The Outlast Trials was one of the more surprising announcements made during Gamescom’s Opening Night Live Show. Reconfiguring the horror thrills of the first-person survival series into a cooperative multiplayer experience may be an unexpected direction for the series’ third entry, but according to developer Red Barrels – behind every game to date – it’s in keeping with the studio’s drive to challenge itself with each new iteration. Here, it sheds some more light on the upcoming title, coming to PlayStation in the future.
What is the Tweet-length elevator pitch for this game?
In The Outlast Trials, you’ve been abducted by the Murkoff Corporation to go through unethical experiments that will modify your psyche and behavior. Whether you go through the trials by yourself or in teams, if you survive long enough, Murkoff will happily let you return into society… but will you be the same?
What would you consider the new key gameplay innovation for this title, and what sets it apart from other games in the team-based multiplayer horror genre as well as the previous Outlast entries?
This time, you can choose to survive with friends. If the previous games could be compared to movies, The Outlast Trials is more like a TV Series. Your journey to freedom will be a long one.
Why is now the right time for this reveal?
We simply wanted to give our fans an update and the unfortunate news that we have to delay the release into 2022. We’re getting closer than ever, but we need more time to refine the game. With each game, we try to give ourselves a new challenge and The Outlast Trials is no exception.
“There are a dozen warehouses, connected by underground tunnels. Inside the warehouses, Murkoff has constructed heightened lift-sized models of real-world environments.”
What do you hope players will feel when playing this game?
Whether they play alone or with friends, we want players to feel like they’re fighting for their lives and their right to freedom. But can you have freedom of the body without freedom of the mind?
How would you describe the game’s art design, and what were some of the inspirations behind it?
The approach used is the same as the previous Outlast games… twisted realism, decadence, and in-your-face gore.
How are you designing the main characters in a way that will appeal and connect with players?
Iconic nemeses are part of the Outlast DNA, and this time we have more variety than ever. Players will get to know many weird, dangerous, and violent characters. Although they’re also victims of Murkoff, most of them are definitely more than happy to prevent you from completing the program.
What game engine is this being built in, and what advantages does that give you?
Outlast 1 and 2 were made in Unreal Engine 3. This time, we’re using Unreal Engine 4. UE4 definitely played a big part in our prototyping phase. We were able to test new ideas and iterate pretty quickly.
“In between the trials, Reagents return to the Sleep Room, where Murkoff takes good care of them. Reagents can interact with Murkoff employees to obtain the items that they’ll need for their next trial.”
Tell us about yourselves – the creators of this game, where you’re based, and how your collective development history influences this new project?
We’re based in Montreal. David Chateauneuf, Hugo Dallaire and I co-founded the studio back in 2011, after working on big AAA games like Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and Uncharted. Outlast was our first project as Red Barrels. We made the first game in 14 months with a team of 10 people. For Outlast 2, we doubled the studio staff. This time, we’re a little more than 40 people and we’re working on a much bigger game than before. Growing the studio in size during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, but we’re getting there.
Are there any key PS5 gameplay features such as DualSense wireless controller haptics, triggers, motion, etc you can discuss?
We haven’t thoroughly investigated all these options, but we’re definitely excited by the possibilities. Hopefully, we’ll have more to announce soon.