Avowed: everything we know about Obsidian's Skyrim-like RPG

Avowed — the player character faces a plague-ridden bear in combat, pointing their longsword towards the bear as it roars.
(Image credit: Obsidian)

Avowed spent a few years lurking in the shadows since its 2020 reveal, leaving us wondering about when it'd bring the timeless joy of sword and sorcery spelunking. Patience gets rewarded, however. We've finally gotten our first look at Avowed's colorful fantasyland, and the many crushable skeletons its Pillars of Eternity setting has to offer.

Since we aren't expecting Elder Scrolls 6 for, oh, half a decade or more, we're looking forward to Avowed stepping in to fill the open world fantasy void sometime in 2024. Check out our new Avowed interview to get the very latest details from Obsidian's creative director.

Here's everything we know about Avowed.

Does Avowed have a release date? 

Avowed will release in 2024. We don't have a specific date yet, or even a rough seasonal window. But after three years without getting a glimpse, it's nice to know that Avowed is still on its way.

Obsidian's also got an Outer Worlds sequel in the works, but since Avowed got a broad release timeframe first, we're expecting the space sequel will come along sometime later.

Avowed trailers

Here's the latest Avowed gameplay trailer from the 2023 Xbox Showcase

Three years was worth it. Avowed is going back to Obsidian's own fantasy world and it is colorful. Skyrim could never. 

Here's the Avowed announcement trailer 

We first met the game with the Avowed announcement trailer, revealed during the Xbox Games Showcase in 2020. What we saw is brief, but it reveals a few key details—most importantly that Avowed is a first-person RPG in a similar vein to The Outer Worlds and Skyrim. Clever players on the Avowed subreddit have also deciphered the runes etched on the sword in the trailer, realizing that it's a language that already exists in Pillars of Eternity, to discover the sword's name is Oathbinder. 

Avowed gameplay details

(Image credit: Obsidian)

What will Avowed's gameplay be like?

Avowed will be a familiar RPG experience for anyone who's played Skyrim. The gameplay footage we've seen is very Elder Scrolls; lots of bashing bandits and skeletons in first person. You can bash sword-and-board style. You can bash with dual-wielded axes, or a two-handed sword, or ranged weapons.

There's plenty of magic to throw around, too. The exact way spells are wielded isn't clear yet: Some clips show the player character casting a spell with one glowy hand with a one-handed weapon held in the other, while others show the player casting slower, heavier spells with both hands before pulling their sword and shield back out. It's possible that some of these are a separate category of active abilities, like Skyrim's dragon shouts or racial powers.

Avowed has guns

I don't want to just say that Avowed is like Skyrim with guns, but, well—there it is. Sharing a setting with Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity games, Avowed is in a fantasy world where society has discovered the powerful magic of shooting bullets at guys. The Avowed gameplay reveal shows the player character firing dual-wielded flintlock pistols, but we'll have to see whether other flintlock fantasy options are available. I've got my heart set on an enchanted blunderbuss, personally. 

Avowed — a screenshot of a rolling, sunny hillside, which descends toward a cliffside harbor city. Spiked wooden barricades cross the approaching road.

(Image credit: Obsidian)

Avowed won't have a sprawling open world

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told us that, while Avowed's original pitch was a sprawling open world like Skyrim, the studio shifted to a more focused scope to emphasize Obsidian's strengths. Instead, Avowed will have a similar scale to Obsidian's scifi RPG, The Outer Worlds. "We could go off and create an 8km x 8km open world and then deal with all the consequences of that—because that makes it a different style game," Urquhart said. "But we want to tell more confined stories that the player can experience with their companions, and then move from part of the world to part of the world."

Avowed will emphasize companion characters

Echoing Urquhart's statement above, Avowed director Carrie Patel underlined the game's focus on companion characters. "One thing we wanted to do with Avowed was make sure the companions felt really integral to the story," Patel said. "In some games they're optionally recruitable, but in Avowed they're deeply tied to the story, tied to your party… we really wanted to create this sense that you're in this big wild frontier, you're going on this adventure of discovery, and you have this small but tight knit crew with you."

In Avowed, Patel told us, you'll be bringing along two companions at a time, each with their own combat specialties. From the sounds of it, Avowed is a couple degrees closer to CRPG-style party emphasis than its obvious Elder Scrolls counterparts.

Avowed story and setting details

Avowed — Cranes and scaffolding surround the construction of a giant statue on a volcanic mountainside. The statue has a bearded face, and ridged brows.

(Image credit: Obsidian)

Avowed is set in Eora, the Pillars of Eternity setting

Sharing a setting with Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity CRPGs, Avowed takes place in the fantasy world of Eora. Eora's slightly more modern than your usual medieval fantasy fare: there's a lot more gunpowder and tall ships hanging around. It's closer to our Age of Sail than it is to the Middle Ages. Still plenty of magic being meddled with, though.

More specifically, Avowed is set in the Living Lands, a remote island that, until now, has been distant enough to avoid direct attention from Eora's colonial powers. Foremost among these is the Aedyr Empire, an intercontinental imperial state.

While it's been rumored that Avowed is a prequel, we don't know yet whether Avowed takes place before or after the Pillars of Eternity games in the Eora timeline.

(Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

What do we know about Avowed's story?

Not much yet, but we do know you play as an envoy to the far off Living Lands, sent by the Aedyr Empire to investigate rumors of a plague. Given the "Empire" bit, the inhabitants of the Living Lands aren't exactly ecstatic to have you around, which the narrator in the gameplay trailer says outright. In fantasy as in life, things tend to take a downward turn once agents of colonial powers start arriving.

According to Carrie Patel, Avowed's creative director, you'll have a say in just how much of an imperial nightmare you end up being. The "personality, appearance, and philosophy and vibe you bring to that role is up to you as a player to decide," Patel said.

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.

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