- "Outlast 2 introduces you to Sullivan Knoth and his followers, who left our wicked world behind to give birth to Temple Gate, a town, deep in the wilderness and hidden from civilization. Knoth and his flock are preparing for the tribulations of the end of times and you’re right in the thick of it."
- ―Outlast II Steam Description
Outlast 2 (stylized as OULAST II) is a first-person psychological, survival horror video game and an indirect sequel to Outlast, developed and published by Red Barrels and distributed by Warner Bros. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 25, 2017 and for the Nintendo Switch on March 27, 2018.
The game takes place in the same universe as Outlast, but features different characters and a different setting.
Like the two previous titles, the game is built in Unreal Engine 3, but slightly modified. Developers commented that in this way, they can take all the assets from previous games, such as animations, scripts, etc. Players are able to run and crouch behind objects to avoid their pursuers, as well as hide within various places, whether it be a barrel, locker or a pool of water. There is a limited sprint mechanic, which will decrease the more the player runs. The movement system was also reworked allowing players to slide when running. Players can restore health by bandaging their wounds. This, however, takes a few seconds and can be disrupted by nearby enemies. The Camcorder makes its return, with a slightly different HUD and overall appearance. Its night vision can be implemented to help the player navigate through darkness, however batteries are required to keep the camera running. Philippe Morin also noted that enemy AI is being remade from scratch and their patterns will differ from the first game.
- "You are Blake Langermann, a cameraman working with your wife, Lynn. The two of you are investigative journalists willing to take risks and dig deep to uncover the stories no one else will dare touch.
You're following the trail of clues that started with the seemingly impossible murder of the pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe.
The investigation has lead you miles into the Arizona desert, to a darkness so deep that no one could shed light upon it, and a corruption so profound that going mad may be the only sane thing to do."
- ―Outlast II demo opening
The game takes place in the same universe as Outlast, after the events of the Mount Massive Asylum Slaughter. Murkoff is also scheduled to make their appearance. According to the developers, the main setting takes place in a secluded village, located somewhere in the canyons of Arizona. Blake Langermann, a cameraman, with his wife Lynn, travel to southern Arizona to investigate the murder of a Jane Doe. The woman was previously found eight months pregnant by the side of the road, before committing suicide in the hospital that she was brought to, according to the facility's records. Due to the desert climate and the region being inaccessible by land vehicles, the two take a chopper to reach their destination, which ends up crashing from unknown complications. Blake wakes up sometime later, with Lynn nowhere in sight. Later, Blake realizes that he's been stranded in a village with cult members that believe the end of times are upon them. His main goal is to find Lynn and escape alive from the hostile villagers.
The story begins with a voice calling out to Blake and then screaming. Blake is awakened by his wife, Lynn, who says he was screaming some other woman's name in his sleep. They are in a helicopter and are inbound to a location where the duo wants to investigate. Blake tells Lynn he was dreaming of Jessica Gray, a student they knew from childhood. Lynn stated she hasn't talked about her in ages, then tells Blake that they should start making an intro for their piece on Jane Doe. They have a small debate on how she died, until Lynn decides to reshoot. In the middle of the intro, a bright flash of light appears in front of the helicopter, and then the aircraft goes down with Blake, Lynn and the pilot screaming for their lives.
Blake then wakes up in his old school, which is a Catholic grade school (St. Sybil, to be exact). Blake follows a mysterious man until he reaches a set of doors, which then slam on him. As he turns around he sees a young girl, and behind the girl is a large rush of blood. Waking up to the crash, Blake frees himself from under a door and traverses to the main helicopter body. He then walks over to the pilot, and is horrified by the gruesome discovery: their pilot was skinned and fixed to a cross. He discovers a town which seems deserted, but the townsfolk seem to be initially avoiding him. Around him are dead cows; recently killed and squalor. Soon, he goes down a certain area and sees the remains of dead infants. After walking out of that Blake goes outside and hears someone speaking cryptically, which turns out to be Marta. Blake carefully avoids Marta as he continues his journey onward.
