Leonard Boyarsky, Tim Cain, Activision, a new RPG and a blockbuster title have a not-so-great point in history. Considering their The Outer Worlds is coming out on the same day as Activision's CoD: Modern Warfare, RPG's potential success could send a powerful message to the publisher.
The Outer Worlds is releasing on 25 October 2019, the same day Activision's heavy hitter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is. At first glance, there isn't much to connect these two titles but those with longer memory, or will to hold a grudge might remember an iconic release that happened on 16 November 2004, just under 15 years ago.
Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, the great minds that contributed to the wild success Fallout and Fallout 2 enjoyed, split from Interplay years prior and formed their own studio, Troika Games. It shelled out only three games before closing but that last one turned out to be Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.
As you may know by now, the game is still on many lips even in 2019 and the fans are updating it decade and a half later. Despite its following and popularity, Bloodlines never turned out to be a great success. The two most cited reasons for this are that the game came out too early, in an unfinished state, and that it released on the same day as Valve's behemoth, Half-Life 2.
The release date was partially influenced by Troika and Valve's contract regarding the utilisation of Source engine, which mandated Bloodlines couldn't be released before Half-Life 2. On the other hand, despite the initial plans to release in Spring 2005 and avoid steep competition that included Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Halo 2 on top of Half-Life 2, it was the publisher Activision who moved the release to November 2004.
Bloodlines severely underperformed commercially as a result, Half-Life 2 took all the glory and Troika were left without a publisher for their next title. Less than a year later, the studio closed its doors.
Fast forward 15 years, Obsidian Entertainment are releasing The Outer Worlds, the brainchild of Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, on the same day when Activision's big earner Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is supposed to come.
Should this RPG prove to be successful in face of Activision's giant release, it could potentially turn into a statement for the developers whose previous flawed but brilliant creation was trampled due to rushed push on the shelves, orchestrated by the publisher.
Judging by the critic scores so far, The Outer Worlds could very well pull this off. It has already lifted one stigma from Obsidian when it scored 85 or more on Metacritic.