|Designer(s)||Philippe Morin, David Chateauneuf|
|Writer(s)||J. T. Petty|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3.5|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
Outlast is a first-person survival horror video game developed and published by Canadian video game developer Red Barrels. The game revolves around a freelance investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, who decides to investigate a remote psychiatric hospital situated deep in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado. The Whistleblower DLC centers on Waylon Park, the man who led Miles there in the first place.
Outlast was released for Microsoft Windows on September 4, 2013 and on February 4, 2014 for PlayStation 4. Outlast generally received positive reviews from critics and it was praised for its horror elements and gameplay. Linux and OS X versions were released on March 31, 2015.
Outlast centers around 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, reporter Miles Upshur, is incapable of combat, except for scripted sequences allowing him to shove enemies out of his way. Without any traditional weapons, players have to navigate the facility's ransacked environment with freerunning: vaulting over low obstacles, or parkour, crawling, and sliding through narrow gaps. In addition, Miles may survive encounters with assailants by hiding inside staff lockers or under beds, or even blending in the darkness, if there was any area that was dark; more intelligent opponents may search the room for an allocated period before moving on.
Miles carries with him only a notebook and a camcorder, with which he plans to document the horrors within the asylum. It has a night vision option for use in the asylum's many unlit sections. Use of the IR mode 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, as well as manila folders scavenged from the environment.
Miles Upshur, an investigative reporter, is sent to investigate Mount Massive Asylum. Upshur reaches Mount Massive Asylum but is forced to enter the facility through an open window. He is shocked to see blood, and a dying SWAT officer who tells him that the "Variants" killed them and warns Upshur to get out while he still can.
As Upshur explores the asylum, he is surprised by a hulking sadist named Chris Walker, who grabs him and throws him from the first floor into the Atrium. Upshur falls unconscious and wakes up by Father Martin Archimbaud, who calls Upshur an "apostle" sent by "God", and falls unconscious again. When Upshur wakes up again, he then makes his way to the security room to open the front doors but Chris Walker was there, who cuts the power. Upshur escapes from Chris Walker while finding the power lever.
Upshur finds the lever and attempts to open the front doors, but Archimbaud injects him with anesthetic and Upshur falls asleep. As he wakes up, Upshur finds himself in the Prison Block. He manages to escape there and makes his way through the sewers, before then reaches the male ward and being chased by two variants - escaping by getting into a descending dumbwaiter. Upshur is surprised by his savior, Richard "Rick" Trager, who takes him to a bathroom where Rick then mutilates two of Upshur's fingers. After escaping and finding the key to the elevator, Upshur activates it and crushes Rick between two floors.
Upshur travels through the Female Ward and again sees Father Martin, who tells Upshur that to get to him he must use the upper floors. Upshur takes 3 fuses and uses them to activate the laundry chute. As he travels deeper in the female ward, Upshur jumps over a broken plank and struggles, causing his camcorder to fall 3 floors. Upshur retrieves his camera (now severely damaged) and returns from where it fell.
As he travels deeper into the asylum, he reaches an auditorium with a playing reel, where he learns that the Walrider was created by Dr. Rudolf Gustav Wernicke, a German scientist taken by the CIA for Operation Paperclip. After going even deeper into the asylum, Upshur was told by a Neutral Variant that he can find Martin in the chapel. He went there, only to find Martin's self-immolation. Before Martin burns, he gives Upshur the key to the elevator, which he fixed. Upshur takes it, uses it in a waiting elevator, and descends through the floors. The elevator stops in the ground floor, which makes Upshur excited, but later descends again - to reach an underground lab.
As he goes deep in the underground lab, Upshur is followed by Chris Walker, who was killed by the Walrider by literally shredding him in the vents. He runs off, only to find an aged Wernicke, who tells him that the Walrider is a result of nano-technology nanites, which are controlled by Billy Hope, who thinks that Wernicke is his father. Upshur goes off to kill Billy Hope, and when he has done so the Walrider makes Upshur his new host. As Upshur staggers throughout the exit, he is surprised by soldiers led by Wernicke, and shot repeatedly. Wernicke then says "Gott im Himmel, you have become the host!" Panicked screams and gunshots are heard before the credits roll.
Most of the game's soundtracks are horror-themed. They are composed by Samuel Laflamme, the game's music composer. They usually play when a Variant or enemy chases or tries to kill the protagonist. One example is the Male Ward Chase that played two times when two variants tried to kill Miles while he was chased through the Male Ward. Usually, when Miles is not being threatened, the game only makes sounds depending on the environment and Miles' movements.
