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Outlast 2 Interview – Upgrading the Fear

October 21, 2016 Written by Alex Co

Red Barrels

If you bought a PlayStation 4 at or near launch, then there’s a high chance that you played or at least tried Red Barrels’ Outlast; one of the first games available on PS4 PS+ freebies. Needless to say, it a game that delivered in more ways than one.

For those who played the first game, or if you’re a fan of horror games (like me), then chances are high you’re looking forward to Outlast 2 and how it will scale up everything we loved in the first game. With that in mind, PlayStation LifeStyle reached out to developer Red Barrels to ask everything we wanted to know about Outlast 2! Speaking to us was Red Barrels President Philippe Morin, who was game to answer everything we threw at him.

outlast-2-demo

PlayStation LifeStyle: Will Outlast 2 be compatible with PlayStation VR when it’s released on PS4 next year? Any update on this at all?

Philippe Morin: No, it won’t be.  I think that if you want to make a really effective and enjoyable VR game, it has to be built from the ground up for it.  Since, we’re a small team of 20 people, we have to focus on one thing at a time.  We’ll see once we ship Outlast 2 if we jump on the VR bandwagon.

PSLS: With PS4 Pro out in about a month, is Outlast 2 going to have a PS4 Pro mode or any improvements that can capitalize with the new console’s power?

Morin: Yes it will.  It will have higher shadow quality, higher quality texture filtering and more detailed meshes.  That’s what we have so far, but we’re still working on some improvements.

PSLS: How many units did the first Outlast did collectively across all platforms? Was it the number Red Barrels expected?

Morin: It’s over four million units and it’s more than we ever dreamed of.

PSLS: Will Outlast 2 ever have a physical release?

Morin: We’re investigating that possibility.

PSLS: What specific improvements are being made to Outlast 2 given the feedback on the first title?

Morin: A much longer experience, at least 30% longer.  It has a wider variety of environments and setup.  The story is a lot more complex.  We still have the visceral, in your face kind of horror, but this time we also want to mess with the player’s mind.  We want them to go through the game and keep wondering what the hell will happen next.

PSLS: Blake Langermann is the new protagonist in Outlast 2, along with wife Lynn, will there be any element of co-op play? And can we expect any callbacks to Mount Massive asylum?

Morin: For the same reason I mentioned above, we have to remain focus on one goal at a time and for now that goal is to create a horrific single-player experience.

We’ve started distributing a comic book series that bridges the gap between Outlast 1 and Outlast 2.  You can download it here:   http://www.redbarrelsgames.com/comic-books/

PSLS: Outlast 2 is steeped in a genre of Southern Gothic horror that has produced films like Deliverance, Cape Fear and many more. Are there any titles in particular that inspired the sequel, be they movies or games?

Morin: We like to take our inspiration from eclectic material.  Children of the Corn, Take Shelter, Jonestown: Paradise Lost, The Shining, The Shrine, The Omen, The Village, The Wicker Man, True Detective, VHS 2.

PSLS: Player vulnerability was something that really hooked audiences with the original Outlast, can you speak about how the sequel upholds that unrelenting sense of dread?

Morin: It’s at the core of the Outlast experience.  We build these games to make the player suffer and we dare them to play through the whole thing.  The whole idea is to make them go through a range of emotions that isn’t usually found in video games.  And if we do our job well, those moments will remain with the player for a long time.

PSLS: A handful of players took issue with the game’s ending. Is this something you’ve taken on board with Outlast 2? How do you go about wrapping up a horror story in a way that feels satisfying?

Morin: I think the main issue with the ending was that we simply ran out of time to stage it well.  It was a tricky ending to pull off and it should have been tackled a lot sooner in development.

PSLS: The first entry in the series was a PlayStation Plus title. Was there any consideration to go that route again?

Morin: It made sense at the time to get has many players as possible aware of the brand, but now people know Outlast, it isn’t necessary.

Outlast 2 preview 2

PSLS: Will players be avoiding conflict again in the sequel or are there new ways to defend oneself?

Morin: The core gameplay remains the same, but we’ve added new behaviors that will enrich the experience.

PSLS: Will we see any familiar faces in Outlast 2?

Morin: No, it’s an entirely new setting, with new characters.  The comic books will explain how they relate to one another.

PSLS: Has the studio seen any backlash from religious groups after including religious references and themes in marketing and the game itself? If not now, what about at release?

Morin: No backlash at all, but then again we’ve shown very little.  😉


We’d like to thank Philippe Morin for taking the time out to answer our questions. Outlast 2 is scheduled for release in Q1 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.