The “Outlast” series has tested our nerves, pitting us against deadly lunatics and demented cults since 2013. Red Barrels is at it again, this time thrusting players into a Cold War setting as a test subject in a mysterious experiment with “The Outlast Trials.” Unlike “Outlast” and “Outlast 2,” players won’t have to tackle the horrors of the latest installment alone. “The Outlast Trials” will be the first in the series to feature co-op multiplayer, though we wouldn’t expect it to tone down the scares.
Red Barrels previously hinted at a completely unique experience set in the “Outlast” universe in 2017. The original Facebook post promised a “distinct experience” and that the development team strived to be “risk-takers.” While a horror multiplayer game may not seem like a big risk anymore, one has to consider the series the concept is being integrated into.
The series has always been about making the gamer feel isolated and helpless. Red Barrels can easily work some semblance of helplessness into a multiplayer setting. Just look at games like “Dead by Daylight” and “Friday the 13th: The Video Game.” Creeping players out by isolating them in dark, dingy, and uncomfortable settings, however, may be a little more difficult when putting them in groups of four.
Red Barrels has remained tight lipped about “The Outlast Trials,” save for the fact that it’s not a direct sequel and up to four players will tackle whatever terrors are thrown their way. Traditionally, horror multiplayer games see multiple players working together to escape a common, player-controlled enemy. It doesn’t sound like that’s the path “The Outlast Trials” will take, meaning it may be more puzzle-based, with players working together to escape a horrifying fate. Whatever the concept is, it’s one that players can tackle solo if they want that classic horror genre fee.
Considering the setting of the Cold War, it can be assumed that the Russians play an integral part. The tagline on the teaser image, “Where Freedom Ends,” may even allude to captured Americans forced to run through a deadly gauntlet constructed by Soviet scientists. Judging by the antiquated eyewear each tormented figure is wearing in the image, we can also assume that those are night-vision goggles used to illuminate the way.
“Outlast” has always been about being pushed to the brink of insanity and has featured elements of the supernatural. It’s highly likely that Red Barrels will once again work these into the next “Outlast” game, especially since they will help players feel less safe when tackling the experience with others.
“The Outlast Trials” is still in “the early stages of development” and has a while to go before launch. It’s also unclear what it will launch on, considering it will likely be completed in time for the PS5 and Microsft’s new Xbox in Q4 2020.