- "Set in the era of the Cold War, human guinea pigs are involuntarily recruited by the good folks at the Murkoff Corporation to test advanced methods of brainwashing and mind control. In a world of distrust, fear, and violence, your morals will be challenged, your endurance tested, and your sanity crushed. All in the name of progress, science, and profit.
Red Barrels invites you to experience mind-numbing terror, this time with friends. Work together and maybe you'll survive The Outlast Trials. It's always better to shit your pants in good company."
- ―The Outlast Trials description
The Outlast Trials is an upcoming cooperative first-person survival horror video game developed by Red Barrels. Set for a 2021 release date, the game makes its debut with a co-op mode, allowing up to 4 players to participate, although a single-player route will also be available. Despite its somewhat misleading promotional material, the game will not have any VR features.
The game is set in the same universe as other Outlast related titles and takes place during the Cold War era where the player and other test subjects will come face to face with "the horrors that await."
On December 7, 2017, Red Barrels posted an update on their future plans, which included Outlast 3 and an untitled Outlast-related project that was in the works. According to Red Barrels, as it was not possible to include downloadable content within Outlast 2, the studio decided instead to work on a separate project that will include much-requested features, likely alluding to Trials' co-op mode. While not being a direct sequel to Outlast 2, the game's story is set in the same universe.
On October 31, 2019, Red Barrels posted a teaser image for their upcoming project with a caption that reads "Where freedom ends."
On December 4, 2019, Red Barrels officially announced their upcoming title The Outlast Trials, with its story taking place during the Cold War era. The initial reveal post also featured an image with characters wearing head-mounted displays, leading people to believe that it might be a virtual reality game. The developers later clarified that the game will not have any VR features.
In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine UK, Philippe Morin mentioned that the Cold War era was chosen as a setting in order to flesh out the mythology behind the games by revisiting Project MKUltra at its height. Morin also described the multiplayer as "...flexible, so that people can play it in any way they want" and noted that the co-op mode will have segments where players will find themselves separated from one another: "Stuff will happen, shit will hit the fan and soon you may find yourself separated from the group."
On June 13, 2020, as part of PC Gaming Show, Red Barrels released their first cinematic teaser. The trailer opens with several surgeons forcefully mounting a night vision device onto an immobilized subject's head. Once completed, the head surgeon asks for his staff to bring in the remaining test subjects, before the scene cuts to a hallway chase sequence where two escapees aid one another in breaking out, but are quickly cut down by their pursuers; one is stabbed through the back of her neck while the other has his head crushed by a shadowy figure wielding a sledgehammer, as the title card overlaps across the screen to reveal the tagline "Freedom Ends in 2021," alluding to the game's release year. The song featured at the start of the trailer is called "Is It Just A Game" by Buddy & the Fads.