|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 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 for PlayStation 4 on February 4, 2014. Outlast received generally positive reviews from critics, and it was praised for its horror elements and gameplay. Linux and OS X versions were later released on March 31, 2015.
Outlast is 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 parkour: vaulting over low obstacles, crawling, and sliding through narrow gaps. In addition, Miles 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.
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, a freelance investigative journalist, receives an anonymous tip that inhumane experiments are being conducted at Mount Massive Asylum, a private psychiatric hospital owned by the notoriously unethical Murkoff Corporation. Entering the asylum, Upshur is shocked to discover its halls ransacked and littered with the mutilated corpses of the staff. He is informed by a dying SWAT officer that Mount Massive's deranged patients, known as "Variants", have escaped and are freely roaming the grounds, butchering Murkoff's employees. The officer implores him to leave, but Upshur finds he cannot return the way he came and must press on.
As Miles searches for another exit, he is surprised by one of the Variants—a hulking sadist named Chris Walker—who hurls him through a window and into an atrium, knocking the reporter unconscious. While incapacitated, Upshur has an encounter with 'Father' Martin Archimbaud, a self-anointed priest suffering from schizoaffective disorder. It soon becomes clear that Archimbaud considers Upshur his "apostle" and has no intention of letting him escape; he thwarts his attempts to unlock the front doors from a control room by cutting the power. After evading a Variant in the basement, Upshur restores power, but Archimbaud ambushes and injects him with anesthetic. Upshur is shown footage of a phantom that Archimbaud calls "the Walrider" going on a bloody rampage, which he claims is responsible for the asylum's current condition.
When he regains consciousness again, Upshur finds himself trapped in a decaying cell block filled with catatonic and demented patients. He manages to escape and make his way through the sewers to the main wards, pursued by Chris Walker and two cannibalistic Variants known as the Twins, only to be captured by Rick Trager, a former Murkoff executive afflicted by the same violent delusions as the other inmates. Trager straps Miles to a wheelchair and amputates two of his fingers. Upon breaking free and locating the key to the elevator, Upshur activates it and inadvertently crushes Trager between floors when he attempts to follow.
After infiltrating the upper floors of the facility and putting out a fire started by a pyromaniac Variant, Upshur finds his way into the recreational courtyard. He catches sporadic glimpses of Martin Archimbaud, and has a terrifying encounter with the Walrider itself when it passes over him. Reaching an auditorium with a playing reel, Upshur learns that the Walrider was created by Dr. Rudolf Gustav Wernicke, a German scientist brought to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. Wernicke believed that intensive dream therapy conducted on psychologically traumatized individuals could animate swarms of nanites and weld them into a single malevolent being.
Upshur eventually locates Archimbaud in the asylum chapel, where he witnesses the latter's self-immolation on a crucifix. Prior to his death Archimbaud leaves Upshur a key to the atrium elevator and insists that it will "take him to freedom". Following another confrontation with Walker, Upshur takes the elevator, which descends into a vast subterranean research lab at the heart of Mount Massive. Walker catches up with him but is dismembered by the Walrider, who shreds him on a ventilation grate. Upshur flees the Walrider and locates an aged Dr. Wernicke. Wernicke confirms that the Walrider is not a supernatural manifestation, but a technological entity made up of nanites being manipulated by Billy Hope, a comatose subject of Murkoff's experiments. He orders Upshur to shut off Hope's life support, hoping that this will disable the Walrider. Miles does so; however, just before Billy dies the Walrider accosts Upshur and enters his body. The wounded journalist staggers towards the exit, where Murkoff paramilitary operatives accompanied by Wernicke shoot him down. As Upshur collapses, Wernicke realizes that Miles is the Walrider's new host, and panicked screams and gunfire are heard as the screen fades to black.
Waylon Park is a software engineer working at Mount Massive Asylum for the Murkoff Corporation. His job entails maintaining the Morphogenic Engine, a device which perpetuates an induced state of lucid dreaming in comatose individuals. After several experiences working directly with the Morphogenic Engine and witnessing the torture that many asylum patients are forced to endure as unwilling test subjects, he decides to send an anonymous e-mail to reporter Miles Upshur exposing Murkoff's atrocities. Shortly afterwards Park is summoned to the underground lab's operations center to debug a monitoring system. When he returns to his quarters, he discovers his clandestine e-mail has been read by his supervisor, Jeremy Blaire. Blaire has Park arbitrarily committed to Mount Massive as a patient and subjects him to the Morphogenic Engine. However, after the Walrider begins causing chaos in the lab, Park escapes his restraints, taking a video camera with him. He roams the increasingly decrepit facility as surviving guards and medical personnel try to evade the newly freed prisoners, searching for a shortwave radio that he can use to contact the authorities. During this time, he consistently eludes a bearded cannibal named Frank Manera, who wields a mechanical circular saw blade and tries to murder him in many ways, including trapping him in a furnace. Just as Park manages to find a working radio transmitter, Blaire appears and attacks Park, destroying the transmitter. He begins to choke Park to death while berating him for not keeping his mouth shut. Upon hearing Chris Walker coming, Blaire leaves him to die.
Park eventually wanders into the asylum's long-abandoned female ward, where Dennis, a Variant inflicted with dissociative identity disorder, plots to capture and offer him as a sacrifice to another patient named Eddie Gluskin, whom he calls "the Groom". Park escapes Dennis by climbing over several obstacles and running down a set of stairs, but is ambushed by Gluskin. While initially eluding the Groom, Park falls into an elevator shaft and injures his leg. He is captured by Gluskin, who repeatedly tortures and castrates other men, ostensibly in search of the perfect "bride". Park is about to be castrated when another patient attacks Gluskin, allowing him to escape. The Groom attempts to hang Park in a gymnasium with his other victims, but during the struggle he becomes entangled in the ropes of his pulley system and impaled by a loose wooden beam.
At daybreak, Murkoff's paramilitary teams arrive at the asylum, intent on containing the Variants. Park slips past them when they enter the building, and makes a beeline for the main atrium. There he finds Blaire gravely wounded and pleading for assistance. As Park approaches, Blaire suddenly stabs him in the stomach with a shard of glass, declaring that no one can know the truth about Mount Massive. Before he can deliver the finishing blow, he is attacked and killed by the Walrider. Park stumbles out the open front door and towards Miles Upshur's jeep, which is still idling near the main gates. He puts the jeep into gear and drives through both gates as Upshur, surrounded by a swarm of nanites, walks towards him.
In the epilogue scene, a fully recovered Park has contacted a leaking organization that he can use to reveal his secret information on Murkoff. 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 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. The credits roll once he closes the laptop.
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 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.
|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.
Outlast 2 is set to release in 2016. It is set in the same universe of the first game. A demo of the game was released in early 2016.
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