Avowed: The Official Xbox Podcast Shows Off Extended Gameplay

Avowed Hero Image

At the recent Xbox Developer_Direct 2024 broadcast, Obsidian Entertainment shared its most comprehensive look yet at its upcoming fantasy-action RPG, Avowed.  

But even that only scratched at the surface of what’s coming your way this fall. On today’s special episode of The Official Xbox Podcast, Avowed Game Director Carrie Patel and Gameplay Director Gabe Paramo shared an extended look at the quest showcased during Developer_Direct, providing more detail on the moment-to-moment experience of the flexible combat system, and where this side quest fits in the larger narrative of Avowed

This latest look at Avowed gives us a good idea of what to expect from Shatterscarp, one part of the ecologically diverse island of The Living Lands, all in the same universe as Obsidian’s CRPG series Pillars of Eternity. But what makes Avowed a very ‘Obsidian game’ goes far beyond the commonality of setting in the world of Eora. 

“It’s really about our player-centric approach to role play,” Patel shared during this week’s Podcast. “The way we really approach consequence and choice is giving players the opportunities to define who they are in this world, how they want to behave – what fantasy, what challenges they want to undertake.”  

It’s all part of Obsidian’s “your worlds, your way” approach, and players will feel the weight of their choices moment-to-moment with every slash, parry, and spell cast.  

Avowed Companions Image

What stands out is not just the variety of ways you can tackle combat – examples include the classic ‘sword and board [shield]’, samurai-esque sword and gun, and dual-wielding wands like a wizard in the Old West – but also how you’ll frequently want to (or need to) change your loadout to best suit what you find yourself up against. These loadouts are also complemented by skills, and Obsidian had a deep well of moves to pull from out of the Pillars of Eternity universe.  

“We wanted to be able to grab as many abilities from the trees as possible – and categorize them a little bit differently so that the player doesn‘t feel locked into a single choice at the start of the game,” said Gabe Paramo, Gameplay Director. “They can mix and match between different abilities to get some variety. You can commit to being a fighter, but it’s not an enforced class setup.” And if you want to try out a new suite of abilities, you can always respec your character. 

We saw great examples of this in the Developer_Direct: dual-wielding wands served as effective crowd control when a group of smaller Xaurips swarmed the player. But in a more one-on-one encounter with a slightly larger enemy, using an ice-imbued wand to freeze an enemy, then shattering the newly-frozen block with a charged power attack of an off-hand sword was supremely effective. 

Paramo cited another devious combo: “With ‘Into the Fray,’ you can use a fireball ability that creates an AOE [area of effect] ability on the ground, and then pull the enemy into the fire.” 

It’s all part of a comprehensive elemental system that comes into play both in and out of combat. Paramo continues, “you can light guys on fire, you can freeze them, you can shock them, you have objects in the environment you can interact with. They’re not just on weapons, on wands – you might find it on swords, certain abilities might cause elemental damage. And your companions [can] as well.” 

Patel shared more about those companions – your hero won’t be wandering the Living Lands alone. “They all have deep ties to different regions of the Living Lands, and they all have their own personal reasons for wanting to ally with the player and help them resolve the big conflicts that you’re encountering over the course of the game. They’re your allies – in some ways your advisors, your local guides. They provide a lot of additional commentary and context that reveals something about their character, but also about the corner of the world you’re exploring.”  

Avowed Combat Image

They’re also your allies in battle; Kai, who we saw in the Developer_Direct, played a tanky role, drawing aggro, while Giatta, who also makes an appearance, keeps the party healed up. Expect to meet more in your journeys across the Living Lands. 

‘Playing your way’ expands beyond moment-to-moment action; as demonstrated in the Developer_Direct, you’ll be making meaningful decisions that affect the story.  

“For us, creating these choices, like the big ones that affect the outcome of a quest, or the wellbeing of certain characters or communities are just as important as the smaller choices that you make in navigating a dialogue and, in subtle ways, influencing your relationship with another character,” said Patel. “All of it is really centered around letting the player be the main character in this setting.” 

It’s important to note that for all we’ve now seen of Avowed, there’s much, much more to explore throughout the Living Lands. In fact, the specific quest in Shatterscarp we covered “is entirely discoverable, which means it’s also entirely missable.” In terms of scope of the game, Paramo compares with another recent Obsidian title, “it’s open-zone, size comparable to The Outer Worlds areas on the larger side, and [with] multiple paths essentially to tackle combat situations, or avoid them.” 

According to Patel, sharp-eyed players will have much more to seek out throughout their time with Avowed: “One of the big delights of being a developer on a game like this is creating so much for players to find, and knowing that not everybody’s going to seek it out, and not everybody’s gonna find it, but knowing that the players who do are really going to enjoy the secrets they discover.” 

Avowed launches this fall on Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC – for more information please visit the Avowed website

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Welcome to the Living Lands, a mysterious island filled with adventure and danger. Set in the fictional world of Eora that was first introduced to players in the Pillars of Eternity franchise, Avowed is a first-person fantasy action RPG from the award-winning team at Obsidian Entertainment. You are the envoy of Aedyr, a distant land, sent to investigate rumors of a spreading plague throughout the Living Lands – an island full of mysteries and secrets, danger and adventure, and choices and consequences, and untamed wilderness. You discover a personal connection to the Living Lands and an ancient secret that threatens to destroy everything. Can you save this unknown frontier and your soul from the forces threatening to tear them asunder? The Weird and Wonderful Living Lands The Living Lands is a place that feels foreign yet somewhat intrinsic to you as it feels the island itself is calling out to you for help. Explore an island home to many different environments and landscapes, each with their own unique ecosystem. Visceral Combat to Play Your Way Mix and match swords, spells, guns, and shields to fight your way. Dig into your grimoire for spells to trap, freeze or burn enemies, bash them with your shield, or use range bows to attack from a distance. Companions as part of your journey Companions from a spread of species will fight alongside you, with their own unique set of abilities. From a former mercenary to an eccentric wizard, they will be part of your journey with your choices shaping them as you help them with their quests.