If you were ever worried about a shortage of haunted insane asylums with homicidal inmates, you can put those qualms to rest – Red Barrel’s developing an Outlast sequel, guaranteed to invoke the same level of terror as its predecessor.
“The game will be a survival horror experience and it will take place in the same universe as Outlast, but it will have different characters and a different setting,” said Philippe Morin of Red Barrel, during an interview with Bloody Disgusting. “We might go back to Mount Massive Asylum one day, but for now we have new ideas and themes we’d like to explore and we think we’re cooking up something special.”
Outlast gained popularity through its Amnesia style of horror gameplay, where much of the protagonist’s time is spent uncovering significant plot details while running for his life from a building full of rather unpleasant figures that kill on sight. As much as you’d love to run around the place with a katana, you’re stuck with a camera and your wits – and you might not even have your wits left after a particularly long play session.
Red Barrel is sensibly keeping the details of the sequel under wraps, seemingly allowing the game to write itself through the collaborative minds of the 12-person team. We’ll more than likely get more teasers closer to the game’s release, but how effective is a good horror mystery if we already know too much about what’s coming? We don’t really need all the answers, and if anything, the lack of knowledge adds to the suspense. In Red Barrel’s own words, “Part of the fun of playing a horror game is the sense of discovery and progressively understanding “wtf” is going on.”
It’s why horror games where the protagonist isn’t allowed to fight are ten times more unsettling than those that hand you a gun at the beginning and tell you to aim for the head. In these games, you’re more than likely playing yourself – not a gun toting badass, but a regular Joe stuck in a horrifying situation you never signed up for. Outlast takes elements from Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Amnesia, and other survival horror games where your only option is to not get caught.
As much as we’re being kept in the dark about the sequel, there’s still a lot to look forward to. The original game delivered a solid story, a beautifully crafted atmosphere, and true paranoia. Given the game’s popularity as one of the best survival horror games on the market, it’s safe to say the sequel’s highly anticipated.
“We really want to keep on improving our craft, but ultimately we’ll approach things the same way we did with the first game, which was to make a game we’re scared to play ourselves and trust our instinct,” Morin said. “Our goal is still to give players first and foremost an emotional ride, so every design decision will be based on how it affects the experience and if it serves it.”