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Avowed gameplay details finally surface — Elder Scrolls meets Outer Worlds

avowed
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Avowed is one of the upcoming Xbox games that we’re looking forward to the most. The game is a first-person RPG; it comes courtesy of veteran developer Obsidian; it takes place in the Pillars of Eternity universe. However, the world of Avowed suddenly seems a lot more detailed, thanks to a very, very early look at the gameplay, courtesy of an inside source.

Jez Corden, a senior editor at our fellow Future site Windows Central, wrote up some extremely detailed impressions of an early Avowed build, thanks to his relationship with “trusted and proven sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans for the future of Xbox.” While Tom’s Guide advises a skeptical eye for any and all gaming leaks, both Corden and Windows Central are proven, reputable sources. It seems fair to say that Corden’s coverage is reliable, as these things go.

At present, Avowed seems to be playable, albeit still in a pre-alpha state. As the last year's announcement trailer suggested, the game takes place in a first-person perspective, and lets you choose a weapon or magic spell for each of your hands. Some of the spells should be familiar to Pillars of Eternity fans, such as Jolting Touch (lightning), Fireball (self-explanatory) and Fetid Caress (poison). Some of these spells may require either one or two hands to pull off, depending on their complexity. Melee and ranged characters will have a variety of options as well, including swords, arrows and guns. Instead of casting spells, physical-focused classes will use weapon-based special attacks.

With its real-time combat, first-person gameplay and focus on assigning skills to different hands, Corden asserts that “Avowed is undoubtedly Obsidian’s take on The Elder Scrolls.” Obsidian already has a significant amount of experience crafting first-person RPGs in original settings; just look at its 2019 hit The Outer Worlds. However, whether Avowed will be more like The Elder Scrolls — a true open world — or more like The Outer Worlds — large areas connected to central hubs, with a more linear story — Corden couldn’t say.

Even so, Avowed doesn’t seem to be just The Elder Scrolls (or The Outer Worlds) with a Pillars of Eternity skin. The game has destructible environments and subtle fire effects, as well as a bigger focus on character classes, as opposed to simply choosing skills.

It’s important to bear in mind that Avowed is still early on it its development process, and everything we’ve learned so far is subject to change. The game doesn’t yet have a solid release date, which means that even if the pre-alpha version proceeds in an unbroken, straight line to a final product (this never happens), the full release could still be years away.

Furthermore, the pre-alpha gameplay doesn’t tell us what to expect from the game’s story or characters. Avowed could be a direct continuation of the first two Pillars of Eternity games, a completely separate adventure in a far-off corner of the same world or something in-between.

In any case, now that Windows Central has shared some important game details with us, hopefully Obsidian and Microsoft will soon follow suit. We liked what we saw in a minute-long Avowed teaser; a deeper dive would probably not go amiss.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.