In the months leading up to The Outer Worlds' release, Obsidian was keen to tell us all the wacky ways that the game could be completed, up to and including killing absolutely everyone. In an RPG that allows players so much freedom to approach quests how they choose, naturally someone would have to try the exact opposite by killing absolutely no one. If you were holding your breath for that feat to be completed, you can stop now because Kyle Hinckley has done so (on the hardest difficulty, no less) and uploaded the results to his YouTube channel The Weirdist.
This is not Hinckley's first time playing pacifist in an open world RPG. He's also completed Fallout 4 on its hardest Survival difficulty without killing anyone. As with completing Fallout 4, Hinckley's playthrough of The Outer Worlds isn't completely devoid of violence. NPCs can still kill one another or wind up dead and the run is considered a success. Hinckley just isn't the one to pull the trigger. It may be less pacifism than plausible deniability, but it turns out that completing either game without cracking any skulls firsthand is still a feat.
“Doing a challenge that does away with one of the two sources of experience (combat, quests) leaves your character pretty under-leveled,” Hinckley tells Polygon. Instead of leveling up through killing (or completing quests that require killing), Hinckley had to rely on gaining experience through things like lockpicking, hacking, or speech checks. As you might imagine, that's a much harder row to hoe as it doesn't generate levels nearly as fast as violence does.
Hinckley also made sure that the violence ban applied to his companion characters as well. He set each to passive mode, meaning they wouldn't attack even when being set on fire, as you can see Vicar Max resolutely doing in the video below. Hinckley had to solve problems where quests were specifically designed with combat in mind and discover alternate options.
In the video above, Hinckley's quest "Space-Crime Continuum" requires that he interact with a terminal sandwiched between two very diligent mantipillars. The problem is, he can't interact with the terminal while in combat. The mantipillars need to either die or be distracted somehow.
Hinckley briefly considers smacking them with his Shock-Stick weapon that is supposed to stun enemies. He's not certain that it won't also kill one of the pesky bugs in the process so he shelves that plan. Instead he attempts to dance around between the two mantipillars to either avoid their eyesight long enough to break combat or goad them into killing one another. Unfortunately that just results in he and Vicar Max both standing around being set on fire by the nasty hybrid caterpillars. Finally Hinckley devises a plan to use his time dilation ability before engaging the mantipillars. This slows down their movement, allowing him to reach the terminal and interact with it before the game considers him properly in combat with the nearby mantipillars.
Managing to get through The Outer Worlds without personally getting your hands dirty requires a lot of thinking outside the box as Hinckley demonstrates over the course of a lengthy 50-part YouTube playthrough. You're welcome to try this at home, but be warned that the challenge of avoiding combat for so long may put you in the mood to turn your pacifist playthrough into a much bloodier one.