Outlast

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Outlast
Outlast cover.jpg
Developer(s)Red Barrels
Publisher(s)Red Barrels
Writer(s)J. T. Petty
Composer(s)Samuel Laflamme
EngineUnreal Engine 3
Platform(s)
Release
  • Microsoft Windows
    • WW: September 4, 2013
    PlayStation 4
    • NA: February 4, 2014
    • PAL: February 5, 2014
    Xbox One
    • WW: June 19, 2014
    Linux, OS X
    • WW: March 31, 2015
    Nintendo Switch
    • WW: February 27, 2018
Genre(s)Survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player

Outlast is a first-person survival horror video game developed and published by Red Barrels. The game revolves around a freelance investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, who decides to investigate a remote psychiatric hospital named Mount Massive Asylum, located deep in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado. The downloadable content, Outlast: Whistleblower, centers on Waylon Park, the man who led Miles there in the first place.

Outlast was released for Microsoft Windows on September 4, 2013, PlayStation 4 on February 4, 2014 and for Xbox One on June 19, 2014. Linux and OS X versions were later released on March 31, 2015.[1] A Nintendo Switch version was released in February 2018.

Outlast received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise directed at its atmosphere, horror elements and gameplay. As of October 2016, the game has sold four million copies overall.[2]

A sequel, Outlast 2, was released on April 25, 2017.

Gameplay[edit]

The player can see the environment and other enemies in the dark by using the night vision mode on their camcorder.

In Outlast, the player assumes the role of investigative journalist Miles Upshur, as he navigates a dilapidated psychiatric hospital in Leadville, Colorado that is overrun by homicidal patients.[3] The game is played from a first-person perspective and features some stealth gameplay mechanics.[4] The player can walk, run, crouch, jump, climb ladders and vault over objects.[5] Unlike most games, however, the player doesn't have a visible health bar on the screen and is unable to attack enemies. The player must instead rely on stealth tactics such as hiding in lockers, sneaking past enemies, staying in the shadows and hiding behind or under things in order to survive. Alternatively, the player can attempt to outrun their pursuer.[6] If the player dies, the game will reset to the most recent checkpoint.[4]

Most of the hospital is unlit, and the only way for the player to see while in the dark is through the lens of a camcorder equipped with night vision.[3] Using the night vision mode will slowly consume batteries, forcing the player to scavenge for additional batteries found throughout the building.[7] Outlast makes heavy use of traditional jump scares and audio cues, which alert the player if an enemy has seen them.[8] If the player records specific events with their camcorder, Miles will write a note about it, providing further insight into his thoughts. Documents can be collected, which offer backstory and other supplementary information about the hospital.[7]

Developer Red Barrels have pointed to the survival-focused gameplay in Amnesia: The Dark Descent as a primary influence on the combat-free narrative style of Outlast.[9] Found-footage horror films like REC also served as influences.

Plot[edit]

Freelance investigative journalist Miles Upshur receives an anonymous email that inhumane experiments are being conducted at Mount Massive Asylum, a private psychiatric hospital owned by the notoriously unethical Murkoff Corporation. Upon entering, Miles is shocked to discover its halls ransacked and littered with the mutilated corpses of the staff. He is informed by a dying officer of Murkoff's private military unit that Mount Massive's deranged inmates, known as "variants", have escaped and are freely roaming the grounds, butchering Murkoff's employees. The officer implores him to leave, but Miles finds he cannot return the way he came and must press on.

As Miles searches for an exit, he is ambushed by a hulking variant named Chris Walker, who hurls him through a window into the lobby, knocking him unconscious. While incapacitated, Miles encounters Father Martin Archimbaud, a self-anointed priest with schizotypal personality disorder, who claims Miles is his "apostle" and sabotages his escape by cutting off power to the front doors. Miles restores power, but Father Martin injects him with anesthetic. He shows Miles footage of "the Walrider", an entity killing doctors, patients, and soldiers alike, which he claims is responsible for the asylum's ransacking.

Regaining consciousness, Miles finds himself trapped in a decaying cell block filled with catatonic and demented patients. He escapes through the sewers to the main wards, pursued by Walker and two cannibalistic twins, only to be captured by Rick Trager, a former Murkoff executive driven insane like the other inmates. Trager straps Miles to a wheelchair and amputates two of his fingers with a pair of bone shears, preparing to do the same to his tongue and genitals. However, Miles escapes Trager and flees to the elevator, inadvertently crushing Trager between floors when he attacks him.

Miles ventures further into the hospital and reconvenes with Father Martin, who tells him to go to the asylum's chapel. Reaching an auditorium, Miles learns that the Walrider was created by Dr. Rudolf Gustav Wernicke, a German scientist brought to the United States during Operation Paperclip. Wernicke believed that intensive dream therapy conducted on traumatized patients could connect swarms of nanites into a single malevolent being.

