Ninedots Studios was founded back in 2011 with the goal of pushing the potential that games have to offer. Their first two games – Brand and GoD Factory: Wingmen – were both well received, with GoD Factory getting greenlit on Steam and published by Bandai Namco; however, their next project, Outward, looks to be their most ambitious project yet and a big step towards their goal.
Outward is an unique take on the open world RPG genre. It doesn’t tell the story of a young knight and his rise to prominence or the leader of an army facing an impossible threat, just a story about you. Who you are in Outward is quite simple, you are an adventurer living life in the land of Aurai. That is what makes Outward such an intriguing prospect, it gives you the freedom to do what you want and play how you want.
There is a big, beautiful world for you to explore with four different biomes within it. Two different mountain regions with varying weather and enemies, a desert region that has extremely warm and cold temperatures depending on the time of day, and a marsh that has poisonous waters. The changes in the weather in the game will also change the way you go about navigating the world. Your character is effected by extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and you will want to pack appropriate clothes for the right conditions.
Your pack is something that is unique to the game as well. Backpacks will vary quite a bit in size and will effect your characters movement. If you carry around a large pack you will be able to fit more loot and supplies with you but you will be sluggish while carrying it. You will be able to remove your backpack and explore and fight without it on but you run the risk of losing it.
These types of mechanics are why Outward has my interest piqued. The world feels very much alive in a way that many RPGs haven’t explored yet. For example, if it snows during the winter, snow will actually accumulate on the ground. You will also see events that take place in real time; so if someone were to ask you for help and you decide to continue on with other things, that person doesn’t just stay there waiting for you to come back they carry on with the task without you. Sprinkle in survival elements, dungeons to explore and towns to explore, and you have a game that could help lead the RPG genre forward to new depths.
Hopefully Ninedots desire and efforts to test what games can be inspires other studios to test the boundaries of not just the open world genre, but all types of games. I would highly recommend checking out some gameplay so you can see some of what Outward has to offer before it drops on March 26th (which you can find here).