Obsidian’s next RPG Avowed won’t have the option to do ‘a pure pacifist run’

Discovering just how many pacifist choices you could make in the original Fallout was a delight, because not only were you allowed to talk or sneak your way out of problems, but the game recognized you were doing that and rewarded you for it. Subsequent RPGs and immersive sims sprinkled peaceful options in, but an entirely pacifist playthrough often ends up being a masochistic challenge that feels more like you’re breaking the game than playing it. Just have a look how much of a hassle it is beating The Outer Worlds as a pacifist.

Given that Avowed is drawing inspiration from Vermintide’s best-in-class first-person combat, it’s no surprise that Obsidian’s upcoming RPG won’t let you go 100% nonviolent. Speaking to PC Gamer this week, game director Carrie Patel said, “This isn’t a game where you’re gonna have a pure pacifist run.”

That doesn’t mean spilling blood will be the only way to clear your questlog, however. You’ll still be able to talk your way out of some problems, like you could in Pillars of Eternity. “Players can expect to see solutions and opportunities to use dialogue, maybe take advantage of reactivity with regards to characters they might have helped or met earlier in,” Patel went on, mentioning there will be “some stealth solutions,” but players should expect a “focus on combat.”

During development of The Outer Worlds, Obsidian experimented with adding a knockout gun to help facilitate less murdery playstyles, but ended up scrapping it because, as Tim Cain said in NoClip’s documentary, “it was causing a lot of confusion.” Players weren’t sure how long enemies would stay unconscious for, and what does it mean to knock out a robot anyway? Plus, when bounties task you with collecting people’s fingers, should you be able to knock them out and take them?

Though Avowed won’t let you go full Gandhi, it sounds like giving you freedom in how it lets you explore and approach problems is one of Obsidian’s aims. “We’re not planning on one specific linear path that players are going to take through that world,” Patel said. “So we’re trying to account for the various places they could be, and the various points of interest they might find and what they might see from there.”

We also found out that Avowed’s companions won’t ditch you for making the wrong choices, and that Avowed is embracing Skyrim-like ability trees rather than classes. As announced during the recent Xbox Developer Direct show, it’ll be out this fall.