Outlast was a very scary game. If you doubt this, just head over to YouTube where you’ll find hundreds of videos of people freaking out as insane asylum patients tormented the player in various ways. With the sequel, Outlast 2, developer Red Barrels is focusing in on the scares, and looks to deliver something even more frightening, thanks to a shift in focus.
I got to talk with Red Barrels co-founder Phillipe Morin while at last month’s PAX East gaming convention. I spoke with him before actually getting to sit down and play the game, so as a fan of the first title, my questions were focused in on differences between the two games.
The main change comes from a shift in setting, with Outlast 2 taking place in a rural village full of cultish psychos. While the asylum from the first game was a large environment, it was largely closed off, allowing single enemies to dominate the experience. With Outlast 2 this will change to allow more open areas, and more enemies to be chasing the player at any one time. After getting my hands on the game this was immediately apparent, as I was running through the village, dodging and hiding from well over five enemies at once.
In terms of how scary players can expect the game to be, Phillipe says that Outlast 2 will have a heavier emphasis on mental scare. “The first game was about taking the player’s physical integrity. This time we want the mental integrity as well. So we want to mess with the player’s mind, not just their body.”
The demo being shown at PAX East 2016 certainly showed this, with the game shifting reality in key ways. Flashes of light or darkness, teleporting the player to unfamiliar territory, and just an overall feeling that anything can happen at any time left me mentally exhausted by the time I pulled back the curtain and exited the booth. The screams of other players in nearby booths also pushed the idea that Outlast 2 will easily create the same, or more tension and fear among gamers.
Outlast 2 hits PS4, Xbox One, and PC later this year.