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Avowed Was Planned to Be Skyrim-Sized, but Obsidian Scaled Back to Focus on Its Strengths

Obsidian Entertainment explained that Avowed was planned to be the size of Skyrim, but the scale / scope tightened to be more like The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Entertainment made a big splash with its Avowed gameplay reveal at the Xbox Games Showcase yesterday, but players shouldn’t expect it to be the next Skyrim when it comes to size. Studio CEO Feargus Urquhart gave some insight into the fantasy RPG’s scope in an interview with PC Gamer. He explained that, while Obsidian did initially plan on delivering a Skyrim-sized adventure, the team eventually realized its strengths were better suited to building a great, structured RPG, so Avowed is now expected to be around the size and scale of the studio’s last open-world RPG, The Outer Worlds. This step back in scale is something that came naturally as the team honed in on smaller, more detailed stories and strong companion characters.

“I think over the course of time as we worked on it… Bethesda makes an awesome Skyrim. Mojang makes an awesome Minecraft, and Turn10 makes awesome racing games,” Urquhart said. “What we do is we make our awesome RPGs, right?”

Urquhart touched on Obsidian’s strong storytelling and world-building skills, calling back to the narrative featured in The Outer Worlds and the Pillars of Eternity series. For him, it made more sense for the studio to stick to its guns and focus on these elements for Avowed.

“We could go off and create an 8km x 8km open world and then deal with all the consequences of that — because that makes it a different style game,” Urquhart added. “But we want to tell more confined stories that the player can experience with their companions, and then move from part of the world to part of the world. And, like I said, in the end, that’s us.”

Avowed director Carrie Patel also shared some thoughts regarding Obsidian’s decision to reassess the game’s scale:

Every game development process for every title is this chain of ideation, iteration and polish. Sometimes you realize the way you’re building, it is not quite living up to the experience you want to create. And so, in iteration and refinement, you say, ‘Well, how do we create the experience that we want to deliver to players, and particularly as a studio? How do we deliver on what we’re really good at specifically?’

Avowed was revealed in 2020 as Obsidian’s first huge RPG under the Xbox Game Studios banner. It takes place in the world of Eora, the same universe as the developer’s Pillars of Eternity franchise. We’ll have a better idea of just how big Avowed is when it comes to PC via Steam, Xbox Series X | S, and Game Pass some time in 2024.

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Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.