The Outer Worlds is blasting off to Steam later this month, ending its yearlong exclusivity deal on the Epic Games Store and Windows 10. Upon initial release in 2018, the sci-fi RPG was meant to fill the void left by Bethesda's slow Fallout release cycle, with Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 leaving high fan demand for something more in the vein of Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas. Having been acquired by Microsoft to develop the title for Xbox and PC, the console manufacturer has since bought out Fallout publisher Bethesda in 2020. Two companies offering alternative takes on the Western RPG are now under the same roof.

Having been acquired by Microsoft to develop the rival title The Outer Worlds for Xbox and PC, the console manufacturer has since also bought out Fallout publisher Bethesda, meaning that two companies offering alternative takes on the Western RPG are now ironically under the same roof. While the two studios' games are similar on the surface, their theming and locales are different enough that they will likely both continue on under Microsoft's leadership. That being said, The Outer Worlds has still not hit its full sales potential because it has not yet released on Steam. The game's publisher, 2K subsidiary Private Division, published both of its premiere titles exclusively on Epic Games Store on PC, with Microsoft able to work in a Windows 10 version thanks to their ownership of Obsidian. However, that changes in two short weeks.

The Outer Worlds' Twitter account has notified fans that the Steam release of the game is incoming on October 23. The game will release on the Valve platform alongside its first expansion pack, Peril on Gorgon, which is available for $15 alone or as part of the game's Expansion Pass for $25. The second expansion, named Murder on Eridanos, is currently scheduled for the first half of 2021, although not much has been revealed about that particular content update. The main game is also currently available on Xbox Game Pass across PC and console, which could save players money if they're already subscribed to Microsoft's Netflix-like game service.

A year ago, when The Outer Worlds was announced as only coming to Epic's PC Games Store, it was one of many new releases headed there exclusively, which caused quite a bit of fan anger. In an expensive and successful bid to establish themselves as a PC marketplace competitor to Steam, Epic angered a loud group of players of platform purists by buying exclusivity contracts like they were going out of style. In 2020, there are still PC exclusives on the Epic storefront, but many games' timed contracts are running out and a clever workaround by GOG have each dulled this online outcry. Players are seemingly either distracted by the next-gen consoles on the horizon or simply sick of yelling out about business practices after a year and some change of successful launches.

No matter what platform players choose in the end, The Outer Worlds is a fine RPG that deserves a full playthrough, especially with the likely announcement of future games in the franchise this generation. Those games will hit Steam at launch thanks to Microsoft's recent policy shifts, so Steam diehards can get started this month and then be ready for future adventures in the universe. Between that and Obsidian's Elder Scrolls-alike Avowed, there's plenty of western RPGs coming out of Xbox Games Studios in the near and far future.

The Outer Worlds is available now for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and the Epic Games Store, and it will launch on Steam on October 23, 2020.