Blake feels the flash of light again and villagers who were trying to maim him get disoriented, so he escapes. He eventually discovers a church. He hears a strange old man, who has captured his wife. Lynn tries to reason with them but to no avail. After Blake finds Lynn, it is discovered that she, her baby and her yokemate (husband) must be killed, for Lynn's baby is the Antichrist. Blake is confused as he had no idea Lynn was pregnant, and he wants to talk about whatever happened but Lynn doesn't want to. Lynn is in great pain and they momentarily pause. Blake is very concerned for his wife, but then the cultists unfortunately catch up to them. Amidst both of them struggling, another group of people come around and kill the cultists.
They are called the Heretics, who are led by the extremely lustful Val. Though Val is referred to as a man she seems to also be a woman. Val calls Lynn mother and rejoices in her womb carrying the antichrist. Val then licks Blake's face and says she knows she will be seeing him again. Val captures Lynn and takes her away, making Blake go after her.
Both the Cultists and the Heretics have deeply wounded him. He seemingly has a head wound and is seeing in double. Blake falls down and is then approached by a man named Ethan. Ethan is not a Heretic but he is also excommunicated (an "Unborn") by the cult. He says he denied Knoth his fifteen year old daughter, Anna Lee. Knoth still had sex with her and then demanded his child is the Antichrist and wanted Anna Lee murdered. Blake then realizes that their Jane Doe is Anna Lee. Ethan had helped her escape outside so she could have a chance surviving. When Ethan eagerly asks Blake if Anna Lee is still alive, Blake lies, not wanting to break the man's heart.
Ethan lets Blake hide under the root cellar of his house and Blake falls asleep. He dreams of Jessica. Blake awakens and hears Marta brutally interrogating Ethan for answers. Ethan denies knowing where Blake is, so Marta impales him and leaves. Blake hopes he found his daughter and thanks him for not revealing him. Blake then runs through Temple Gate. He picks up documents about the town and is seemingly losing his sanity. After some chases, Blake comes into a church. There is a man there, Josiah. Josiah's eyes have been gouged out and his chest has the words "Judas" carved into it. Josiah begs Blake to kill him so the cult won't have a reason to torture his wife, Mary. Yet, Blake hides in the confessional upon hearing someone coming. Knoth then brings Mary who is barely dressed, and proceeds to have his men torture her on a rack. Josiah, reluctantly, reveals that Lynn was taken to the mines by Val. After that, both he and Mary are brutally killed.
Blake comes out of hiding and is chased by the cult members. He now knows he has to get to the mines to reach Lynn. The road is long and he is attacked by Marta and townsfolk. Blake then as he is crossing the bridge sees locusts and falls down and must take the long way to the mines. Throughout the game, Blake has psychosomatic hallucinations which are part of the gameplay. Though it is questionable if these are hallucinations. Blake goes back to his childhood, when he is in Fourth Grade, and friends with Lynn and Jessica. Blake had found Jessica had hanged herself. Jessica had left a suicide note where she said Blake should have loved her. In these parts there is a strange monster or demon chasing after Blake with a pulsating tongue around the school. Death is immediate by this demon who proceeds to rip Blake's throat or gut out with its protruding tongue. There is also a man's voice who Jessica warns Blake against in the school.
Blake realizes now he has to take the long way to the mines. This way leads him through the Scalled, who are severely sick cultists that have been cast out of the Temple Gate. Apparently, they have been sick with gonorrhea and syphilis due to Knoth and his people inbreeding and having odd sexual practices in which incest is also encouraged. In one earlier note of the game, which Blake finds in the town's central square, it is hinted that Knoth has syphilis. Knoth sends two men, Paul and Simeon, to get medications from the outside world. These excursions are not necessarily for medication but also supplies like gas, which the cultists themselves can't make. However, Knoth has lied to these men, saying his medications are just studying AIDS. When Paul relays this to their supplier, the young man laughs and states that the only thing Knoth must have been studying is the "gash." Paul is afraid to question Knoth himself directly as any opposition leads to either torture or death. Knoth and the others indiscriminately have sex with many women leading to the spreading of STDs. However, Knoth has medication for his syphilis which he does not share with the others. The people who manifest these sickness, as in horrible sores and gradual decomposition of flesh, are sent to a secluded part of the forest. They are told to await salvation.
