The Outlast Trials Will Be An Anxiety-Ridden, Panic-Inducing Cooperative Experience

The Outlast Trials Will Be An Anxiety-Ridden, Panic-Inducing Cooperative Experience
Credit: IGN via YouTube

Back in early November, developer Red Barrels teased a possible new entry in their terrifying Outlast series. The teaser consisted of nothing more than an image of the interlocked hands of two people set to the dingy gray/green/black color palette that’s synonymous with Outlast imagery.

The hands aren’t interlocked in a fun, romantic Sunday stroll sort of way. Someone is clearing holding on for dear life, which seems appropriate for the series. There was also the tagline “where freedom ends,” which one would guess is a reference to the plot-centric (and real-life inspired) MK Ultra project.

Thanks to a post on the official Red Barrels Facebook page, we now know that the game in question is The Outlast Trials, a 4-player cooperative experience set in the Outlast universe. This isn’t Outlast 3, necessarily. It’s officially a prequel, set “in the era of the Cold War.”

The tagline, coupled with the post referring to the players as “test subjects,” seems to imply that the game will explore the early tests of Project MK Ultra.

Project MK Ultra was, in real life, a CIA mind control program that took place from the early 1950s until the early 1970s, wherein the agency experimented on test subjects with psychoactive drugs, electroshocks, hypnosis, and more. The project was controversial for a multitude of reasons, one of which was the use of unwitting test subjects. Without spoiling any more than I already have, Project MK Ultra and its crimes against humanity play a role in the first Outlast game.

All three subjects on the teaser poster (not counting the off-screen subject represented by a reaching hand) are wearing goggles of some sort, which may allude to the game having some sort of VR functionality. Apparently the team at Red Barrels thought the same, so they were quick to comment on their own post with a simple “the game is not VR.”

The cooperative aspect of The Outlast Trials is optional. The game can be played solo as well, or with any number of players up to four. Considering that the Outlast series features hands-down some of the scariest horror games ever made, playing with a friend, better yet a group of friends sounds like it might be the way to go. Then again, anxiety can be infectious, and that might be exactly what Red Barrel is counting on.

The Outlast Trials is still in production, and according to the post they’ve just done the proof of concept, so that would suggest it’s pretty early in production.