Horror games have had a nice resurgence as of late, with the excellent Amnesia: Dark Descent, little indi titles like Lone Survivor and the Slender games. However none of those have attempted to meld action and horror in the same way as Outlast is purporting to do – so it’s good to see development is in full swing.
We first saw a concept trailer of Outlast back in November last year and were quite impressed with it. It seemed damn scary and the idea of mixing up free running with horror had potential. Now the creator of Outlast, Red Barrel’s Philippe Morin, has had a sit down with VG247 to discuss how the game is coming alone.
When voicing concerns over whether the action in the game could outweigh the horror, Morin said: “Traversal mostly comes into play when there are chases, so we can make the chases as exciting as possible when you’re running from the enemies. When you’re actually going through the level it’s mostly like a stealth game, but with a horror twist.”
“I think to ensure that tension is really high, players have to feel like if they get caught by the enemy, that the chances of being killed are really high. Most of the time if an enemy catches you, chances are you’re going to die, and at that point we try to create maximum tension.”
Just like Amnesia, in Outlast there’s no way to kill an enemy, you can just outrun it or hide – and preferably not draw its attention at all. Darkness will help you do that, as players will be hidden when within it, though will be able to see thanks to their night vision camera. However the camera’s tell-tale glow will attract attention in pitch black, suggesting that like Amnesia, players won’t be able to see their aggressors during the most tense moments.
“It means that players will be in total darkness, and will only have sound to know whether the enemies are close by, or walking away. So I think that will create a lot of interesting moments of tension,” Morin continued.
There seems to be a dual layered experience within Outlast, where perhaps learning what happened at the Asylum that the player is investigating, won’t be something every player focuses on. While Morin believes most will have a good idea by the end of the game, only those that dig deep enough will understand the full story.
“Of course, the goal of the player is to remain alive, so if some players are only there for the horror then they can play it that way,” he explained. “But players who want to dig more will be able to find more information. It’s not going to be a game where there’s a lot of cinematics, or character throwing information at you. It’ll mostly feel like a Half-Life game, but players who want to take the time to investigate can find more information.”
KitGuru Says: While I can never play these sorts of games without having an adrenaline induced heart attack, I’m always impressed by how emotive they are. Outlast sounds and looks like it could be up there with the best of them. I’ll certainly be keeping an infrared lens on this one.