During the recent Xbox Developer Direct, we were treated to a deeper look at how Obsidian’s upcoming RPG, Avowed, will handle player choice via a close look at a certain sidequest. But that left us wondering: what’s the natural endpoint of a game emphasizing choice? Will Avowed have multiple endings?
I was able to learn the answer to that by speaking to game director Carrie Patel not long after the direct, where she confirmed that yes, Avowed will indeed have multiple endings. Obviously! “I mean it’s an Obsidian game,” she said. “What else would we be if we didn’t have a few different endings?”
Patel didn’t specify further about how many endings there would be or how different they would be from one another, but we did talk further about how player choice could be expressed in the game, and how players will experience it. Patel tells me that it’s not just about pushing dominos – one event happens somewhere every time the player does something. What matters more is player expression, and how the player understands and interprets the world reacting to them, especially in a game where parts of the world are open and players may not see every single reaction or interaction.
“You have to approach it with a degree of range, both in the spread and placement of those consequences and also the nature of those consequences,” she says. “Some things need to have surprising but believable outcomes. If everything plays out exactly as you expect, it could feel a little boring. And at the same time, not every quest needs to have world-ending consequences. Some absolutely do have huge impacts for the characters in the world around you, but sometimes the story you’re experiencing is just a very deeply personal one for the characters involved. And that’s okay too.
“I think the great thing about RPGs is there’s a lot of room for that spread in terms of the tone and type and scope and nature of content. And so you’re giving players a big world where they can find a lot of very different experiences that all sort of add up to their experience as the protagonist of this game.”
It won’t be much longer before we’ll get to see exactly what choices Obsidian has in store, as Avowed got a 2024 release window recently. It was first teased back in 2020 with more footage shown at a 2023 Xbox showcase. We also spoke to Patel about why Avowed is foregoing romances to focus on different kinds of companion relationships, and why players can only pick an elf or a human in the character creator.
Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to email@example.com.