The Scalled are said that what they have is the "sickness of the soul", a manifestation of their physical sins, and that is not gonorrhea or syphilis. But there are members of the Scalled who know these are STDs (a note shows a woman named Athaliah talking to Simeon about penicillin) and they try to escape this quarantine. People trying to escape or ask questions about their disease are eventually killed by Laird and Nick. Laird is a small, deformed man who rides on the back of Nick, a silent but strong figure. Laird is a deacon who himself is sick with STDs and is told to control and cage up the sick. However, there are notes scattered throughout that suggests that the sick question Knoth's gospel and there are signs of a mutiny. While traversing through the encampment, Laird captures Blake.
Laird calls Blake the "Scalled Messiah" and proceeds to crucify him. Laird believes that Blake must be crucified and buried to gain resurrection. Laird also takes Blake's camera because he believes a modern messiah will use this as his gospel and not a book. Blake painfully takes out his nails and runs after Laird in a grueling forest segment. After getting his camera back there is another school segment in which Blake must escape the demon. Blake then again comes back to the present where he is chased by Laird and Nick. Eventually, they catch him again, state that he must "finish his gospel" and proceeds to bury him alive. Blake escapes and keeps on going to the mines. In one such area where he needs rope to climb down Laird corners him but his own people push him off (it was hinted that many did not like him and Nick), killing both him and Nick.
Blake keeps on moving to the mines. He must cross a lake to do so. Though, the lake is filled with dead people and people killing themselves. In fact, cultists' documents reveal that getting close to the mines actually disorients people and makes them see visions that are disturbingly sexual and violent. It is in one corner of the lake that Blake can find a very important document which gives an idea what is happening. The author of the note calls the cultists "Subjects" and has casually made bets with colleagues, such as Jenny Roland (Jennifer Roland from Outlast), on how the subjects will react to certain radio frequencies. However, the author also seems to be affected by the radio frequencies. It is severely implied that the Murkoff Corporation is behind what is happening at Temple Gate.
Blake uses a raft to get across the lake though he gets toppled over during the journey. The blinding light suddenly came out of nowhere and seemingly brought with it a tide. Now, the demon from his hallucinations is in the water and tries to drown him. Blake escapes but as he approaches the mine's entrance Blake again is transported back to his childhood. This time, he is underwater. In the swimming pool the monster chases him and he gets out to be brought back to the present again. However, he sees it is raining blood. Blake is then chased by Heretics but finally makes it to the elevator downwards.
Down in the mines Blake thinks the demon is chasing him at times only to disappear. Eventually, Blake is captured by Val. Val is wearing a crown of thorns and is naked but covered with mud. She tries to molest Blake but there is a cave in and Blake now must escape Val. After escaping Val for a bit Blake keeps on going further only for some Heretics to catch him and drug him. He sees a pregnant Lynn tied up, while surrounded by Heretics partaking in what appears to be an orgy. Val then straddles Blake and it is implied, by some reviewers, that she either molests or rapes him.
During this traumatic episode players finally go back to Blake's past. He seems to be pinned down by Jessica. It is hinted that Jessica wants to kiss him but Blake doesn't really want to. So, she gets off and just wants to hang out with him at his house. They are found by Father Loutermilch. Loutermilch then makes Jessica and Blake come into class and interrogates them and if they were doing something wrong. Jessica pleads Blake to stay which makes Loutermilch more suspicious and he keeps on shaming Jessica and Blake. Though Blake tries to explain that he was not necessarily being flirty or romantic with Jessica, Loutermilch shames him and tells him to go home, albeit Jessica telling him to stay. When Blake does try to go home he hears Jessica scream. He sees Loutermilch chase a running Jessica who is screaming and telling him to leave her alone. Blake runs after them hoping to help Jessica. Blake soon comes to a door opens it to see a battered and bruised Jessica near a stairway. Loutermilch says that this is not what it looks like. It is implied that Loutermilch had physically and sexually assaulted Jessica and in a tussle pushed her off the stairway. Throughout the game, Loutermilch's voice sometimes appears as a way to keep Blake silent of what he saw. Loutermilch had framed Jessica' death as a suicide as a way to escape culpability. It is also implied that the demon who chases Blake is a mutilated and ghastly version of Loutermilch.
