“Every Game Needs Fancy Hats:” A Chat with The Outer Worlds Art Director Daniel Alpert

Dan Alpert shares pearls of wisdom from designing the wild world of Halcyon.

The Outer Worlds is a game I got very, very into this past fall. Obsidian’s Fallout-style RPG boasted a satirical storyline in a corporate-controlled space colony teeming with malfeasance, greed, and shoddy company towns. The whole thing is a big, fun, anti-corporate adventure with your best pals (well, Parvati and Ellie were my best pals, anyway), and a unique visual style.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Art Director Daniel Alpert recently to talk about the game’s architecture, style, and personality, and how the team used visual language to make a world that both makes sense to navigate and imparts narrative cues. The overall sense I got was positive — The Outer Worlds was by no means an easy game to make, but it sounds like it was creatively fulfilling to work on.

You can hear the whole thing here on a special bonus episode of Fanwidth (note, this is a recording of a phone interview, so the quality is more “Audio dump truck,” but normalized).

One of my favorite tidbits came when I asked Alpert about the creative process behind creating all the wacky brands in the game, like the knock-off brand Spacer’s Choice (slogan: it’s not the best choice, it’s Spacer’s Choice!”) or the candy-hued Rizzo’s corp. Alpert described a collaboration between the art team and the narrative team that bore some especially fun fruit.

“I would say that’s probably some of the most fun we had on the project,” Alpert said, when asked about all that branding. “We had a general list of items that we knew we wanted to brand, and then, the narrative team, in all their brilliance,  would come up with these fantastic slogans… these out-there ideas. That would create this weird catalyst and all these ideas to play with and run with! Yeah, we just kept riffing off of that to make these fun designs.”

Spacer’s Choice and Auntie Cleo were two of the first companies to make the cut.

the outer worlds fallbrook

Alpert also told me about what sounds like the best chat room ever at Obsidian, pics and words, that the devs on the narrative and concept teams use for brainstorming. Pics and words!

Check out the full interview for much, much more!

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