I have to be honest here and say that I did not finish the first Outlast because I was too afraid. Call me what you want, but being locked in an asylum filled with unsavory characters at every turn became the stuff of nightmares for me. So you can imagine my heart-pounding terror when I stepped up to play Red Barrel's Outlast 2.
Talking to the co-founder and game designer Philippe Morin and his senior technical artist Alexander Sabourin, I asked how different this game was compared to the first one. They responded by telling me that it has an all new story that really "pushes the limits" when it comes to the fear tactics and gore. I had mentioned to them that I did not finish the first one, nor got a chance to play the DLC, and they were nearly jumping at the chance to watch me play their new one.
Nervous as I could be, with the creators of the game watching behind me, I put on the headphones and timidly jumped into the game.
The story follows a husband and wife journalist pair in the process of covering the murder of a pregnant woman known as Jane Doe. Their investigation leads them deep into the Arizona desert, where their helicopter "mysteriously goes down." The wife goes missing after the crash and the husband embarks on a search for help. I think it's safe to say that help is far from what players will find.
As terrified as I was to play this game, I was fascinated by the incredible attention to detail they put in. After the helicopter crash, the husband leaves the crash site injured, limping to find help, which effects his walking speed. When creepy village people hit him with sharp objects, he slows down at an alarming rate. And in just the first 5 minutes of playing, I had plenty of questions about the mysteries of this Arizona dwelling to keep me distracted from the unrelenting horror.
During the demo I was haunted by supernatural beings, grabbed by mumbling fanatics, and chased through cornfields. After embarrassingly screaming out loud a few times, I finished the demo by dying just a few feet from escaping alive. I took the headphones off, heart pounding and a huge smile on my face, and Morin and Sabourin asked me how it was. It was terrifyingly fantastic.
Outlast 2 releases fall 2016 for Xbox one, PlayStation 4, and PC.