Blake wakes up and sees that cultists have attacked the Heretics and he runs and finds Lynn. Lynn is pregnant and she is about to give birth and Blake, though not understanding how this is possible, says he will protect her and the child (Lynn mentions it's his, though Blake earlier in the game stated they haven't had sex in months). The sun also seems to become like a giant star reaching supernova. As morning is coming and the world seems to be dying Blake and Lynn keep on moving only to encounter Marta. In the final chase, Marta almost corners them, but then the storm suddenly brings a church cross down and impales her.
Blake and Lynn go into a church and Lynn gives birth to a girl and dies. Blake starts crying and cradles the newborn while passing out. It is hinted that the baby is not real; gameplay footage shows no shadow and when Blake tries to show Lynn her baby she says "There's nothing there." When he wakes up he sees Knoth who chastises him for not killing the antichrist off sooner. Knoth does not understand why God is silent with him now especially when he had perfect faith enough to kill his own children and his followers'. Knoth then says that though God does not listen to dead men, he hopes he answers them and slits his own throat. Blake gets out with the infant and sees that the town is burned, as well as seeing hundreds of the cultists lying down dead. The cultists have committed suicide by drinking hydrogen peroxide and cyanide. As he keeps on walking the sun grows immensely and engulfs him and the land around him.
Blake then wakes up as a kid in his school and hears Jessica calling out to him. He finds her and she says she will never let him go as she knows he won't ever let her go. She kneels down in prayer and so does Blake. She starts saying a prayer as the game ends.
There are a total of 5 difficulties, each containing a short description next to them to better reflect the challenge:
- Story Mode - "I'm just here for the ride"
- Normal - "No walk in the park"
- Hard - "I enjoy dying"
- Nightmare - "I deserve to be punished"
- Insane - "Life Simulator"
Story Mode is a cut down version of the standard difficulty with slower, less observant enemies that deal less damage to the player, offering more breathing room for immersion and exploration. Some chase sequences and encounters are either toned down or have been removed all together.
Hard and Nightmare difficulties are a step up from the standard mode. Batteries are scarce, enemies are more vigilant and relentless at their pursuit of the player, inspecting hiding spots and dealing more damage, some resulting in one hit kills.
In addition to Nightmare's added challenges, Insane mode requires the player to complete the game in a single run without dying. Restarting or dying will reset the player back to the start.
- Main article: Outlast: The Murkoff Account
A six issue comic book series, written by JT Petty and illustrated by The Black Frog, was released from July 11, 2016 to November 17, 2017 and serves as means to bridge the gap between the first two games' storylines.
A physical collection featuring all three games from the series dubbed Outlast Trinity was made available for purchase on April 25, 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players and as a digital bundle for Steam users. The cover features a prominent antagonist from each game: Richard Trager from Outlast, Eddie Gluskin from Whistleblower and Sullivan Knoth from Outlast 2.
On October 26, 2018, in partnership with Limited Run Games, Red Barrels released physical copies of all three games for the Nintendo Switch, Outlast and Whistleblower being coupled as Bundle of Terror. The two copies feature exclusive covert art commissioned by Limited Run.
Original Soundtrack (OST)
- Main article: Outlast 2 Original Soundtrack
The soundtrack was composed by Samuel Laflamme and consists of 14 tracks.
In a number of interviews, Red Barrels stated that the chances of a follow-up game relied on how well Outlast did on the market. Following its success and positive reviews, the developers started working on a sequel around July 2014, right after the Xbox One version was made available for digital distribution. On October 23, 2014, in an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Philippe Morin announced that Outlast 2 was in works, as well as noting that the team will not release the game unless they're afraid to play it for themselves. Its initial release was set for fall 2016, but was later postponed for April 25, 2017 to give the developers more time to work on the game.
