The Outlast series has been hugely popular over the past decade, offering us different and crazy experiences with gameplay mechanics not used before in horror games.
Outlast was the first game to focus on escaping from enemies using parkour, in addition to having a night vision camera that made the experience even more terrifying. The next entry of the series is titled The Outlast Trials, and it's time to enjoy the horror experiences we are used to, but this time with friends!
The Outlast Trials is not the main third part of the series, but rather a sub-part that takes place in the Cold War era before the events of the first and second parts. The game's story centres on the Murkoff Corporation's experiments on psychopaths using Project MK Ultra, many of whom have had a frenzy, bloodthirstiness, and murder.
Although The Outlast Trials is a sub-game, it has 40 employees, that's double the number of employees that worked on Outlast 2 in 2017, so don't expect the game to be a simple side experience. Personally, I'm worried about the soundtrack, because the composer Samuel Laflamme who composed the music for our first two parts won't be working on The Outlast Trials. Red Barrels hasn't officially announced the composer for the new sequel, so we're waiting for more details soon!
The Outlast series has been distinguished by offering single player horror experiences, and The Outlast Trials will preserve the tradition of the series. If you want to finish the game individually you will be able to do so without any problems, but the best experience will be with friends as the game is primarily designed to take advantage of cooperative play and help players to each other.
We haven't had previews from the game since E3 2020, but the first trailer that came out gave an overview of the co-op experience where you'll go on horrific adventures with 3 of your friends and have to help each other escape from Murkoff's crazy experiments. I expect the experience to not differ significantly between individual and group play, some ideas that I hope exist is to use the collective experience to solve puzzles and search for different exits. This will make the individual experience more difficult, but it will be fun for all the horror game lovers like me .
The notable difference in the game is that you won't be using night vision cameras (the reason being that those cameras weren't invented during the Cold War era), but rather they will be replaced by Night Vision Goggles. Will the game this time also rely on searching for batteries all over the play area? This is a question we do not have an answer for yet.
The Outlast Trials will support cross-play across all the platforms it's available on. If you own the game on the PC platform via Steam, you will be able to try playing with your friend who play on the Epic Games Store. Add to that the ability to experience the game with friends who play on console, whether it's Xbox or PlayStation. The feature of cross-play has become present in most modern games, and it was expected that it will also be present in The Outlast Trials, and this is what Red Barrels will add.
Currently, we know that the game is coming to PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store, and of course it will be available on the new generation consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S. Since the game has been in development for several years, I suspect that it will also be available on the previous generation PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Unfortunately, Red Barrels has not revealed a final release date for the game yet. The studio previously confirmed that the game will be available during 2021, but we are entering the second half of the year and we have not received any details about the game. The release date could be revealed during Gamescom Opening Night Live on August 25 or during PAX West in September. The most appropriate release date would be in late October, coinciding with Halloween.
There is also a high possibility that the game will be delayed to early 2022. The main reason I can think of is that the studio will need more time to work on the game especially as it is their first co-op game. In addition, the COVID-19 virus has affected the game development process significantly and is likely to affect The Outlast Trials as well.
I'm a fan of the Outlast series and loved the first two experiences of the series hugely, so I am very excited about the third game and intend to try it first with my friends, then try it out individually to get my dose of horror from Red Barrels. With 40 employees working on the game at the moment, I expect The Outlast Trials to become the biggest and most successful title in the series. I also expect the game to set a high standard for horror games in the coming period which will make Red Barrels even more popular.
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