During your many adventures in The Outer Worlds you will be given a chance to acquire Companions that will form the crew of your ship.
You will be able to bring these companions into the field with you to mitigate some of the damage that would be otherwise be dealt with you, especially when you are surrounded or ambushed (looking at you, pesky primates!). They will give you some interesting quests to pursue, liven up your conversations with the NPCs, and add their skill points to your character’s count. And, at the end of the day, they might have an interesting conversation at your ship once you return. Hopefully not one that will make you want to kick them off the said ship.
Unless you are very particular about travelling alone, Companions in The Outer Worlds can make your gaming experience that much more fun!
So, with so many possibilities, how do you get the most out of the Companions in The Outer Worlds?
Whether you would like to know this for your first playthrough, or you want to enhance your current game or a future replay – we have some interesting things for you to consider.
This guide will walk you through the basics of how the Companion system works in The Outer Worlds. Then, we will look at enhancing the experience of your game using your companions: in the battlefield, in questing and dialog, and for immersion purposes.
If you want to know what perks you can unlock with your player character to enhance your companion party, see the “Companion Party Bonuses” section in our Ultimate Perks Guide!
Companions in The Outer Worlds
You will have a chance to unlock the total of six companions in the game: Ellie, Felix, Nyoka, Parvati, Vicar Max, and SAM. Each companion (except for Felix) will either assist you in a questline (Parvati and Nyoka) or will offer their services to your crew upon a questline’s successful completion (Ellie, Vicar Max, and SAM). Felix will offer his services to you without any quests directly attached.
You can only bring two companions with you at once, and that’s the only way you will benefit from the skill bonuses and perks they have.
Each of them will come with a set of three specialized skills (as opposed to core skills) to share with the player: initially, the companions will share 25% of their skill points. You can unlock the Adept rank in your Inspiration skill to make that 50%. Companions will only offer points in utility skills (like Persuade, Medical, and Lockpick), as opposed to any weapon skills. This sharing will stack if you bring companions that are both proficient in a particular specialized skill. For example, bringing Vicar Max along with SAM in your party will give your Science skill a significant boost (good for Science Weapons damage increase).
Each companion will have a special ability they can using during a battle, which can be used after unlocking the Novice rank in player’s Inspiration skill.
Each companion will come with their own melee and ranged weapon and body armor (no head gear), which are generally pretty powerful for the estimated character level at the time a companion is unlocked. This equipment can be modified for all companions but SAM (who has his equipment molded into his frame).
Every companion’s behavior can be modified in terms of distance they keep to the player (close, middle, and far), the type of weapon they use (melee, ranged, or mixed), and the mode of their behavior (aggressive, defensive, and passive).
The distance setting will modify the distance your companions default to during exploration and battle, while the type of weapon will determine whether they fight using close-combat, ranged, or both types of attacks. The mode of behavior will determine whether your companion engages an enemy upon discovery, when the player initiates combat, or until they are manually commanded to.
Each companion will have 3 specialized perks you can unlock as they level up with you (1 point every 5 levels, unlike player’s perk point being unlocked every other level). But they will have some general perks shared across all companions that you can unlock in addition to or instead of the specialized perks. Companions will have 5 tiers of perks to offer – to learn more about how that system works, see our Ultimate Perks Guide!
Unique Companion Perks:
- Parvati: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Engineering (+10 Engineering to player when in party), Tier 2 – Mod Finder (+10% to extract Mods in the field), Tier 3 – Synchronicity (+25% Tactical Time Dilation Meter)
- Vicar Max: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Hack (+10 Hack to player when in party), Tier 2 – Sermon (+20% Dialog Combat Effect duration), Tier 3 – Mad Max (+20% Science Weapon Damage), Quest – Tuned In (Drug Effect Duration +50%)
- Felix: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Persuade (+10 Persuade to player when in party ), Tier 2 – Bootlickers! (+20% Damage to Cowering Enemies), Tier 3 – Rebellion (+20% Damage to Corporate Military), Quest – Self Governed (+50% Post armor Damage to Corporate Military)
- Ellie: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Medical (+10 Medical to player when in party), Tier 2 – First Responder (+20% Heal amount granted by Medical Inhaler), Tier 3 – CPR (Recover 25% of Health when fatally wounded), Quest – Beyond the Grave (-50% cost of Bribe)
- SAM: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Intimidate (+10 Intimidate to player when in party), Tier 2 – Cleaner (-20% Negative Reputation on faction kill), Tier 3 – Bad Samaritan (+20% Damage to Automechanicals), Quest – Clean Sweep (Harmful Effects Duration -25%)
- Nyoka: Tier 1 – Bonus Support Lie (+10 Lie to player when in party), Tier 2 – Hunter (-20% Radius of Footstep Sounds), Tier 3 – Exterminator (+20% Damage to Creatures)
Each of the companions will become a crew member on your ship, the Unreliable, and occupy one of the available rooms (you will have enough to accommodate every single companion available in the game). You will be able to acquire items in the world (most frequently in hidden locations and through stealing) to be added to the associated companion’s quarters upon your return to the ship.