Miles finds Father Martin crucified in the chapel, who gives Miles a key to the atrium elevator that he insists will take him to freedom before immolating himself. Miles takes the elevator, which descends into a subterranean laboratory. Walker attacks him, only to be eviscerated by the Walrider. Miles locates an aged Wernicke, who confirms that the Walrider is a biotechnological nanite entity controlled by Billy Hope, a comatose subject of Murkoff's experiments. He orders Miles to terminate Hope's life support in the hopes that this will destroy the Walrider. Miles accomplishes this task; however, just before Billy dies, the Walrider attacks Miles and possesses his body. On his way out of the laboratory, Miles encounters a private military team led by Wernicke, which guns him down. A horrified Wernicke realizes that Miles is the Walrider's new host. Panicked screams and gunfire are heard as the screen fades to black.

Whistleblower DLC[edit]

Waylon Park is a software engineer working at Mount Massive Asylum for Murkoff. His job entails maintaining the Morphogenic Engine, which controls lucid dreaming in comatose individuals. After several experiences working directly with the Engine and witnessing its effects on the facility's patients, he sends an anonymous e-mail to reporter Miles Upshur to expose the corporation. Shortly afterwards, Park is summoned to the underground lab's operations center to debug a monitoring system. When he returns to his laptop, his supervisor, Jeremy Blaire, has him detained and subjected to the Morphogenic Engine after discovering his email. However, when the Walrider is unleashed (which leads to the events in the main story), Park escapes and takes a camcorder. He roams the increasingly decrepit facility as surviving guards and medical personnel try to evade the newly freed patients, searching for a shortwave radio that he can use to contact the authorities, all the while eluding a cannibal named Frank Manera, who wields an electric bone saw. Just as Park manages to find a working radio transmitter, Blaire appears and subdues him, destroying the transmitter and leaving Park to die.

Park finds his way into the asylum's vocational block where he is chased by Eddie Gluskin, a serial killer obsessed with finding the "perfect bride" by killing other patients and mutilating their genitalia. Gluskin captures Park and tries to hang him in a gymnasium with his other victims, but during the struggle, he becomes entangled in his pulley system and impaled by a loose section of rebar.

At daybreak, Murkoff's paramilitary division arrives at the asylum, intent on eliminating the variants. Park slips past them and escapes into the main lobby. There, he finds a gravely wounded Blaire, who stabs him suddenly, insisting that no one can know the truth about Mount Massive, but the Walrider kills him before he can finish Park off. Park then stumbles out the open front door and towards Miles Upshur's jeep, which is still idling near the main gates. He takes the jeep and drives away as Miles, now the Walrider's host, also emerges from the asylum.

In the epilogue, Park is sitting at a laptop with the videos ready for upload to expose the Murkoff Corporation. An associate informs him that it will be more than enough to ruin Murkoff, but is warned that they will then seek to eliminate him and his family. Despite some initial hesitation, Park decides to upload the file.

Release[edit]

Outlast was released on September 4, 2013, for download through Steam, and it was released on February 4, 2014, for the PlayStation 4 as the free monthly title for PlayStation Plus users.[10]

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.[11] The Microsoft Windows version of Whistleblower was released on May 6, 2014, worldwide, the PlayStation 4 version was launched on May 6, 2014, in North America and on May 7, 2014, in Europe, and the Xbox One version launched on June 18 in North America and Europe.[12] Linux and OS X versions were later released on March 31, 2015.[13]

In December 2017, Red Barrels announced that Outlast, including Whistleblower and the sequel Outlast 2, will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in early 2018.[14] The title was released by surprise on February 27, 2018 via Nintendo eShop.[15]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings(XONE) 80.00%[16]
(PC) 79.95%[17]
(PS4) 77.16%[18]
Metacritic(XONE) 80/100[19]
(PC) 80/100[20]
(PS4) 78/100[21]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid9/10[22]
Eurogamer7/10[8]
Game Informer7.5/10[23]
GameSpot7/10[6]
IGN7.8/10[24]
Joystiq4.5/5 stars[7]
PC Gamer (US)7.5/10[25]
Metro (UK)7/10[26]

As of October 19, 2016, Outlast has sold over 4 million copies.[27]

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,[16][19] the Microsoft Windows version 79.95% based on 37 reviews and 80/100 based on 59 reviews[17][20] and the PlayStation 4 version 77.16% based on 19 reviews and 78/100 based on 33 reviews.[18][21] 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".[28]

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."[29] 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.[24]