In response to numerous questions regarding virtual reality, Morin confirmed that Outlast 2 will not support PlayStation VR due to a relatively small team of 20 people with limited time and their belief that a good VR game has to be built from the ground up. However, the game will be compatible with PS4 Pro with higher shadow and texture quality, filtering and more detailed meshes.
On October 28, 2015, Red Barrels posted a black and white picture on their Facebook of a bulletin board with pages and classified documents pinned on it. Across the image the word "tomorrow" was overlaid. The following day, Red Barrels released an official teaser trailer for the game on their YouTube channel.
The video opens up in an evening field with a burning cross placed in the center. An elderly man speaks ominously as follows:
- “And there followed an angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever. Then I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God, give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment... is come!'”
The man's voice slowly fades in the background as the camera zooms out to show that the cross has been driven upside down. As the unseen person concludes that the hour of God's judgement has arrived, the flames are snuffed out and the night vision filter is applied, leaving place to a number of glowing eyes, with Outlast II's logo overlaying across the screen.
On April 4, 2016, Red Barrels posted a second video with a cryptic audio titled "Jude 1:14-15". The video only shows moving clouds, and a St. Peter's cross, with a speech from the same elderly man as the first teaser.
At first, it seems like gibberish, but once played backwards, the elderly man can be heard speaking ominously as follows:
- “Children, you lovers of God and registrate defenders of His paradise—all our years of suffering come together now in this glorious day of peace... Peace! Even in the corrupt and filthy tongue of the Romans, in the Puritan city... On the fourth month and the twenty-second day of the sixteenth year of the third millennium, our reckoning begins. The spider-eyed lamb waits at the harlot's brace, hungry for this world! Ready your knives, for the good earth thirsts for blood, and we, like the angels, must show no mercy. God loves you.”
The date mentioned in the message, April 22, 2016, refers to PAX East 2016 where Red Barrels were scheduled to showcase the game's playable demo at booth #8248.
Featured Gameplay & Playable Demo
From April 22nd to April 24th, 2016, a playable demo was showcased at Pax East 2016, during which, a limited amount of content was released to the public. Following the event's conclusion, a handful of people were given a full playable demo.
On September 30th, 2016, Red Barrels posted a fake diary entry on their social accounts which stated the following:
- “Developer Diary, Entry #36
Development is going well.
Everyone is working hard.
Making games is so much fun
October will be here before we know it.
The first vertical row reads "DEMO"; a slight nod to the playable teaser, which was available from October 4th, 2016 to November 1st, 2016 across all three platforms.
- "No conflict is ever black and white. But once the dust has settled, the victors get to decide who was right and who was wrong. Who is good and who is evil. Human nature pushes us to extremes of violence and depravity, which we then justify by divine inspiration and a promise of paradise to come. Horror rises from desperation and blind faith. OUTLAST 2 will test your faith, pushing players to a place where going mad is the only sane thing to do."
- ―Outlast II Teaser Description
The demo opens up with a short introduction to Blake and Lynn Langermann, a pair of investigative reporters who seek to uncover the darkest of mysteries. The couple took a chopper to reach their destination, following a lead about a Jane Doe who was found eight months pregnant on the side of the road. However, due to unspecified circumstances, the aircraft ends up crashing in a narrow ravine with Blake rolling down a hill. Sustaining minor injuries, he gets back up and continues to move forward in search for Lynn, before stumbling onto an abandoned settlement with empty shacks and dead bodies. In the background, with the camera's night vision, a number of glaring eyes can be seen staring back at the protagonist before receding into the darkness. Along the way, a man walks off the pathway, whilst a woman's scream and indistinguishable chattering can be heard in the distance. At the end of the passage, the protagonist reaches an area labeled Satanas Inimical Dei (Latin for "Satan [is] the enemy of God").
