There are all kinds of speedrunning strategies out there, from finding ways outside the boundaries of the game world to manipulating seemingly random elements for favourable outcomes. Some of the most interesting utilise legitimate gameplay mechanics in interesting ways. In The Outer Worlds, for instance, a decent chunk of time can be saved by simply making your character a complete buffoon.
Dedicated players have been hard at work lowering their times in The Outer Worlds over the past few days, with Twitch streamer Jabo being the most consistent. Earlier today, he posted a brand new world-record time of just over 20 minutes, and it’s likely he’ll push that even lower with repeated attempts. As with most speedruns, Jabo’s world record couples precise execution with in-depth knowledge of the game—but near the end, it’s all about having the dumbest character possible.
The Outer Worlds allows players a good deal of freedom during character creation. This includes the ability to lower stats in addition to improving them, which means it’s possible to turn the protagonist into a physical weakling to make room for enhanced shooting prowess or even dumbing them down so much that it affects the way they speak to NPCs. By setting the main character’s intelligence to “below average” while building out their stats, several humorous dialogue options become available over the course of the game, one of which skips a portion of the endgame.
At a point late in The Outer Worlds, players return to the Hope, the colony ship from which they were saved at the beginning of the game. After ADA, the AI that accompanies the player through much of the game, is patched into the ship’s computers, they’ll be given a set of choices as to what to do next. These all involve skipping—the Outer Worlds term for faster-than-light travel—the Hope to a new location, and upon choosing one, the player can tell ADA that they plan to handle the skipping themselves.
ADA is wary of this option, seeing as it’s a highly technical process best left to supercomputers. With high enough intelligence and science skills, a character can easily handle it. But those with low enough intelligence are given a ‘dumb’ option: “Stand back, ADA. I know numbers real good.”
And, despite a bit of back and forth between ADA and the Hope, the player is allowed to do so. They promptly steer the Hope directly into a nearby star, destroying the ship and killing everyone on board. This also nets the player an achievement labelled ‘Sunburn.’ It also counts as finishing the game, albeit with a tragic ending.
Completing this mission normally will send players into the game’s final mission, but thanks to this useful bit of dumbassery, the story comes to a close early. Since this ending was discovered, The Outer Worlds speedrunners have utilised it to shave off a few precious minutes and push their times even lower. It’s not a huge skip, but it’s easy enough to perform that its inclusion in a possible world record run is a no-brainer. It’s also possible that a new category will be created to separate runs that exploit it from the rest, depending on how the speedrunning community reacts to its potential.
No matter what happens, it’s cool to see the quirks of this Obsidian-developed RPG come into play in such an interesting way. (h/t PC Gamer)