Likewise, upon your return to the ship, you might stumble upon an interaction between your companions. ADA will often notify you if your companions are arguing or having a chat. Felix might be discussing aetherwave serials with other members of the crew upon your return, or arguing with Vicar Max over tossball teams. Some companions will interact with the parts of your ship without affecting your stored items: Felix might neatly stack the uninteractable containers while SAM will wander around cleaning parts of the ship.
And, no, you cannot start a romance with any of the Companions in the game. Sad news if you start feeling attached to a particular one as you help them out with their personal questline. Quite sad.
Using The Outer Worlds Companions in the Battlefield
Companion assistance in combat is the biggest reason you should bring your companions into the field with you. Granted, you could be playing on Supernova difficulty (permanent companion death) and thus have already decided that you are more of a Lone Wolf kind of a player, having taken some perks that benefit you travelling alone. However, for pretty much all other situations they will make fighting much easier for you.
They can serve as easy cannon fodder for multiple enemies and explosives, use weapons that consume a lot of resources to deal tremendous damage (a lot of heavy weapons) at no penalty, or to manage more complex combat situations such as ambushes (in dungeon instances and in the wilderness) or “mini-bosses” (such as the wanted criminals like Captain MacRedd on the Groundbreaker) through command shortcuts.
It’s just a question of properly managing your companions in order to get the best out of their presence.
Avoiding Conflict with Your Fighting Style
If you don’t pay attention to your character skills, you will not be able to perform high-level sneaking (such as being undiscovered while in an extreme proximity to your enemy) with your companions. In some situations, such as when you want to lock raptors inside a high-voltage pen or sedate them using a quest item without killing them, sneaking can help even a less stealthy player build.
The solution to this is rather simple: utilize commands in specific instances or bring Felix and Nyoka (with 75+ starting points in Sneak) with you if you sneak a lot.
The location command (first among those you will see in the left-bottom corner of your screen, a single press of “Z” for keyboard) will easily make your companions hold their position at an assigned location for as long as you need them to, as long as they are within the reasonable distance from you (if you could still see them in an open field from that range they will not respawn near you). Do your sneaky business and then hold the shortcut for the command (hold “Z” for the keyboard controls) to make them return to you.
On the other hand, if sneaking is not just a simple matter for you (if you are a stealthy sniper who depends on silent one-shot kills, for example), you can limit yourself to Felix in the early stages of the game, and add Nyoka later on. Their Sneak skill is 77 and 86 respectively, which can be enhanced by equipment and perks. Furthermore, Nyoka can reduce the party’s radius of footstep sounds with her second-tier Hunter perk (most likely available to be unlocked by the time you get her), giving you an additional good reason to bring her along. With these two you can even perform close-distance melee sneaks!
Friendly fire is not an issue in The Outer Worlds, but annoying back-blocking for ranged player characters is. As soon as you acquire Parvati early in the game, you might find yourself shooting her upper back half of the time, instead of the desired target. You can resolve this issue by switching your companions to the ranged mode of attack (“X” for keyboard), by increasing the threat generation through companion perks, or by using commands to make them target enemies you do not plan on aiming at.
You can make the latter into a habit pretty quickly, and it’s the cheapest and most effective way to get your companion butts out of your barrel’s path. Still, if you need companions to distract your targets, you can try setting them with ranged weapons, giving them heavy weapon guns, and boosting their threat generation.
Meanwhile, for a melee character or heavy weapons build, heavy weapons ranged companions can become a problem in some instances: for players who charge into the battle without triggering explosive crates or ground mines first, their ranged characters (especially if it’s a grenade launcher, FE-LIX) might do it for them. Next to the player. In the middle of a battle. If immediate damage isn’t annoying enough, the lasting vision blur and ear-ringing will be.
Here are your options for this: trigger the explosives yourself (it can deal a lot of damage to your enemies), make your companions hold their position using commands, have your companions specialize in melee or use more precise ranged weapons, or embrace the health damage and chaos with the Revenge perk (+20% Damage when affected by a harmful Combat Effect).
