Last week we got an extended glimpse at Outlast, the first-person horror game from several ex-Ubisoft devs at new indie outfit Red Barrels. Many of you were hungry for more details about the promising survival game, so we caught up with Red Barrels' co-founder Philippe Morin, who worked as a designer on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Assassin's Creed and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Speaking over Skype, I first asked how exactly Outlast plays, since the trailer didn't show any gameplay footage.
"The core experience is basically a stealth game," said Morin. "But instead of it turning into a shoot out when you get spotted by the enemy, it turns into a chase."
As the teaser suggested, your character - a journalist named Mile Upshur - is pretty agile, as one might expect being the meta-descendant of Altier, Nathan Drake and a certain Persian Prince.
"You can't do rebounds and running and stuff like that, but we wanted wanted the character to be able to interact with the world and use those abilities while they're running away from the enemies to make those chases as exciting as possible," Morin explained. "It doesn't feel like you're just a floating camera in the world."
"Our main goal is to scare the s*** out of players."Philippe Morin, co-founder, Red Barrels
Level design-wise, Outlast will ultimately be a linear game, but it will be separated into rather open "puzzle hubs," as Morin called them. "You're going to have to explore and figure out what you need to do and in what order you need to do it, and while you're doing that there's going to be enemies doing their own stuff. They mostly become obstacles between you and your objective."
I asked if you'll have any way to fight back if you get caught, to which Morin replied, "We're still exploring the possibility of having weapons here and there, but it's going to be very minimal and definitely not part of the core experience... If players feel empowered then the stress - the fear - is not as high."
This is important to Morin, who stated, "Our main goal is to scare the s*** out of players."
In order to keep players on edge, Outlast is going to mix up the way things play out. "If you do die and respawn, things will not happen the same way," Morin explained. Instead, you'll have to contend with remixed scenarios. Morin was cagey about calling it "randomised," but it sounded as if enemy placements may change based on your behaviour. "We're trying to think in advance 'What if a player does this?' 'What if a player does that?'"
Ultimately, Outlast sounds like an intriguing blend of Condemned's disgusting odyssey through a mire of violent diseased minds crossed with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories heart-pounding chases and a smidge of Assassin's Creed's athleticism for good measure.
Outlast is gunning for a Q3 2013 release and is currently focusing on a PC launch, but Morin noted he'd like the Unreal Engine 3-based game to "come out on as many platforms as we can."