The next Outlast will traumatise up to four players at once

Gamescom continues apace, and as it does we've had a new look at the next Outlast game from Red Barrels: The Outlast Trials.

The game is set during the Cold War, and involves a private company—the Murkoff Corporation, which sounds like it was named by Charles Dickens—running all sorts of brutal, MKUltra-esque experiments on a gaggle of abductees and prisoners to achieve new breakthroughs in mind control. In an event no one could possibly have predicted, it looks like those experiments went a bit awry, and it's now up to you to navigate your way out of the prisons and testing facilities.

It's grim and gory, trading in all the straitjackets, clamps, razors and scalpels that you've come to expect from these games. There's even someone who looks a bit like a clown wielding a dental drill, if you're keeping your phobia bingo cards updated. It honestly feels a little bit Bioshock: the rosy-hued 20th century rhetoric of scientific progress and the common good covering for a material reality shot through with suffering and repression. It's got a shot of pulling it off, too, at least insofar as its portrayed in the trailer.

The experience looks, well, terrifying. As terrifying as the last two Outlast games, neither of which I've been able to bring myself to play because I'm such an enormous baby. I might not have to venture alone this time, though: Red Barrels are promising a campaign that can be played solo or in a group of up to four players. "It’s always better to shit your pants in good company," the devs rather bluntly state on the game's Steam page.

The game doesn't have a release date yet, but Red Barrels will be running a closed beta from October 28 to November 1, if you're that desperate to mentally scar yourself. You can sign up for that over at its Steam page. As for me, I feel reasonably confident predicting that one day I will play the first hour before "taking a break" that never ends. At least I can watch someone stream it.

Catch up with our full list of Gamescom announcements from Opening Night Live and check our Gamescom schedule to find out when to watch everything else.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.