’s also entirely missable.” In terms of scope of the game, Paramo compares with another recent Obsidian title, “it’s open-zone, size comparable to The Outer Worlds areas on the larger side, and [with] multiple paths essentially to tackle combat situations, or avoid them.”

According to Patel, sharp-eyed players will have much more to seek out throughout their time with Avowed: “One of the big delights of being a developer on a game like this is creating so much for players to find, and knowing that not everybody’s going to seek it out, and not everybody’s gonna find it, but knowing that the players who do are really going to enjoy the secrets they discover.”

Avowed launches this fall on Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC – for more information please visit the Avowed website

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