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GoNintendo Feature: We chat with Obsidian about The Outer Worlds' journey to Switch

A Halcyonic effort
by rawmeatcowboy
26 May 2020
GN Version 5.0

We're just a a little over a week away from The Outer Worlds making its way to Switch. Obsidian teamed up with Virtuous to make this highly-anticipated port happen, and soon enough we'll all be able to check the game out for ourselves. While we count down the days to launch, let's dive into some discussion with Obsidian about how this all came together.

We had the opportunity to chat with Eric DeMilt, Production Director on The Outer Worlds at Obsidian, where we picked his brain for all sorts of juicy details. Check out our full discussion below!

GN: What made you decide to bring The Outer Worlds to Switch?

DeMilt: We are always excited to see our games on as many platforms as possible. Being game developers, there is a certain Nintendo/Switch fanbase on the team. The idea of having a Switch port was really exciting for us as fans and devs. I think the actual decision to move things forward came out of conversations between Nintendo and our publishing partners at Private Division.

GN: How long has the port been in the works?

DeMilt: I think we started working with Virtuous on the early stages of the prototype in February of 2019. Once they got Roseway up and running and playable on Switch dev kits, we began work on the full port.

GN: Does this version of the game include the same content as previously-released versions?

DeMilt: Yes, the Switch version and its Day 1 patch will contain all content and features, including font scaling, that can be found on other platforms.

GN: Will the Switch version include any extra features as compared to the versions already released?

DeMilt: We did take advantage of the Switch’s gyros to add motion input to help with aiming. We also exposed more input sensitivity controls to users in the settings, to help match aiming and movement to individual preferences and added sticky targeting to help with aiming for more casual players.

GN: How do the Switch's unique features enhance the experience?

DeMilt: As I previously mentioned, we added support for gyro input for players who enjoy using the motion of the handheld to assist with aiming. This is a unique add for the Switch, making targeting and combat easier, that is not supported by other platforms.

For me the biggest unique feature of the Switch is the ability to pick it up and take it anywhere and still have the same core game experience that you might have on other platforms.

GN: What was the toughest part of bringing the game over to Switch?

DeMilt: Ports to any secondary platform can be challenging. The biggest challenge was knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and unique differences between Switch hardware and our launch platforms. Rather than learn these lessons the hard way, porting the game internally, we partnered with a team at Virtuous who were familiar with our content and had a lot of experience porting and co-developing high-quality titles on Switch and other platforms.

GN: What areas of the Switch port are you particularly proud of?

DeMilt: To be honest, it is hard for me to point to any one area and say that’s the one. This will probably sound pretty generic, but in all honesty, I am most proud of the fact that a player can have the full, high-quality, experience of The Outer Worlds, but with the portability of the Switch hardware.

GN: Any suggestions for those venturing out into Halcyon for the first time?

DeMilt: I am probably the worst one to answer this question since I am a shoot first, ask questions later type of player… I’m the one Tim and Leonard are always telling stories about having to design around… But, that’s the great thing about The Outer Worlds. It’s an RPG where you have the freedom to play how you want to play. It’s a great setting with interesting NPCs and companions that is fun to explore and play in your own way. You’ll have as much fun exploring the world, delving into NPC and companion stories and motivations, and making your own decisions, as you will shooting your way through your problems.

While not specifically addressed in the interview, the team did let us know that they're "targeting 30 fps with a resolution of 720p in handheld and 1080p docked."

A huge thanks to Eric and the whole team at Obsidian for chatting with us! The Outer Worlds comes to Switch on June 5th, 2020, and you can pre-purchase the game right now.