Obsidian Entertainment has left Outer Worlds fans amused and confused at this year’s E3, with their comically self-aware Outer Worlds 2 reveal trailer. The tongue-in-cheek narration immediately opens by referring to themselves as an “old, wise sounding voice”, who then proceeds to poke fun at the classic reveal trailer conventions of AAA titles for the remainder of the trailer, in a similar self-deprecating vein. Complete with Hans Zimmer-esque BWAAAAHs and epic wide shots maxed out with lens flare, Obsidian’s Outer Worlds 2 trailer nails the generic reveal trailer tropes down to the last “pointless slow-mo shot”.
As we’ve seen for a few years now with the likes of Devolver Digital, sometimes the best way to get noticed amidst the overwhelming seriousness of the gaming industry, is to give fans a light chuckle. Many gamers have become discontented in recent times with the disingenuous practices of major game publishers (lootboxes, season passes, perpetual early access to name a few), and self-aware content like The Outer Worlds 2 trailer has become refreshingly welcome. The trailer even pokes fun at the fact that the developers haven’t “finished the story… or finished any gameplay that’s actually ready to show”; a snide commentary on aggressively early trailer pushes often seen in the modern video game market. Obsidian managed to weave in some genuinely witty, humorous writing into their trailer, avoiding the unfortunate fate of some 'funny' trailers which can feel forced and unfunny.
The Outer Worlds 2 trailer firmly sides with the jaded video game fan, who’s grown tired of the tropes so often seen in mainstream video marketing. Perhaps as more publishers begin to correctly identify that many gamers are feeling cynical about the corporate trajectory of gaming, we’ll see more content being produced of a similar vein, sparking more conversation surrounding these topics. For Obsidian the Outer Worlds 2 trailer has been a success, and we’ll likely be seeing more developers attempt to tap into a similar space within the gaming zeitgeist moving forward.