How To Get Into Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds may be the best game we’ve played this year, but it can be tough to get into—allow us to offer some tips on this week’s Kotaku Splitscreen.

We start off the episode with some ranting and raving about Outer Wilds before talking Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Xbox Elite controller, and Bloodstained. Then we get into news (29:01) on Tifa’s boobs, Auto Chess, and my recent article about Treyarch’s treatment of contract staff and the development of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. We close things out with off-topic chat (52:16) on Evangelion, Veep, and The Journalist and the Murderer.

Get the MP3 here, and read an excerpt below:

Maddy: I’m glad you guys told me how good [The Outer Wilds] is going to get because I feel like my initial experience with it has been a lot of getting lost, and I don’t know that I would go back and keep trying to play it if I didn’t know there was more good stuff coming.

The beginning of the game, it’s not in the time loop, you can walk around this alien village for as long as you want before you leave on your journey and you can talk to people. That part of the game is fairly straightforward… All that stuff I understood, I was on board. I like the alien characters so far, the world, etc. Then I left, I went into space, landed on a planet, completely died.

Jason: Which planet?

Maddy: Let me think. There are a few planets that I landed on and died immediately in a comical way in a row.

Jason: (laughs) That’s part of the appeal.

Kirk: I would say it’s part of the experience, not part of the appeal.

Maddy: I ended up on a planet that I guess had some sort of quantum or black hole type of deal, which I know is a thing in this game, and it, whatever it was, propelled me way out into space, super super far, and then I was like, I don’t know how to get back, so I’m just going to die in space. So I died in space. Then got back in my ship and I was like cool, I feel like I did something wrong, but maybe I didn’t. Then I went to a different planet and died in a different way, I think just getting lost…

Jason: Let me give you a couple of tips. First of all, make sure in the opening planet you do all the little tutorial things, because they’ll give you some guidance on taking pictures, and seeing ghost matter, and all that stuff.

Maddy: Sure. I did the hide-and-seek one, and I did the satellite repair one.

Jason: Good, yeah, you need to go do the ghost matter one, because that’s important. And also talk to everyone on the home planet, and pay attention to everything. Second tip is, now that you know hide-and-seek, so you know how the Signalscope works, your radar that lets you find people’s signals, use that to find some of the other Outer Wilds travellers. Once you find them, that’ll help steer you in a direction.

Because part of the experience is wandering in space and figuring out what you have to do, then making a check list in your brain of, OK, these are the things I want to go explore and be curious about. That, I think, will help you add some structure and slowly start to figure out what’s going on.


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