Gamespot gave the game a positive review as well stating that "Outlast isn't really a game of skill, and as it turns out, that makes sense. You're not a cop or a soldier or a genetically enhanced superhero. You're just a reporter. And as a reporter, you don't possess many skills with which you can fend off the hulking brutes, knife-wielding stalkers, and other homicidal maniacs who lurk in the halls of the dilapidated Mount Massive Asylum. You can't shoot them, or punch them, or rip pipes from the walls to clobber them with. You can only run and hide".[30]

Sequels[edit]

On October 23, 2014, in an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Red Barrels revealed that due to the success of Outlast, a sequel was in development.[31]

It was initially intended to be released in late 2016, but was delayed to early 2017 due to complications during development.[32] Subsequently, the release date was further pushed to Q2 2017, despite the intended Q1 2017 release.

On March 6, 2017, Red Barrels announced that a physical bundle called Outlast Trinity would be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on April 25.[33]

The sequel, titled Outlast 2, was made digitally available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 25, 2017; and came to the Nintendo Switch, alongside Outlast, in February 2018.[14] It takes place in the same universe as the first game, but features a new storyline with different characters, set in the Arizona desert.

Outlast 3 was announced in December 2017, though no time frame or target platforms were confirmed. [14] During this announcement, Red Barrels said that because they could not easily add downloadable content for Outlast 2 due to its structure, they have a smaller separate project related to Outlast that will release before Outlast 3.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Humble Indie Bundle 14 Is Out, Outlast & Shadow Warrior New To Linux". GamingOnLinux. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Red Barrels Shares Original Outlast Sales Figures, Talks About the Ending". 19 October 2016. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b McElroy, Griffin (September 4, 2013). "Outlast Review: Run Like Hell". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 26, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Fogel, Stefanie (September 4, 2013). "The inmates are running the asylum in Outlast, and they're terrifying (review)". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Crecente, Brian (June 19, 2013). "Outlast is a stealth horror game designed to make the player suffer". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Leif (September 4, 2013). "Outlast Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Conditt, Jessica (September 10, 2013). "Outlast review: Fraught in the dark". Joystiq. Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  8. ^ a b McCormick, Rich (September 5, 2013). "Outlast Review". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on September 8, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Turi, Tim (April 25, 2013). "Outlast: Discussing Influences And Mainstream Horror With Red Barrels". Game Informer. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Chen, Grace (February 4, 2014). "PlayStation Store Update". blog.us.playstation.com. Archived from the original on February 12, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  11. ^ "Outlast: Whistleblower announced, is prequel DLC for the asylum horror". PC Gamer. 2013-11-01. Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  12. ^ "Outlast reopens its gates with Whistleblower DLC in April". Joystiq. 2014-02-26. Archived from the original on 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  13. ^ "Humble Indie Bundle 14 Is Out, Outlast & Shadow Warrior New To Linux". GamingOnLinux. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d Barnett, Brian (December 7, 2017). "Outlast Coming to Switch, Outlast 3 Confirmed". IGN. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  15. ^ Frank, Allegra (February 27, 2018). "Surprise: Outlast is now available on Switch". Polygon. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
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  17. ^ a b "Outlast for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Outlast for PlayStation 4". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Outlast for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Outlast for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Outlast for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  22. ^ Brown, Fraser (September 4, 2013). "Review: Outlast". Destructoid. Archived from the original on September 8, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  23. ^ Reeves, Ben (September 6, 2013). "Outlast: Red Barrels Delivers An Endurance Test In Terror". Game Informer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Sliva, Marty (September 4, 2013). "Outlast Review: The Horror... The Horror..." IGN. Archived from the original on September 10, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  25. ^ Livingston, Christopher (September 11, 2013). "Outlast review". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  26. ^ Hargreaves, Roger (September 9, 2013). "Outlast review – afraid of the dark". Metro. Archived from the original on September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  27. ^ Alex, Co (October 19, 2016). "Red Barrels Shares Original Outlast Sales Figures, Talks About the Ending". PlayStation LifeStyle. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  28. ^ Wood, Chandler (June 16, 2013). "Outlast (PS4) – E3 Preview". PlayStationLifeStyle.net. Archived from the original on August 24, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  29. ^ Barrett, Ben (September 4, 2013). "Wot I Think: Outlast". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  30. ^ Petit, Carolyn (February 11, 2014). "Run like hell". Gamespot. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  31. ^ Dodd, Adam (October 23, 2014). "EXCLUSIVE: Red Barrels Confirms 'Outlast 2'!". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  32. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (August 1, 2016). "Outlast 2 delayed until early next year". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  33. ^ "Outlast Trinity". TheRedBarrels@Twitter. Archived from the original on 2017-04-17.

External links[edit]