The Outer Worlds came at the time when Fallout 76 kept severely disappointing its players under Bethesda’s decisions and patch releases.
Amidst the disaster, Obsidian promised the gamer community something that echoed a highly lauded Fallout: New Vegas (developed by Obsidian and published by Bethesda in 2010). The Outer Worlds’ proposal at the time involved an alternative solar system and space travel, so it made the project even more exciting to prospective players.
Obsidian had to work from an awkward place of an entity with a history of big game titles on its shoulders, while working with a smaller publisher (Private Division), and being recently purchased by Microsoft in 2018. Obsidian also had some tension in its recent history. Fallout: New Vegas, at the time, failed to meet Bethesda’s standard with its reviews on Metacritic, which put Obsidian at risk with South Park: The Stick of Truth. The project worked out at the end, but at the time, due to the nature of the game and Obsidian’s low funding, it could bankrupt the company.
Obsidian is clearly not entirely self-sustainable as of yet, which is obvious from its (successful) reliance on crowdfunding and cooperation with publishers like Paradox Interactive and Private Division. Thankfully, Microsoft’s interest and support behind Obsidian’s new projects have allowed the company to produce a game such as The Outer Worlds, and the resulting success will hopefully encourage them to retain their creative freedom moving forward.
Nonetheless, The Outer Worlds got 94% from Google users, 86% from Metacritic, 8.5/10 on IGN, and 79% on PC Gamer, as of January 2020. It is mostly discussed in positive or very positive light when it comes to the social media, albeit some individuals found it harder to enjoy the game alongside Disco Elysium and were careful in giving The Outer Worlds too much credit for simply not being Fallout 76. The game even got nominated for four awards at The Game Awards 2019, even though Obsidian didn’t win in any of the categories.
Overall, the reception of The Outer Worlds was very positive, and Obsidian got a lot of publicity with their efforts; enough for them to work on an expansion for The Outer Worlds and immediately take on Grounded as the next project. Combined with the success of Pillars of Eternity franchise, Obsidian is getting a positive association with nostalgia games and polished storylines, which hopefully will keep them afloat as they release more titles to secure their place in the industry.