Parvati Holcomb is everybody’s (or at least, lots of people’s) favorite character in The Outer Worlds. The brilliant yet sheltered engineer has charmed players with her sweetness and determination, and her companion quest offers a rare spot of hope in a dystopian world, letting you help her find love with the captain of a rough-and-tumble colony ship. That’s what I hear, anyway — because when I played The Outer Worlds, I killed Parvati. Thanks to developer Obsidian, I finally figured out how. And the solution required some pretty clever sleuthing.
Obsidian just patched a bug that lets your companions “die” outside the hardcore Supernova mode — something that should be impossible. On normal difficulty levels, companions fall unconscious if they’re hurt too badly, then get revived soon after. But on Twitter, QA lead Taylor Swope walked through an exception that was remarkably simple yet maddeningly difficult to find.
We released patch 1.2 of #TheOuterWorlds today, and it includes a fix for the dreaded "the game thinks my companions are dead" bug, which I believe I spent more time investigating than I have for any other individual bug in my career (1/18)— Taylor Swope (@_taylorswope) December 12, 2019
Basically, when a companion is in your party and their health reaches zero, a script will revive them at the end of every combat round. There’s no revive action while they’re hanging around your ship between missions, but they also can’t get hurt as long as they’re inside the ship... in theory. If a companion began climbing a ladder and you initiated a conversation somewhere else in the ship, though, the pre-patch game would prevent them from starting new actions — which included getting off the ladder. They’d climb straight out into the vacuum of space, and when you ended the conversation, they’d plummet back down, taking massive fall damage in the process.
With no revive script, the game would abort the companion’s side-quest and mark them as dead for the ending sequence. You could keep taking them on missions, so a lot of players didn’t realize anything was wrong until they checked the quest log later, making it almost impossible for Obsidian’s testers to pinpoint the glitch. That’s exactly what happened to me midway through Parvati’s romantic storyline. And while I assumed she’d fallen prey to one of Obsidian’s famous bugs, I had no idea how until Swope’s tweets.
So, if someone started climbing a ladder and the player entered a conversation before they stopped, they wouldn't be able to exit the ladder, and, well…. (18/18) pic.twitter.com/xcduTy4d12— Taylor Swope (@_taylorswope) December 12, 2019
The patch lets companions get off those pesky ladders, but it’s also supposed to fix the save files of people who already experienced the bug. That’s great news for current players, although I personally finished Outer Worlds quite a while ago.
Rest in peace, Parvati. Sorry I talked you to death.