Industry insider and luminary leaker Jeff Grubb hosts a weekly podcast with giant bomb where he goes into detail with all the goings-on he has heard in the industry.
In the latest episode of Grubbsnaxx, he went into some rather fascinating details about Project Missouri, the non-violent RPG from Obsidian led by the fantastic writer and game director Josh Sawyer. Jeff said that he heard the game is going to remain focused on a small team developing it but they are wanting to focus on experimental mechanics and interactions with characters.
The game will be set in 16th-century Europe and will retain its non-combat mantra, instead focussing on the main character solving murder mysteries and being able to successfully investigate the murder, construct a proper case with observations, interrogations, and evidence before coming to a conclusion and accusing the correct perpetrators, but if you fail you will have to suffer through the consequences.
RPG mechanics will still be very much present in the game but it sounds like perception, charisma, and intelligence will be the main focus over traditional RPGs which value strength, marksmanship, and other combat-orientated skillsets. Lastly, he said the game could be ready to launch in 2022 (COVID has been messing up a lot of timelines).
This does line up with previous tidbits about Project Missouri. For instance, in 2016 Josh Sawyer himself said on his personal blog during a fan Q&A he would like to work in a traditional human history setting for his next project, not wanting to always work within high fantasy and sci-fi settings. He also talked about how studio head Feargus Urquhart was supportive of the idea.
In 2020 when most assumed he was working on Avowed, the next big AAA project after 2019s The Outer Worlds, Sawyer took to Twitter to correct fans that he was indeed working on something else that he himself was directing.
And recently there have been rumblings that Obsidian wants to release 7 games in 7 years, which is an ambitious target. Not all those games are going to be AAA high budget games as they take time and massive energy to get 100% right so it would make sense that smaller experimental titles like Grounded and Project Missouri can fill the gap between 2019s The Outer Worlds, 2023s (projected) Avowed and The Outer Worlds Sequel by 2026. In fact, this model can be seen in a lot of the newly acquired studios under the Xbox umbrella, with playground games opening a second team to work on Fable, Rare focussing new teams on new gameplay mechanics like the anticipated Everwild or InXiles multi-team approach to prototyping of new games one of which may be ready to announce soon.
It appears the future of interesting and experimental RPGs under the Xbox banner is bright. Personally, I can’t wait to see Josh Sawyer’s game, and hopefully, we will see a trailer as early as next year. When that happens keep checking back with xboxera.com for the news or drop by our forums.