Keeping your The Outer Worlds companions in their starting gear might be something you want to do for aesthetic reasons (Ellie might be looking a bit awkward in her new armor, with the helmet display disabled in the settings…) or accidentally through some neglect over time, but this is something that will affect their combat abilities significantly.
Companion armor is something you should set to changing very early on, since their starting clothing is usually cosmetic and more so skill-oriented. Some companions do come with impressive weapons, but you still don’t want to leave them as is over time: tinker both the armor and weapons a few levels as you accumulate the funds. Install mods on their equipment, even if what you have left over at first isn’t that impressive (you can always swap mods). Even the skill armor bonuses on your companions will end up benefiting you, since they share a part of their skill points.
The Outer Worlds doesn’t have a strict resource management system, and over time you will accumulate a lot of good equipment and mods you can selectively store on the Unreliable to assign to your companions. At the same time, as finances become less of an issue later in the game, give your favorite companions a little boost to their equipment. This kind of maintenance will go a long way.
Companions, Dialog, and Questing
Do not underestimate the sheer power your companion skills can contribute to some of the skill checks during your exploration. With Parvati and Felix doing lockpicking will become significantly cheaper and easier even without many points invested into that skill.
Also combine Parvati and Felix (Persuade), Nyoka and Ellie (Lie), or Vicar Max and SAM (Intimidate) for difficult dialog checks, such as the one in the image above with Gladys earlier in the game – there is no way I would be able to get access to this dialog option without Parvati and Felix.
Bringing Vicar Max and SAM into cities with you is also a good strategy, since you will be hacking into people’s personal files quite frequently when handling side quests.
On a less important note, having Nyoka or Ellie in the party will give you enough points for those Medical dialog options, Vicar Max or SAM will allow for Science options, and with Parvati or Ellie you can pick Engineering dialog options. You will rarely find these essential, but in rare cases they can give you an extra sample form a scientific experiment in a quest, help you convince someone to let you do something, or uncover a very important clue.
Pay attention to the skills offered by your companions and don’t be afraid to fast-travel to your ship to swap your companions in order to pass very impressive checks. Unlock the Adept rank in the player’s Inspiration skill for very powerful results!
Companion Skill Points (Maximum Level):
- Parvati: Persuade (74), Lockpick (84), Engineering (88)
- Vicar Max: Intimidate (77), Hack (81), Science (81)
- Felix: Persuade (81), Lockpick (80), Sneak (77)
- Ellie: Lie (74), Medical (84), Engineering (77)
- SAM: Intimidate (89), Hack (80), Science (80)
- Nyoka: Lie (74), Medical (77), Sneak (86)
Fine, press for your introvert qualities and start off the game by refusing Parvati’s help in the Emerald Vale. Ditch Vicar Max’s ramblings, and so on. What do you lose? Well, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of flavor to the world of the game.
Without Parvati that heater issue would never turn into a heating adorable romance! Who wouldn’t want to get drunk in the bar over weird poetry or search for scented soaps in the black market?
Without Vicar Max your travels around the planet system wouldn’t involve a rogue priest hating on everything French and hacking into computers in search of religious wisdom from an opposing school of knowledge.
Learn how much Ellie’s parents truly love her, join Felix on his adventure to prove himself, revenge yourself on mantiqueens with Nyoka…
The Outer Worlds is all about exploring and fun quests, so why not add to that experience with characters you could potentially begin to care about?
Companions and Immersion
Expanding on the previous section, the companions have the opportunity to personalize the world around you.
Involving them in your exploration will give additional flavor to replaying the game or particular scenes (try playing the game with Parvati and the Vicar as your main companions, and then switch to Ellie and Felix, for example), since they will produce amusing commentary and even unlock some new conversations during quests.
Some companions have more to say about particular areas (Parvati will be very vocal about the Engineering quarters at the Groundbreaker, while Ellie and Felix will have quite a bit of banter to offer during your exploration of Roseway), and it’s much more fun than listening to silence while travelling alone. Even SAM, not much of a talker himself, can offer a few humorous situations when interacting with other automechanicals.
The banter back on the Unreliable is fun in itself, but irritating Phineas by bringing in your crew to his hideout, hearing Parvati’s sudden compliments to people at the Groundbreaker, laughing at Ellie’s cruel joke for Martin the-moonhead, hearing Felix ramble at the leaders of Monarch or get excited over SubLight adds a whole new level to the game’s experience and a plenty, plenty of Easter Eggs to explore.
Developers of the game put a lot of work into the personality of the characters, and if you are not letting your companions point valuable things out and make funny observations, you are truly missing out.