Obsidian went back and made Avowed's combat 'more juicy' because we all collectively winced at its underwhelming first showcase

Avowed screenshot
(Image credit: Obsidian)

Obsidian's first-person fantasy RPG Avowed is due out this year. In fact, it's due out November 12 if you believe a quickly scrubbed post on the Obsidian website. But the studio is still hard at work tweaking and twiddling with the game ahead of release. One of the things it's been mucking around with? The combat, which looked quite a bit better in Avowed's recent deep dive than it did when we saw the game in its first gameplay showcase in January.

It turns out our collective wincing at Avowed's January demo played a significant role in getting Obsidian to tighten the game up. In a chat with Windows Central, gameplay director Gabe Paramo said that, although the studio "thought [Avowed] was good enough to show as is," the response to that demo convinced it to get a move on with improving the combat (though it had always planned to). "We just went 'Okay, let's look at this, this is a big deal, people are noticing this, we should polish this sooner.'"

And you know what? You can tell. I don't think Avowed looks like it's gonna be the next Elden Ring, but its combat definitely has a bit more oomph to it in its more recent showcase. "We really analysed the feeling and moment when the player swings their weapon and the moment of impact," said Paramo, with the goal of cutting out any delays that might have made the combat feel less than "immediate."

Beyond that, Obsidian took a wrench to the ways characters pose in combat to give more "visceral, immediate feedback," and also futzed about with "the blood impacts, and VFX feedback, and the audio," pretty much all the little pieces it could to make combat feel "more juicy," which is immensely disquieting phrasing.

I'd say it's paid off. Even though Obsidian's entire marketing effort around the game seems focused on making sure people don't get too excited about it, I'm a stalwart Pillars of Eternity lover who's very eager to return to Eora. If Avowed gives me that in the form of a less crunchy but more rambly first-person RPG, The Outer Worlds-style? I'll be pretty content. Especially if it actually feels good to wallop what I find there.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.