|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Writer(s)||J. T. Petty|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3.5|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
September 4, 2013
NA February 4, 2014
EU February 5, 2014
NA June 18, 2014
EU June 18, 2014
Outlast is a first-person survival horror video game developed and published by Red Barrels, a company founded by programmers previously involved with video game franchises such as Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Uncharted. It was released on September 4, 2013 for Microsoft Windows, on February 4, 2014 for PlayStation 4 and on June 18, 2014 for Xbox One.
Outlast boasts a story-driven survival campaign told in first-person narrative and set in a dilapidated psychiatric hospital overrun by homicidal patients. Its presentation is similar to the found footage genre popularized in horror films. The protagonist is incapable of combat, except for scripted sequences allowing him to shove enemies out of his way. Without any traditional weapons, players are expected to navigate the facility's ransacked environment with parkour; vaulting over low obstacles, crawling, and sliding through narrow gaps. In addition, the character may survive encounters with assailants by hiding inside staff lockers or under beds; more intelligent opponents may search the room for an allocated period before moving on.
Since much of the setting is unlit, players are expected to use a video camera to see, via a night vision option. Use of the equipment consumes batteries, which must be scavenged and replaced as the storyline progresses. Plot details unfold through notes taken by the protagonist as footage is recorded through his camera.
Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist, receives an anonymous tip from a source identified only as a whistleblower. The lead tells of inhumane experiments committed at Mount Massive Asylum, a remote psychiatric hospital situated deep in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado and owned by the Murkoff Corporation, who is known for its corrupt dealings. Entering the asylum, Upshur is horrified to discover the mutilated corpses of the staff, including a dying SWAT officer who warns him to get out while he still can. As he investigates further, Upshur finds the asylum's patients, known as "Variants", freely roaming the grounds and hostile towards him, particularly a hulking sadist named Chris Walker. Approached by Father Martin Archimbaud, a cult leader who considers himself a priest, Upshur is told he was sent by "God" to be his witness to the night's events. It soon becomes clear that Archimbaud has no intention of letting Miles escape, and that he worships a seemingly supernatural entity known only as The Walrider, which he claims caused the breakout.
Trapped inside, Upshur is forced to work his way through Mount Massive and evade several Variants, including a pursuing Walker, and a pair of cannibalistic twins. Chased through the male wards, Upshur is rescued by a descending dumbwaiter, only to be captured by his savior, a delusional Murkoff executive named Richard "Rick" Trager, a "doctor" who experiments on patients. Strapped to a wheelchair, Upshur is forced to watch as Trager amputates two of his fingers. He soon manages to escape into an elevator. Grabbed by Trager while the elevator is still moving, a struggle ensues which results in Trager being crushed between floors. Upshur encounters Archimbaud again along with The Walrider, which Upshur can only see through the night vision function of his camera. Reaching an auditorium with a playing reel, Upshur learns The Walrider was created by Dr. Rudolf Gustav Wernicke, a German scientist taken in by the CIA after World War II. Wernicke was developing a "Morphogenic Engine" for Nazi Germany, which employs severe psychological trauma and dream therapy to generate a malevolent nanite-driven being.
Finding Martin in the asylum's chapel, Upshur witnesses his self-immolation on a crucifix. Told he can escape by an elevator, Upshur uses it, only to be tricked and descends into an underground facility beneath the institution. Followed and attacked by Walker, Upshur watches as The Walrider gruesomely murders him. Locating an aged Dr. Wernicke, Upshur learns The Walrider is a result of nanotechnology experiments, and that it is being controlled by catatonic patient Billy Hope. Instructed to shut off Hope's life support system, Upshur does so, but is immediately seized by the weakened and hostless Walrider, which savagely beats and fuses with him. Nearing death, he staggers towards the exit, where a security team led by Wernicke fires upon him. As Upshur collapses, Wernicke realizes that he is the Walrider's new host, and panicked screams and gunshots are heard as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.
- Miles Upshur: The protagonist of the game. A freelance journalist whom uncovers secrets which resides within Mount Massive Asylum. Voiced by Shawn Baichoo
- Variants: Hostile patients and inmates that roam the halls
- Father Martin Archimbaud: He considers himself a "priest" and helps Upshur throughout the game, only to lead Upshur into a trap. Voiced by Andreas Apergis
- Chris L. Walker: The largest and strongest of the Variants. Walker pursues Upshur relentlessly throughout the game. Voiced by Chimwemwe Miller
- The Twins: Mysterious twin Variants who show signs of cannibalism. They mention that they desire Upshur's "tongue and liver." Voiced by Neil Napier and Alain Goulem
- Dr. Richard "Rick" Trager: A delusional executive, a "doctor", who experiments on his fellow patients. Voiced by Alex Ivanovici
- The Walrider: The game's primary antagonist. It is hosted by patient Billy Hope, who is on a life support system in the asylum's underground facility
- William P. "Billy" Hope: A patient at Mount Massive and experimental test subject, the host of The Walrider
- Dr. Rudolf Gustav Wernicke: The creator of The Walrider. Wernicke was presumed dead, but is kept alive by a sympathetic Hope who believes the doctor might be his father. Voiced by Marcel Jeannin
Outlast was met with mostly positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic the PC version holds an 80/100, and PS4 version of game holds a 78/100. At GameRankings, the PC version maintains a 79.94%, and the PS4 version holds a 76.53%. It has been received with a number of accolades and awards from E3 2013, including the "Most Likely to Make you Faint" honor, and one of "Best of E3".
The PC gaming website Rock, Paper, Shotgun gave Outlast a very positive review, noting that "Outlast is not an experiment in how games can be scary, it’s an exemplification." Marty Sliva of IGN rated the game with a score of 7.8, praising the horror elements and gameplay while criticizing the environments and character modeling.
