Survive the Asylum: Red Barrels' Outlast

When has investigating an insane asylum ever been a good idea?

If you loved Amnesia: The Dark Descent, get ready for another incredible survival horror game. Outlast, from Red Barrels, is set to release at the end of the summer on Steam. As a side note, if you enjoyed the second season of American Horror Story, this is along the same vein. 

In Outlast, you are a reporter out to investigate an insane asylum in the real forests of Mount Massive, Colorado (which happens to be my home state, eep!). The story is based on the actual MKUltra experiments the CIA conducted in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, using "unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens" as test subjects. Drug testing, torture, forms of mind control, and other illegitimate methods were the techniques of choice. In the late 1970s, the MKUltra files were said to be destroyed with only a few left behind. 

All you can do is run and hide

Your goal is to get out of there and pronto. Blood splatters across the walls and floors. Everything is haphazardly strewn about and broken. Lights flicker. Mentally distraught patients wander the halls, some more benevolent than the others

The others seem to have adjusted to the darkness, and their humanity is gone. They chase you throughout the asylum, and your only option at times is to hide

There aren't any cutscenes; the story unfolds through the clues you find by way of newspaper clippings and paperwork. It's up to you to decide how much you want to uncover. Using your camcorder, you can also see in the dark, though it feels much creepier. As a reporter, it's your job to explore as much as possible, but with inhuman creatures chasing you for your flesh, I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to wuss out. 

The Developers

Outlast is Red Barrels' first game. The co-founders include Philippe Morin, David Chateauneuf, and Hugo Dallaire. Morin and Chateauneuf both worked on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Assassin's Creed; Morin as game designer and Chateauneuf as lead level designer. Dallaire was art director for Spinter Cell and Army of Two. This group of gentlemen, as well as the rest of the Red Barrels team, have a lot of credibility to back up their endeavor. 

As I was watching the trailer, I jumped and yelped--and I wasn't even playing yet. I love the thrill of horror games, especially if they have a great story (ie. Amnesia). Outlast comes out soon. Check out the petrifying trailer, and see if you'll be able to handle it.

Columnist

Designer, opera singer, gamer, and pug lover.

Published Jun. 20th 2013

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