Avowed is looking like it will be one of the most exciting first-person RPGs of the new console generation. It's just a shame we still don't know much about it.
Obsidian routinely makes some of the best Western RPGs in the business, and hopefully its newest title, Avowed, won't be any exception. It was first announced during Microsoft's July 23 Xbox Series X gaming showcase, and Obsidian managed to captivate fans with nothing but a short trailer and some cryptic information on a website.
What we know definitively about Avowed so far is minimal. It will be a fantasy RPG; it will take place in the same world as Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity series; it will be out on the Xbox Series X as well as the PC. Read on to learn everything we know about Avowed so far, and what we're excited to learn next.
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Avowed release date
Microsoft didn't hint at any kind of release date for Avowed during the July 23 event. Likewise, Avowed's official website says nothing about when to expect the game. The trailer doesn't list a release month, quarter or even year. As such, all we have on our side is a little deductive reasoning.
First of all, Avowed will probably not be out this year. Obsidian is not a huge studio, and it's already working on another game, Grounded, which is already available in early access. Getting Grounded finalized is probably the studio's first priority. Furthermore, if Avowed were in a state to in late 2020, we probably would have seen more from a trailer than just a prerendered cutscene.
Looking at Obsidian's publication history, however, doesn't really simplify matters. The company has gone as many as four years between major releases (Neverwinter Nights 2 in 2006, then Alpha Protocol in 2010), or as little as five months (Alpha Protocol in May 2010, followed by Fallout: New Vegas in October 2010).
Since the game is set in Eora, the world from the Pillars of Eternity games, perhaps it would make more sense to look at the PIllars of Eternity release schedule instead. The first game came out in 2015, and the second came out in 2018, suggesting that we could get another one in 2021. However, Avowed doesn't seem to be a direct sequel to Pillars of Eternity II, and since it requires a totally different gameplay engine (real-time first person gameplay instead of real-time-with-pause isometric), three years could be optimistic.
For the moment, let's say that Avowed could come out in late 2021, or sometime in 2022. We'll know for sure once Obsidian knows for sure.
In case you missed the Avowed trailer at the July event, here it is once again:
There's not a whole lot to go on. A group of archers fight off a bunch of skeletal warriors, while an adventurer in a dungeon gears up to fight a monster with both magic and a sword. The narration is vague — something about a war and an oath. There doesn't seem to be any direct connection to the previous two Pillars of Eternity games just yet.
Obsidian describes Avowed as "our next epic first-person RPG set in the fantasy world of Eora." Based on the trailer, Avowed has a distinctly Elder Scrolls vibe, with a protagonist who can wield both melee weapons and magic — one in each hand, if desired. If we had to guess, we'd say that combat will be in real time, and you can probably customize your character both aesthetically and mechanically to suit your play style. (This was the case in both the Elder Scrolls and the Pillars of Eternity series.)
Beyond that, we'll have to wait for a trailer that shows off the gameplay in action. My best guess is "Skyrim gameplay in the Pillars of Eternity setting," but it's pretty hard to judge from a single screenshot. If Avowed does take inspiration from the Elder Scrolls, expect an open world with lots of side content. If it sticks closer to the Pillars of Eternity formula, well, still expect an open world with lots of side content, but in a more focused format.
We do know, at least, for which systems Avowed will be available. The game's website states that it will be available for Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PCs. Apparently, this will not be one of the next-gen games that also releases on the Xbox One. However, it will be available as part of Xbox Game Pass. Since we know that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Project xCloud will have some cross-compatibility, you may also be able to play Avowed on tablets, mobile phones and non-gaming PCs. A PS5 release does not seem likely, since Obsidian is a Microsoft studio.
While it's impossible to say for sure what the main story in Avowed will be, if it takes place in the world of Eora, there's a decent chance that it will pick up on story threads from the first two Pillars of Eternity games.
Giving a succinct plot summary of Pillars of Eternity is difficult, since both games are quite long and involved, and the story can change considerably depending on your choices. (You need to import or recreate a save file to play Pillars of Eternity II, as the first game doesn't even have a "default" ending.) Here's the short, short version, however:
In both games, you play as a "Watcher," or an adventurer who can see into people's past lives. In the world of Eora, souls move eternally through a great Wheel, which reincarnates them after death and generally keeps gods, mortals and the world in balance. A sorcerer named Thaos ix Arkannon, who is capable of remembering his past lives, attempts to thwart the Wheel; how you deal with him is up to you.
In Pillars of Eternity II, a god named Eothas, previously thought dead, inhabits a giant statue, destroys your keep and makes his way to the Deadfire Archipelago. There, you must captain an independent ship and navigate the complicated politics of wealthy trade companies, exploited natives and profiteering pirates. You eventually learn that Eothas's goal is to destroy the Wheel and let mortal races flourish without the help of the gods — although again, how the game ends is largely up to you.
That's all the information we have about Avowed at the moment. If you absolutely can't wait to play it, both the Elder Scrolls and Pillars of Eternity series are available on a variety of consoles and PC digital storefronts, and they seem like good places to start.