A DLC pack called Outlast: Whistleblower serves as an overlapping prequel to the original game. The plot follows Waylon Park, the anonymous tipster to Miles Upshur and shows the events both before and after the main plotline. The Windows version of Whistleblower was released on May 6th, 2014 worldwide, the Xbox One launched on June 18th in North American and Europe, coinciding with the release, and the PlayStation 4 version was launched on May 6th, 2014 in North America and on May 7th, 2014 in Europe.
Waylon Park, an IT Technician at Mount Massive Asylum, fixes a broken computer in the undergound laboratory, only to witnesses the torture of patient Eddie Gluskin in the "Morphogenic Engine". Park anonymously e-mails Miles Upshur, but is caught by his employer, Jeremy Blaire, and committed as punishment. When The Walrider breaks free a few hours later, Park manages to escape amidst the chaos, taking a camcorder with him. Escaping into the main asylum as the guards and personnel flee, Park evades cannibalistic prisoner Frank Manera, and searches for a radio to contact the police. Park reaches a radio, but is attacked by Blaire, who destroys it. Insisting that Mount Massive's secret remain hidden, Blaire leaves Park to die at the hands of inmate Chris Walker.
Park escapes to the vocational block and is chased by an inmate named Dennis, who traps him with a now-psychotic Gluskin. Driven insane by the experiments, Gluskin pursues Park through the block and, when Park injures his leg falling down an elevator shaft, captures him. Awakening 12 hours later, Park watches as Gluskin removes another captive's genitals with a buzzsaw, before murdering them in a rage. About to suffer the same fate, Park watches as another prisoner appears and attacks Gluskin, allowing him to escape. When Park injures his other leg fleeing, Gluskin recaptures Park in a gymnasium, and begins to hang him over the structural beams. Park begins to struggle, partially collapsing the beams and tangling Gluskin in the rope; when Gluskin loses his grip, he is suddenly raised, impaling him on debris from the broken beams.
As daylight breaks, Park continues onwards, finding that military forces have arrived and are killing indiscriminately; Park sneaks by as the soldiers are killed by The Walrider. Passing a group of windows, Park sees the institution's chapel burning, and witnesses several more inmates being killed by the military. Reaching the main reception, Park finds a wounded Blaire sitting at the exit, pleading for help. Approaching Blaire, Park is stabbed in the stomach, before Blaire declares no-one can survive. Injured, Park watches on as The Walrider appears and violently murders Blaire. Hobbling to the security gate, Park climbs into Miles Upshur's car, and spots a Walrider-sustained Upshur stalking towards him; turning the car around as a dark mist approaches, Park breaks through the gate and escapes.
In an epilogue scene, a fully recovered Park is warned by an unseen man about attacking the Murkoff Corporation. Prepared to upload his footage of Mount Massive to a news leak site, Park is told that Murkoff will be irrevocably damaged and he will have some sense of justice, but the lives of Park and his family will be in serious danger; Park hesitates for a moment before uploading it.
In addition to cameos from previously seen characters of Billy Hope, The Twins, Chris Walker, Father Martin, Rick Trager (postmortem), and Miles Upshur, the prequel introduces several new characters to the story.
- Waylon Park: The protagonist of the DLC. A software engineer working in the asylum, The Whistleblower, the one who sends an anonymous tip via e-mail to Miles Upshur. Also voiced by Shawn Baichoo
- Jeremy Blaire: The antagonist of the DLC. Head of Mount Massive Asylum and responsible for the "Walrider Project" and several other illegal experiments from the Murkoff Corporation. Voiced by Matt Holland
- Frank Antonio Manera: A cannibal who butchers and consumes people with a mechanical saw. He attempted to "cook" Park alive in a crematorium. Voiced by Edward Yankie
- Eddie Gluskin: A serial killer, nicknamed "The Groom" as he subjects male victims to genital mutilation in an effort to make the "perfect wife". Voiced by Graham Cuthbertson
- "Red Barrels Team". redbarrelsgames.com. February 12, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Is Outlast the scariest game ever?
- America's most horrifying home movie
- BioShock Infinite, Metro Last Night free for PS users in February
- Shopto Outlast Review
- Why I will probably never finish Outlast
- Gamers' Sphere - Outlast
- Chen, Grace (February 4, 2014). "PlayStation Store Update". blog.us.playstation.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Outlast for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "Outlast for PS4". GameRankings. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Outlast for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "Outlast for PS4". Metacritic. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Jessica Conditt (September 10, 2013). "Outlast review: Fraught in the dark". Joystiq. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Marty Sliva (September 4, 2013). "Outlast Review: The Horror... The Horror...". IGN. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Ben Reeves (September 6, 2013). "Outlast: Red Barrels Delivers An Endurance Test In Terror". Game Informer. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Rich McCormick (September 5, 2013). "Outlast Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Leif Johnson (September 4, 2013). "Outlast Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Christopher Livingston (September 11, 2013). "Outlast review". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- Roger Hargreaves (September 9, 2013). "Outlast review – afraid of the dark". Metro. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- Fraser Brown (September 4, 2013). "Review: Outlast". Destructoid.
- Wood, Chandler (June 16, 2013). "Outlast (PS4) – E3 Preview". PlayStationLifeStyle.net. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Barrett, Ben (September 4, 2013). "Wot I Think: Outlast.". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "Outlast: Whistleblower announced, is prequel DLC for the asylum horror". PC Gamer. 11-01-2013. Retrieved 11-12-2013.
- "Outlast reopens its gates with Whistleblower DLC in April". Joystiq. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-03-10.