Whistleblower downloadable content
The downloadable content, 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 Microsoft Windows version of Whistleblower was released on May 6, 2014 worldwide, the Xbox One launched on June 18 in North America and Europe, coinciding with the release, and the PlayStation 4 version was launched on May 6, 2014 in North America and on May 7, 2014 in Europe.
Waylon Park is a software engineer working at Mount Massive for the Murkoff Corporation. After several encounters working directly with the Morphogenic Engine and witnessing the torture that the inmates are forced to endure, he decides to send an email to Miles Upshur reporting on the corruption of Mount Massive. Shortly after sending it, he is called to the lab's operation center because one of the cameras that was used to monitor patients inside the glass spheres have malfunctioned. After fixing it, he goes back to the server room, only to be caught by his employer, Jeremy Blaire. As punishment, Blaire has Park committed and forced to endure the tests of the Morphogenic Engine. However, after the Walrider breaks free and begins causing chaos at Mount Massive, Park manages to escape his restraints, taking a camcorder with him. He roams the facility as surviving guards and personnel try to escape from the newly freed prisoners, trying to find a radio that he can use to contact the authorities. During this time, he consistently eludes a bearded, cannibalistic prisoner named Frank Manera, who wields a mechanical circular saw blade and tries to kill him in many ways, including trapping him in a furnace. Just as Park manages to find a radio, Blaire appears and destroys it, insisting that no one can reveal the secret of Mount Massive. He leaves Park to die at the hands of Chris Walker, only for Park to escape.
Park eventually wanders into a secluded area of the Female Ward, where a variant by the name of Dennis, inflicted with dissociative identity disorder, captures and offers him as a sacrifice to a prisoner named Eddie Gluskin, whom he calls "The Groom". While initially eluding Gluskin, Park falls into an elevator shaft and gets a piece of debris lodged in his right shin, reducing him to a limp. Park is eventually captured, where he discovers how Gluskin repeatedly tortures and mutilates male prisoners' genitals, treating them like his brides (as there are no real women stationed at the asylum for him to torture) before brutally killing them. He attempts to kill Park in the same way, but Park manages to escape at the last second with the help of another prisoner who attacks Gluskin. After Gluskin kills the other prisoner and returns to kill Park by hanging him in a gymnasium full of hanging bodies, Park puts up enough resistance so that Gluskin is caught up in the multiple ropes of his pulley system, and eventually impaled by a loose wooden beam.
As daylight finally breaks, Park continues throughout the asylum, discovering that Murkoff's paramilitary forces have already arrived at the scene and are killing every person they see so that no one would ever tell others about what really happened. Park manages to elude them as they are all killed by the Walrider and makes it to the main atrium. There he finds a wounded Blaire, lying against the front door and pleading for help. However, as Park approaches, Blaire stabs him in the stomach with a glass shard, declaring that no one can know the truth. But before he can deliver the finishing blow, he is attacked and killed by Miles, who is now the Walrider's new host (after killing Billy Hope earlier). Park staggers out the open front door and past the military vehicles, towards a red Jeep waiting by the security gate (which belonged to Miles). As Park enters the Jeep and starts it up, he notices a dark figure: Miles Upshur's Walrider-sustained broken body, slowly exiting the asylum with a dark mist surrounding it. He manages to escape and slam through the entry gates just as the figure exits the asylum.
In the epilogue scene, a fully recovered Park has gotten in contact with a leaking organization to submit his secret information on Murkoff to. Park is sitting at a laptop with the video file of all his recorded video from the asylum, ready to be uploaded to the internet. A man associated with the leaking website standing in front of his desk informs him that it will be more than enough evidence to ruin the Murkoff Corporation, but warns Park that doing so will result in Murkoff doing everything it can to punish him in return, including threatening his family. Despite some initial hesitation, Park ultimately decides to take the risk and uploads the video, as the credits roll once he closes the laptop.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2015)|
Outlast received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox One version 80.00% based on 3 reviews and 80/100 based on 5 reviews, the Microsoft Windows version 79.95% based on 37 reviews and 80/100 based on 59 reviews and the PlayStation 4 version 77.16% based on 19 reviews and 78/100 based on 33 reviews. 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.
On October 12, 2014, Red Barrels co-founder Philippe Morin confirmed a sequel to be in development. The sequel, a new survival horror game set in the same universe as the original Outlast, would present a different location and different characters. Outlast 2 was officially announced on October 29, 2015. It is set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Fall 2016. A teaser trailer was released recently.
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