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Outcast returns

First screenshots of sequel to award-winning action-adventure game emerge

We've known for some time now that a sequel was in the works to the award-winning sci-fi adventure game Outcast, which we picked out as one of the best games of 1999. Featuring a bizarre alien world quite unlike anything seen before or since (partly thanks to its detailed voxel graphics) as well as an interesting storyline, a cast of great characters and an incredible soundtrack performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, it was truly a groundbreaking title.

With work now well underway on the sequel, Belgian developers Appeal have unveiled the first screenshots of the game in action. And the good news is that although the sequel has shed its voxels in favour of more traditional texture-mapped polygons, it looks every bit as outlandish as the original. The first batch of shots are lifted from the PlayStation 2 version of the game and are quite possibly the most impressive visuals seen on Sony's console to date, with towering cliffs and curvaceous terrain, thick alien vegetation and atmospheric looking patches of mist. All of this is rendered in real-time at 60Hz with full-scene anti-aliasing. My jaw should be returning from its current resting place on the floor under my desk some time tomorrow.

On the gameplay front, Appeal have revealed in an interview with fan site OutcastII.net that "the game happens in the south hemisphere of Adelpha, in places that Cutter has never visited" and that players will discover more about the planet and its native Talan civilization than was hinted at in the first game. Hopefully we should know more about the sequel soon, with a second batch of screenshots showing off the new look Cutter Slade expected in two weeks time. Both PC and PlayStation 2 versions of the game should be released some time next year, with an Xbox port also a possibility. Hopefully this time the game's commercial success will match the critical acclaim.

Thanks - Paul Harrington

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