Outward, the open-world RPG that forces you to live with your failures, is finally getting a sequel

Released in 2019, Outward is “a gem of an RPG,” we said in our 89% review. It’s also an unusual one: It’s impossible to die in the game, but there’s also no fast-travel and it’s impossible to save-scum your way past trouble thanks to its mandatory auto-save system. It forces players to live with their failures and the consequences, which can be frustrating but also fodder for truly epic tales. “I love this game,” Chris Livingston wrote about his time with Outward. “I also, sometimes, hate this game.”

He mostly loved it, though. He’s the guy who scored it 89%, after all.

Anyway, it took five years but a sequel is finally on the way. Developer Nine Dots Studio announced today that Outward 2, following “in the footsteps of the original,” is now in development.

Like the first game, Outward 2 is an open-world RPG with support for two-player co-op. It promises a range of improvements over the original, including a larger, “more alive” world filled with non-combat encounters, and day/night cycles and seasonal weather that will have an impact on how NPCs behave. Character creation and progression are being overhauled, and combat is being refined to be more responsive and support dual-wielding, something “much requested” by fans.

And no, you will not be able to save your game or fast travel to get where you want to go. That’s a central part of the whole Outward experience, and Nine Dots Studio is keeping it that way.

“Those design decisions and many others were very polarizing, and I believe that this is what made our success,” Nine Dots Studio CEO Guillaume Boucher-Vidal told PC Gamer. “We are not trying to please everyone, we are trying to please a specific type of gamer that would be left out if we tried to cater to a broader audience. We chose to focus on immersion before convenience, and if we stopped doing that, it wouldn’t be worthy of being called Outward.”

Nine Dots is making one new concession to convenience in Outward 2, though: “We’re adding mules, which will allow you to carry around more equipment around to adapt to a variety of situations, so you won’t need to head back to town as often.”

The gaming scene has changed in the five years since Outward first appeared as major publishers have shifted their attention toward more free-to-play and live service games, and I wondered if it might be tougher these days for a small studio with a relatively niche project to find a place for itself. But Boucher-Vidal believes the opposite is true. 

“While a lot of game development studios shifted towards making games-as-a-service because they’re always on the hunt for the biggest win in the eye of shareholders, they left the door open for studios like us to fill in the hole,” he said. “We can see with the success of games like Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3 that there is still a massive audience who value the proposition of a game that doesn’t constantly beg you for more of your cash, more of your time.

“I’ve been repeating a lot lately that Nine Dots is about creating value for its players, not extracting value from them. I think it resonates especially with a more experienced audience, either because they grew up with the older model, or because they grew tired of games asking so much from them.”

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Because Outward was published by Deep Silver, Nine Dots initially gave thought to making the new game—which is being self-published—a spiritual successor under an entirely new title, “akin to how Dark Souls followed Demon’s Souls, or how Dying Light followed Dead Island.” In the end it opted for the sequel: “There was a lot left to explore within its lore and concepts, and I think the game’s fans will be thankful for that,” Boucher-Vidal said. “They deserve a sequel.”

Outward 2 is being developed for PC and consoles. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can wishlist it now on Steam.

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