In it, he finds a number of satanic ritual artifacts. The next room over contains a pit of children's corpses. A small moon light that passes through a cross-like opening in the ceiling shows the bodies being stacked in such a manor to represent the aforementioned symbol. Exiting, he locates a rocking horse next to a well, as a girl's voice is faintly heard. Langermann inspects the well, only to be pulled into it by a giant tongue-like organ. Blake then finds himself in a vent and as he tries to find a way out, the whole airduct collapses in an empty schoolroom. From that point, a ghostly figure can bee seen in Blake's peripheral field of view. The girl's whispering, accompanied by ominous laughter echos through the building, as Blake proceeds into the unlit hallway. There, he comes across a locker that belongs to a a student named Jessica. In it is a note and a music box. As he reaches the corridor's end, a horrifying, deformed figure appears and knocks Blake back at the entrance. Upon returning, Blake notices the previous locker, which now serves as a doorway to the proceeding area. At the end of the second hall, Jessica's body is seen hanging bellow a black haze. Once Blake approaches it, the monster from before snatches the corpse away through an opening in the ceiling.
The environment's layout changes again after Blake's pulled by a man through a dark entrance and shoved down a flight of stairs into a bloodstained room filled with corpses and blood-drawn crosses on the walls. As he quickly vacates the premises, the man finds himself outside a farmhouse surrounded by a cornfield. He tries to lose his pursuers by hiding a midst the field, as well as in an empty barrel and in a pool of water. Moments later, Blake is discovered and chased as he tries to flee over the wooden fence before being intercepted by a shadowy figure, who strikes the protagonist twice with a pickaxe. The first blow pierces through his genital area, as the second bludgeons him before the screen cuts to black.
On May 5th, 2017, Red Barrels released a patch for the game after reviewing general feedback from community members, let's players and reviewers. The patch included rebalancing enemies on Normal difficulty for a more suitable challenge, microphone no longer draining camcorder's batteries when active, increasing the size of subtitles and a number of bug fixes.
On March 27th, 2018, Red Barrels released a Story Mode option alongside other difficulties to allow players to experience the game with minimal challenges, fewer enemy encounters and more breathing room for better immersion. Each difficulty option now has a short description next to them to better reflect the challenge. Some chase sequences have been removed all together in favor of better pacing and exploration. Additionally, the developers took this opportunity to reintroduce a number of elements that were removed from the original version of the game in order to avoid getting an "Adult Only" rating by the ESRB rating board, consequently impacting the game's sales.
Initial Ban in Australia
On March 16, 2017, Kotaku reported that Outlast 2 had been refused classification in Australia, notably for the depiction of implied sexual violence. Prior to the game's completion, the demo received an R18+ rating in accordance with the country's Classification Board. On March 21, 2017, the Australian board went back on its decision and settled on an R18+ rating for the entire game, with the developers stating that "there will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide". The initial ban was due to Red Barrels mistakenly submitting a video file containing scenes from an alpha version of the game that have been removed since. In the second submission, the same game code was submitted with a video file reflecting the final game content. This originally caused some confusion, as the board presumed that Red Barrels had modified the game, which led people to believe that there would either be a censored or altered version, before the situation was clarified by a developer.
- There are two common misconceptions presented in the first teaser trailer:
- The inverted cross is commonly believed to be a satanic symbol, while it is actually the symbol of Saint Peter. According to legend, St. Peter requested that he be crucified in a different way than Jesus Christ, because he felt that he didn't deserve to die in the same manner as his lord, so the Romans raised his cross with him upside down. The true Satanic Cross was actually first introduced in the Satanic Bible, written by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1969, and is called the Brimstone Sigil, one of the many symbols of the Church of Satan.
- In the past, cross burning has been used as a sign of protest and to issue a declaration of war, but has since become widely associated with Ku Klux Klan who would burn crosses near the homes of those they wished to intimidate.
- In the first teaser trailer, the old man's sayings are mixed quotes from the Bible, most specifically Revelation 14 - The Lamb and the 144,000 and The Three Angels and Babylon's Fall.
- In the second teaser trailer, the old man's speech does not contain any direct quotes, but references to the Book of Revelation and Deuteronomy.